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Shirazi, M.A., L. Boersma, and C.B. Johnson. 2001. Particle size distributions: comparing texture systems, adding rock, and predicting soil properties. Soil Sci Soc of Am. J. 65:300-310.

Conventional soil texture classification Systems use different definitions of particle-size distributions (PSDs). For example, sand in the International Soil Science Society (ISSS) system equals the combined separate limits of coarse silt and sand in the USDA system. Because relationships between texture and other soil properties are affected by these differences, the ability to merge survey data in environmental studies is limited. Previous research calculated two PSD statistics, namely the geometric mean particle diameter (dg) and its standard deviation (Fg), which do not depend on separate limits. We expanded the development of the PSD statistics dg and (Fg), to compare the USDA and 1555 systems, develop relationships with soil properties, include rock fragments, and simplify the USDA texture classification to facilitate the use of soil survey data in environmental research. We found that (i) for equal clay and sand fractions, the texture of a soil sample as described by the USDA system has larger dg and (Fg), values than in ISSS; (ii) for equal clay and sand fractions, soil samples have larger values of cation-exchange capacity (CEC) in the 1555 than in the USDA system; (iii) small differences between some of the traditional 12 USDA classes are reflected in the dg and (Fg) values for samples containing rocks, thereby presenting a rationale for simplification; and (iv) with this rationale, the 12 USDA classes were aggregated into five classes.

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