The Australian Soil Classification system is a heirarchical system developed by CSIRO and comprised of five categories. Ranging from the highest (most general) to the lowest (most specific), these five categories are order, suborder, great group, subgroup, and family.
This system is unique to Australia as soil types differ widely across the world, and not all soil types are in all countries or even continents. Other countries use other classification systems better suited to their particular soil types.
There are 14 Australian soil orders: Anthroposols, Organosols, Podosols, Vertosols, Hydrosols, Kurosols, Sodosols, Chromosols, Calcarosols, Ferrosols, Dermosols, Kandosols, Rudosols and Tenosols.
A 2.4MB PDF of these soil orders, showing their distribution in Australia and with representative photographs of suborders, can be viewed or downloaded here.
The Vertosol, Kurosol, Sodosol, Chromosol, Ferrosol, Dermosol and Kandosol orders are broken down into suborders based on the colour of the upper layer of their B horizon: Red, Brown, Yellow, Grey and Black.
The Anthroposol, Organosol, Podosol, Hydrosol, Calcarosol, Rudosol and Tenosol orders are broken down into suborders based on more unique characteristics within that order. For example, Calcarosol suborders are based on the origin and distribution of calcium compounds within the soil profile.
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