Course code JORD101

JORD101 Soil Science

There may be changes to the course due to to corona restrictions. See Canvas and StudentWeb for info.

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Line Tau Strand
Teachers: Mathieu Andre Maurice Lamande, Susanne Eich-Greatorex
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: 2003H
Preferential right:
Course contents:
Soil is an important part of the ecosystem and this course provides an introduction to soil science that should appeal to everyone who is interested in terrestrial ecosystems and the ecosystem services where soil has a key role. Knowledge of and correct use of soil science terminology is important, and we emphasis on you mastering this enabling you to us it in other topics later in your studies. We go through soils primary constituents, structure and horizon development, how they are measured and described. Here we connect soil physics, chemistry and biology to applied agronomy, forestry and water and nature management. We focus on the organic material in soil and how soil can be considered a living organism. How we manage organic material and living organisms in soil is of great importance for emission of greenhouse gases, source or sink. The importance of water movement in and through soil cannot be exaggerated, it is important both for plant growth and for the quality of both ground- and surface water. We emphasize the importance of geology for soil properties and soil development, these subjects are linked together from small-scale clay mineralogy and weathering processes to large-scale erosion and landscape processes. Soil formation is a slow process, and cannot be considered a renewable resource we must therefore protect this resource through careful and knowledge based management. Soil is becoming increasingly important in the 'Green Shift', more waste must be recycled, oil-based non-renewable fertilizers must be phased out, biodiversity must be safeguarded, we must ensure that such a shift takes place in a sustainable way.
Learning outcome:

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand and use the basic soil science terminology and definitions related to soil-forming factors and processes.
  • interpret horizon designations used in soil profile descriptions
  • recognize and describe different soil types at the order level based an international soil classification system
  • to describe the main groups of living organisms in soil and their significance for the turnover of organic material in soil.
  • describe the factors that are important for the soil's water balance, flow of water, air and heat in the soil.
  • perform simple calculations describing important soil physical and soil chemical properties
  • describe the structure of and the most important properties of the main groups of clay minerals in soil
  • describe the most important processes associated with pH and ion exchange in soil
  • describe the soils role in the nutrient cycles for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and the factors that are most important for plant availability of these nutrients.
  • perform field tests for determining soil texture and visual assessment of soil structure.
Learning activities:
Lecture will be used to go through the most important processes / factors for each topic. After each topic, a thematic quiz will be opened in the Canvas classroom, this quiz can be taken any time. Reading is important for learning and everyone is encouraged to read the textbook, syllabus and page numbers listed in the weekly schedule. In addition to the textbook, we have made 3 notes (in Norwegian) on Norwegian soils, soil types and on organic material in the soil - these in no way replace the textbook but are intended as a supplement. The exercises are partly field exercises where the students get a practical introduction to texture and soil structure determination and basic profile descriptions of selected soil types. Exercises/basic calculations related to physical and chemical soil properties are also provided. We encourage the student to form colloquium groups on their own initiative.

Annual revision:

Weil, R.R. and N.C: Brady, 2017, 15th edition. The Nature and Properties of Soils. PEARSON, Prentice Hall. (ISBN 10-1-292-16223-6)

KJM100 - Basic chemsitry
Recommended prerequisites:
Basic geology (GEO100) 

Total assessment:

  • Portfolio assessment: Mid-term test (two attempts, the best counts) 1/3
  • Written examination 3 hours (2/3)

Both parts must be passed to pass the course.

Grading system A-E/ Not passed.

Nominal workload:
125 hours in total. Lectures: 40 hours. Exercises: 4 hours. Individual contribution: 81 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science
Reduction of credits:
JORD101 reduced with 3 credits against JORD160.
Type of course:
Lectures/exercises: 48 hours. Outdoor exercises: 4 hours per student group (2 hours per week for 2 weeks).
The examiner will be involved in the planning,and revision (evaluation) of the course and approval of the exsam questions.
Allowed examination aids: B1 Calculator handed out, no other aids
Examination details: Combined assessment: Passed / Failed