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A general term for a mass movement landform and a process characterized by moderately rapid to rapid (greater than 30 cm per year) downslope transport by means of gravitational stresses, of a mass of rock and regolith that may or may not be water saturated.


Removal of soluble materials from one zone in soil to another via water movement in the profile.


Material transported and deposited by wind and consisting of predominantly silt-sized particles, forming important fertile soils.

Map scale

Relationship between a certain distance on the map and the corresponding distance on the ground (e.g. 1:10,000, which means 1 cm on the map equals to 10,000 cm or 100 m on the ground); the scale is usually located in the legend box of a map.


A transition zone between water and land usually covered by grass.

Mass movement

Dislodgement and downslope transport of soil and rock material as a unit under direct gravitational stress; includes slow displacements, such as creep and solifluction, and rapid movements such as landslides, rock slides, earthflows, debris flows and avalanches; water, ice and to a lesser extent air usually play an important role in the process.

Moderately fine textured

Texture group consisting of clay loam, sandy clay loam and silty clay loam textures; see also soil texture.


Representative vertical section taken from vertical face of a soil profile pit or section, which represents arrangement of soil horizons; there are various methods of how to take and conserve soil monoliths.

Munsell Color System

Colour designation system that specifies the relative degrees of the three simple variables of colour: hue (wavelength), value (degree of lightness or darkness), and chroma (purity or strength). For example: 10YR 6/4 is a colour (of soil) with a hue = 10YR, value = 6, and chroma = 4.

Organic soil

A soil in which the sum of the thicknesses of layers comprising organic soil materials is generally greater than the sum of the thicknesses of mineral layers.

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