Soil sensors are a popular way of measuring soil moisture, salinity, temperature level, conductivity, and other characteristics that are important to researchers, farmers, and others who rely on soil data for their work.
When working with or studying the soil, it’s important to know what type of soil is being examined. Each type of soil has different characteristics, and will have different effects on water infiltration rates, water holding capacity, evapotranspiration rate, and other soil characteristics.
Each area of soil on a landscape has unique characteristics. A vertical section at one location is called a soil profile. These layers are known as horizons. Soil horizons can be as thin as a few millimeters or thicker than a meter. Individual horizons are identified by the properties they contain that are different from the horizons above and below them. Some soil horizons are formed as a result of the weathering of minerals and decomposition of organic materials that move down the soil profile over time. This movement, called illuviation, influences the horizon’s composition and properties. Other horizons may be formed by the disturbance of the soil profile from erosion, deposition, or biological activity. Soils may also have been altered by human activity. For example, builders compact soil, change its composition, move soil from one location to another, or replace horizons in a different order from their original formation.