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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Yates, Scott
item Warrick, A

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2002
Publication Date: 10/10/2002
Citation: Yates, S.R., Warrick, A.W. 2002. 1.5 Geostatistics. Book Chapter. In: Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 4, Physical Methods. J.H. Dane and G.C. Topp (eds), SSSA, Madison, WI. pp.81-118.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Scientists studying processes at the soil surface have been long aware that the spatial and temporal variation of surface features profoundly affect their study and suitability for various uses. The variability in surface features is clearly illustrated in soil and geologic maps. Although the range of variation in maps implies knowledge about the spatial distribution of an attribute, the true understanding of the spatial variability in a mapped region is often very limited. For example, the boundary between soil mapping units is not generally as distinct as implied by the continuity of the line denoting the boundary and the sudden change in the feature across the boundary. Nor is the placement of the boundary as exact as implied on most maps, nor is a region within a mapping unit as uniform as implied by most maps. Soil variation, and its inherent unpredictability, can be problematic for those who must determine the suitability of a landscape for a particular purpose. When it is necessary to determine the behavior of an attribute across the land surface, its variability can make landscape management more complex and expensive. This has led scientists to study surface variations in a systematic manner. The original goal of the early efforts was to improve estimating the location of recoverable resources and the understanding of soil forming processes. Since computers have become readily available to soil scientists, there has been an effort to quantitatively study the spatial and temporal variation of many soil processes. The purpose of this manuscript is to review current techniques available for studying spatial variability and illustrate their use.

Last Modified: 05/24/2017
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