Baltimore’s soil types reflect its urban character.
Baltimore’s population of 637,41 made it Maryland’s largest city, as of July 2009. As a large urban area, Baltimore’s soil composition is dramatically influenced by human-made materials and processes. However, there are still a large number of discernible soil types within the city. Many of the predominant soil types are technically labeled as kinds of urban land. Does this Spark an idea?
Urban Land-Sassafras Complex
One of Baltimore’s predominant soils is technically a combination of different soil types. The Urban Land-Sassafras complex is primarily composed of urban land, a general denomination for soils dramatically affected by human development. Of the complex’s discernible soil types, Sassafras constitutes the greatest quantity, roughly 5 percent of the total complex. This combination of soils can generally be found at low elevations, of 10 to 650 feet above sea level.
The urban land component is most frequently form in moderate to cool climates, with average annual temperatures ranging from 45 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a very low water capacity and a highly variable composition, ranging from sandy to loamy, silty to clayey.
The Sassafras soil type is well-drained and also has a low water capacity. It consists of gravelly loam, a mixture of soil textures and particle sizes with a high level of organic matter.
Urban land-Beltsville Complex
Another of Baltimore’s primary soil types is a complex of urban land with Beltsville soil. In this combination, urban land constitutes 80 percent of the overall soil makeup, with Beltsville soil the next highest component.
The urban land has the same properties as when found in the Sassafras complex. Beltsville is moderately well-drained soil with no tendency to flooding or ponding. It has a very low water capacity. Beltsville soil does not extend very deep; nor is it very striated. For the full 12 inches of depth that it extends, Beltsville has a loamy texture, rich in organic material.
One of Baltimore’s main soil types is the Udorthent soil type. It is generally found at relatively low elevations, from 10 to 500 feet above sea level. The typical climate for udorthent is moderate or mild, with an average annual temperature ranging from 46 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit, and is moderately rainy, with an average rainfall of 42 to 48 inches. Udorthent soils are well-drained, have a high ability to transmit water, no tendency to flood or pond, and a low degree of available water. They consist of gravelly sand loam, a combination of sand’s large, well-drained particles and loam’s more water-retentive and heterogeneous texture, mixed with organic matter.