Monday, December 5, 2011

Local Soil: Celebrating World Soil Day

We are very lucky in Canberra. I am sure there are very few Capital Cities in the world where you can walk out your back door and straight into a natural environment!

I thought a nice way to celebrate World Soil Day would be to share some photos and a bit of info on the soil and landscape of one of my favourite local walks.



Mt Ainslie is 842m above sea level, and is a popular walk for people who live in the Inner North of Canberra. I live just down the road from Mt Ainslie and try to walk up it (or its sister, Black Mountain) a few times a week.

As a function of routine, I often forget to stop and have a look at the soil on my walk. Today, this has been remedied! I have taken a few photos, stopped and pondered and looked up maps. This is (very roughly) what I found:

Some erosion at the bottom of the walk

Mt Ainslie is fairly steep and rocky, with underlying geology mainly "the Ainslie Volcanics are composed of Dacitic ignimbrite and minor volcaniclastic and argillaceous sediments" (thanks Wikipedia). Most of the soils on Mt Ainslie are shallow, rocky, have weak organisation of peds and few (if any) layers. They are likely to fall into the Great Soil Groups of Lithosols or under the Australian Classification as being Rudosols and Tenosols.


A plant struggles to survive in this rocky environment.


The start of the path up Mt Ainslie may have some Podzols (GSG), aka Chromosols (Australian Classification).


At the bottom of the Mountain, the vegetation is a Eucalypt woodland in a shallow rocky soil.


There is plenty of life in the soil. This ants nest was about 1m wide by 1.5m long!


The vegetation changes as we climb up! Now dominated by Casurina species. 


A healthier looking Tenosol, with some great organic material (Casurina needles) and an A and B horizon.


 A red Tenosol looking a bit washed out after our recent thunderstorms.


The view! I can see Parliament house (on the other side of the lake), the War Memorial and my house!


The view towards Black Mountain.


Soil, soil everywhere!!! Happy World Soil Day, everyone! 


More Info on Mt Ainslie and Canberra Soils:
Or Get Involved with Mt Ainslie Weeders

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