hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:37:04 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Top Left of Navigation Bar The Grassland Region Title
Species at Risk in AlbertaView our site layout to navigate to specific areasSearch our site for informationObtain help for navigating our sitePlease emails us your questions and comments!View our partners that helped us in this project

Back to Natural Regions map
The Boreal Forest Region
The Canadian Shield Region
The Foothills Region
The Grassland Region
The Parkland Region
The Rocky Mountain Region

Visit Alberta Source!
Visit the Heritage Community Foundation
Visit Canada's Digital Collections

The Northern Fescue Soils

The predominant soils in the Northern Fescue Subregion are Dark Brown and Black Chernozems, with Brown Solonetz soils extending through the centre of the subregion in a broad band north of Hanna.

Chernozems are a typical prairie soil. They were formed only 100,000 years ago under aerobic conditions where water flowed freely through the upper layers. They were created by the sudden and rapid addition of organic matter coupled with high levels of humidity.

If you were to look at a cross-section of a Chernozem, you might see things like earthworm tracks and animal burrows filled in with different types of soils. Animals like these aerated the soils and were crucial in the formation of Chernozems.

Although there are many different kinds of Chernozems, there is very little difference between them. It is interesting to note that Black Chernozems are formed as a result of high levels of precipitation in any particular area.

Chernozems are generally dry, and as such, can only support vegetation like tall grasses. Sometimes, though, patches of deciduous woodlands can grow as well.

Solonetz Soil Solonetz is a typical prairie soil, like the Chernozems, and they're usually found together. Solonetz soils are most common in areas where the amount of rain is less than the amount of transevaporation from the soil. As a result, there is usually not enough moisture in the soil to support a complete plant cover. The pH of the soil is also too high to grow much vegetation. 

Solonetz soils are believed to have formed during the Holocene period, and are made up of unconsolidated materials, including glacial deposits. They are confined to flat or gently rolling areas, but are absent from depressions where the water table comes near the surface.

Information provided by and printed with the permission of Alberta Community Development, Parks and Protected Areas.

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the natural history of Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved