Class Soil Science

  • Presentation


    Understand the processes of rocks weathering that lead to the formation of soil, regarding the weathering processes and erosion (transport), allowing Soil formation (in situ) and Sediment (transported soil).

    Understand the importance of studying soil and soil for agriculture use as a fundamental entity to protect and recover, understanding its safeguard in land management as a National Agricultural Reserve.

    Understand how to study the SOILS, with special emphasis on the practical laboratory component.


    It is a basic discipline that allows to understand the importance of SOIL and the need for a sustainable relationship with the planet, where knowledge is fundamental to preserve the base unit for food production. Fundamental Curricular Unit (UC) replacing the UC of General and Applied Geology and previous to the UC of Soil Pollution.

    Fundamental after General and Applied Geology and before to the Soil Pollution.

  • Code


  • Syllabus



    1. The importance of soil study

    2. Origin of soils (physical and chemical weathering)

    3. Soil formation factors (Rock, Organisms, Weather, Climate, Topography)

    4. Residual versus transported soils ¿ soil versus sediment

    5. Concept of Soil

    6. Soil types (Classifications, Soil Charts, RAN)

    7. Soil components (solid, liquid and gaseous phase)

    8. Soil properties (Physical and Chemical)


    Introduction to the use of excel software.

    Soil sampling methods and equipment (superficial and depth).

    Preparation and execution of a field campaign for soil sampling.

    Laboratory analysis (texture/composition of collected samples): moisture content, CaCO3, organic matter, pH, coarse fraction, coarse fraction (sieving) and fine particle size (pipetting - Stokes' Law), mineralogical description of solid phase (Stereo Zoom Binocular Microscope).

    Interpretation of field and analytical results.

    Results presentation of results (eg. article, oral presentation, poster).

  • Objectives


    Understand the importance of soil as a fundamental element for the survival of our species.

    Learn the processes that proceed to rocks weathering that allow the development of soils.

    Understand the role of soil forcing factors.

    Know the difference between no transported (in situ - Soil) and transported (Sediment) soils.

    Understand the concept of soil and soil profile.

    To know the different soil classifications (national and international - SROA, FAO, WBR).

    Enhance the definition of the National Agricultural Reserve as a legal element in the protection of soils that have agricultural potential for food productionl.

    To know the different soil components.

    To know the different soil properties.

    Learn how to prepare and conduct a field campaign for soil sampling.

    Learn about sampling methods in the field (soils and sediments).

    To know analytical methods used to determine some textural and compositional characteristics of soils.

  • Teaching methodologies and assessment

    Teaching methodologies and assessment

    The methodology used is the active method, placing the student as the centre of the learning process. Classes use a combined expository/interrogative method using active learning methodologies: brainstorming, role play, etc. Case study analysis is included in the topics covered, encouraging peer discussion and problem solving. This process will allow students to develop critical thinking, increasing their problem-solving capacity. "Flipped classroom", "Peer teaching" and "Peer feedback" methodologies may be used.

    The field trip for observation and sampling (technical trip) will allow non-formal learning.

  • References


    • Brady, N.C., Weil, R (2013) – Natureza e Propriedade dos solos. 3ª edição, Bookman, 647p.
    • Weil, R.R. & Brady, N.C. (2008) - The Nature and Properties of Soils. 14th ed. Prentice-Hall Inc., New Jersey.
    • Cerqueira, J. (2001) - Solos e clima em Portugal. Clássica Editora, 2ª edição, 164 p.
    • Costa, J.V. B. (2004) ¿ Caracterização e Constituição do Solo. Fund. Cal. Gulbenkian. 7ª ed., 527p.
    • Varennes, A. (2003) - Produtividade dos solos e ambiente. Escolar Editora. 490 p.
    • National Soil Survey Center - Natural Resources Conservation Service - U.S. Department of AgricultureField (2002) - Book for Describing and Sampling Soils. (disponível em
    • Websites:
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