Conversion of soil color parameters from the Munsell system to the CIE-L*a*b* system


The Munsell optical system is unsuitable for assessing the role of pigments in the color of soils by statistical methods. Empirical approaches to the transformation of the Munsell system have been proposed only for a limited range of color tones; they do not ensure the exact calculation of correlative relationships between pigments and soil colors. A new procedure is developed for the conversion of soil colors from the Munsell system to the CIE-L*a*b* system, which does not require data interpolation. A base of converted data covering the entire range of the Munsell color system used by soil scientists is created and maintained in the tabular form using Munsell Conversion (version 4.01) software. A more significant contribution of Fe pigments to the characterization of soil color in the CIE-L*a*b* system than in the Munsell system has been substantiated with soddy-podzolic soils as an example.

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Correspondence to Yu. N. Vodyanitskii.

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Original Russian Text © N.P. Kirillova, Yu.N. Vodyanitskii, T.M. Sileva, 2015, published in Pochvovedenie, 2015, No. 5, pp. 527–535.

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Kirillova, N.P., Vodyanitskii, Y.N. & Sileva, T.M. Conversion of soil color parameters from the Munsell system to the CIE-L*a*b* system. Eurasian Soil Sc. 48, 468–475 (2015).

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  • soil color coordinates
  • chromatic adaptation
  • redness index
  • Fe pigments
  • soddy-podzolic soils
  • Retisols