The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 39 Number 1: 27-31 - January 1977

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Characterization of Karst Soils by Near Infrared Spectroscopy
William B. White


Soil reflectance spectra in the near infrared and visible regions exhibit features that can be used to characterize the soils. The degree of iron hydration in related to a band at 900 nm. Clay content is related to several water bands in the near infrared. The visible spectrum can provide a quantitative expression of soil color through a set of absorbance ratios. Measurements have been made of 24 surface and 24 cave soils from the Central Kentucky Karst. Surface soils are grouped, by the measurement, into red limestone residual soils, brown residual soils, and yellow-brown fluvial soils. Cave soils fall into two very distinct groups: those from passages above 500 feet elevation and those from base level passages below this elevation. Two distinct sediment sources for the Flint Mammoth Cave System are indicated.

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