Publication Date


Document Type


DPIRD Collections

Natural resources


Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development




Soils are enormously diverse and can be very confusing to understand and talk about. This simple guide for describing soils helps to identify the most important parts of a soil profile and provide an easy way to understand and explain what you see. It gives you a step-by-step guide of what soil properties to describe and how to describe them, along with the tools to make basic soil classifications. The soil descriptors help you to identify the soil type and aid in assigning a simple and standardised name to the soil. While this guide is designed to link with a simple classification system already in use for Western Australia — the Soil Groups of Western Australia — the soil description standards used here are applicable everywhere.

This guide is suitable for anyone who is interested in understanding the basics of soil morphology, characteristics and description. Experts in other scientific fields, industry consultants, students and interested lay readers will also benefit from using this guide as a stepping stone to a more advanced understanding of soil.

Number of Pages



soils, soil properties, soil types, soil classification

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Included in

Soil Science Commons