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A Technosol in the World Reference Base for Soil Resources[1] is a Reference Soil Group that combines soils whose properties and pedogenesis are dominated by their technical origin.[2] They contain either a significant amount of artefacts (something in the soil recognizably made or extracted from the earth by humans), some sort of geotechnical liner, or are sealed by technic hard material (hard material created by humans, having properties unlike natural rock). They include soils from wastes (landfills, sludge, cinders, mine spoils and ashes), pavements with their underlying unconsolidated materials, soils with geomembranes and constructed soils in human-made materials. Transported natural soil material does not qualify as Technosol and is described with the Transportic qualifier in WRB.[1] Technosols are often referred to as urban or mine soils. They are recognized in the new Russian soil classification system as Technogenic Superficial Formations.

Technosols are developed on all kinds of materials made or exposed by human activity that otherwise would not occur at the Earth’s surface. They occur mostly in urban and industrial areas, usually in small areas, and can be associated with other soil groups in a complex pattern. They are closely related to Anthrosols, which are soils created by long-term measures to enhance fertility for agricultural use, like the intensive addition of organic matter to a soil, such as an old urban garden.

Most of the research on anthropogenic soils describe specific aspects of their biology, chemistry or physical properties, cultural heritage and human geography, erosion, wastes, pollution, fertilizer management, taxonomy. Very few of them,[3][4][5] try to answer to the question: How fast do they start pedogenesis (viz., differentiating horizons)? A Technosol could differentiate A and O horizons at rates of more than one centimeter per year.[6] Technosols are found throughout the world, e.g. at or near cities, roads, mines, refuse dumps, oil spills and coal fly ash deposits.

These soils are more likely to be contaminated than other soils. Many Technosols have to be treated with care as they may contain toxic substances resulting from industrial processes.

See also[edit]


  • IUSS Working Group WRB: World Reference Base for Soil Resources, fourth edition. International Union of Soil Sciences, Vienna 2022. ISBN 979-8-9862451-1-9 ([1]).
  1. ^ a b IUSS Working Group WRB (2022). "World Reference Base for Soil Resources, 4th edition" (PDF). IUSS, Vienna.
  2. ^ Rossiter, D G (2007). "Classification of Urban and Industrial Soils in the World Reference Base for Soil Resources". Journal of Soils and Sediments. 7 (2): 96–100. doi:10.1065/jss2007.02.208. S2CID 10338446.
  3. ^ Bini, C. & Gaballo, S. (2006). "Pedogenic trends in anthrosols developed in sulfidic mine spoils: A case study in the Temperino mine archaeological area (Campiglia Marittima, Tuscany, Italy)". Quaternary International. 156–157 (1): 70–78. Bibcode:2006QuInt.156...70B. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2006.05.033.
  4. ^ Bokhorst, M.P., Duller, G.A.T., Van Mourik, J.M. (2005). "Optical dating of a Fimic Anthrosol in the southern Netherlands". Journal of Archaeological Science. 32 (4): 547–553. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2003.11.011.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Wei, C., Ni, J., Gao, M., Xie, D., and Hasegawa S. (2006). "Anthropic pedogenesis of purple rock fragments in Sichuan Basin, China". Catena. 68 (1): 51–58. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2006.04.022.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Scalenghe, R., Ferraris, S. (2009). "The first forty years of a Technosol". Pedosphere. 19: 40–52. doi:10.1016/S1002-0160(08)60082-X.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • W. Zech, P. Schad, G. Hintermaier-Erhard: Soils of the World. Springer, Berlin 2022, Chapter 12.3.3. ISBN 978-3-540-30460-9
  • P. Schad: Technosols in the World Reference Base for Soil Resources – history and definitions. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 64(2), 138–144, Tokyo 2018.

External links[edit]