Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 101–106 | Cite as

Seventy years’ “Micropedology” 1938–2008: The past and future

  • G. StoopsEmail author


Although the first microscopic observations on soils date already from the beginning of the twentieth century, the publication of Kubiëna’s book “Micropedology” in 1937 is considered as the beginning of this new scientific discipline. This first system for micromorphological descriptions of soils is considered as morphoanalytical, analysing the fabric according to pure morphological criteria. In a second period Kuniëna used a morphogenetic approach, directly relating the global observed fabric to genetic soil horizons. This system, mainly limited to European soils, was in general use till the early nineteen-seventies. End of the nineteen-fifties nongenetic soil classification systems were developed (e.g. USDA). This trend prompted R. Brewer to publish in 1964 a new morphoanalytical system for fabric analysis, used till the end of last century. Because of some inconsistencies in this approach, a working group of the ISSS published in 1985 a new set of morphoanalytical concepts and associated terminology (Bullock et al.), in 2003 adapted and extended by Stoops. Several morphosynthetic systems, expressing a complete soil microfabric in a single (compound) term have been proposed, but none was really successful. In 1967 Kubiëna introduced the term “micromorphometry” to name a new branch of micromorphology quantifying the soil fabric, mainly evaluating changes in porosity and structure resulting from soil management. The necessity of clearly defined concepts and terms for fabric analysis of soils and regoliths, even as a need for standardisation of quantitative methods, are discussed in the conclusions.


micropedology micromorphology fabric analysis Kubiëna 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorium voor Mineralogie en Petrologie, Vakgroep Geologie en Bodemkunde WE13Universiteit GentGentBelgium

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