Saturday, September 22, 2012

Super Soils Trivia Night!

by Stephanie Schumacher


On Tuesday evening we looked forward to a speech describing the local geology of northwest Missouri. However, due to a change in the schedule, the speaker was no longer able to attend. Therefore, contestants from all colleges participated in a spontaneous soil science trivia night. Additional pop culture questions were added in an attempt to level the playing field between the coaches and students.
Seven of the 8 schools competed, with their coaches forming an 8th team. The Minnesota team won the first trivia round, but lost the second due to some tricky pop culture questions. Unfortunately, when it comes to popular media, we seem to have buried our heads in the sand (and silt, and clay).
With the help of Professor Cooper, the coaches soared to the top of the rankings and qualified for the final match against Iowa State University.  Tension was high in the final round with both teams wanting to take home the trivia trophy, which consisted of a large soil pedon super glued to a metal stand.
Amidst the storm of trivia questions, one of the soil science ones was a little questionable by Cooper’s standards. “That can’t be right-- we wrote the book!” he exclaimed when the coaches were unable to come up with the ‘correct’ answer. In spite of this, they did not allow their patience to erode away, and in the end their textbook-writing knowledge led them to victory. Unfortunately the trivia trophy was unable to be split seven ways, so another team ended up taking it home.
Do you want to test your knowledge of soil science? See how many of the selected trivia questions you can answer—they’re pretty tough!



Questions
1. A plagen epipedon signifies long-term additions of what?
2.  What percentage of clay separates a clay loam from a clay?
3. What geologic epoch are we currently living in?
4.  What soil structure is described as “elliptical interlocking pedons with acute angles”
5. What soil moisture regime best decries a Mediterranean climate?
6. What is the local term for calcium carbonate concentrations within the soil? (Hint: A German term, also means “little child”)
7. Podzolization is a process which occurs mainly in which soil order?



Answers
1. Manure;   2. 40%;   3. Holocene;    4. Wedge;    5.  Xeric;    6. Kinchins;    7. Spodosol


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