A soil monolith is a vertical section of the soil profile that is extracted from the field and mounted for display and teaching purposes. Scientists remove the soil slice carefully, preserve the layers in a wooden frame, and stabilize it with a hardening compound like glue. The natural appearance of the soil, including its horizonation, colour, and structure is preserved using this technique.
The soil monoliths featured at this website are displayed in the MacMillan Building at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. The profiles sampled are representative of soil types found in British Columbia and in parts of Alberta and Yukon. The University of British Columbia has the 2nd largest collection of soil monoliths in Canada. Over the decades, the collection has become underutilized in teaching because of its inadequate display and storage status. The goal of this project was to improve accessibility of UBC’s collection to learning community. by developing an interactive, web-based tool that combined existing teaching resources (soil monoliths) with on-line soil science educational resources developed by the Virtual Soil Science Learning Resource group.
The specific learning objectives of this tool are to:
- better integrate historic soil science resources (monoliths) into undergraduate and graduate teaching,
- enhance student understanding of basic soil science principles, and
- enhance student soil identification and classification skills.
Funding for this project was provided by the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (2009).
This project has been developed through a collaboration of members of the Virtual Soil Science of BC Consortium