Back to Basics: Soils for Geologists and Environmental Professionals (405 mins.)

  • May 17, 2019
  • 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • West Chester University, Merion Science Center Room 220, West Chester, PA
  • 0


  • Includes AM refreshments and lunch. Member registration deadline is May 14 or when sold out.
  • To save $60 over the cost of enrollment, return to the Home page and Join PCPG.

Registration is closed

This seminar provides both classroom and field training.

Attendees should bring a clipboard to write on and field clothing appropriate for the weather (boots, rain gear, etc.).


Martin Helmke, PhD, PG
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Russell Losco, PG, CPSS
Lanchester Soil Consultants, Inc.

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Professional Development
Pennsylvania:  50 mins. = 1 PDH
Delaware and South Carolina:  60 mins. = 1 CEU

Who should attend:  This course is intended for early career professionals who want to develop soil classification skills and for experienced professionals who wish to review the USDA and USCS classification systems.  We welcome students, practicing geologists, regulators, engineers, public officials, and environmental professionals to attend.  If the term coarse-loamy, mixed, mesic aquic Hapludalf is unfamiliar, then this course is for you.

Overview: Effective soil characterization is vital for geologic and environmental investigations due to soil's influence on groundwater flow, contaminant fate and transport, slope stability, site development, and ecological health.  Beyond environmental and geotechnical investigations, soil classification is applied to stormwater management, waste disposal, brownfields development, urban revitalization, agriculture, nutrient management, and mineral exploration.
      This one-day course will provide an overview of the current state of soil science. Industry-standard USDA and USCS soil classification systems will be reviewed through hands-on exercises in both the laboratory and field.  Relatively few geologists are familiar with the USDA system, which is now required by regulatory agencies for stormwater, wastewater, and wetland investigations.  The class will include one-half day instruction in the classroom and laboratory followed by one-half day in the field examining and classifying soils in soil pits.  We will explore the history of soil science, soil profiles, soil taxonomy, soil genesis and management, paleosols, anthropogenic/urban soils, the geomorphology of soil systems, published sources of data.  Methods of soil investigation will be reviewed, including soil sampling procedures, permeability testing and interpretation, and drainage classification. Special cases such as hydric soils with redoximorphic features, permafrost, acid sulfate soils, sodic soils, hydrophobic soils, and volcanic soils will also be discussed.

Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists
116 Forest Drive, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011

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