Encyclopedia of Soil Science

2008 Edition
| Editors: Ward Chesworth


  • Garrison Sposito
  • Ward Chesworth
  • L. J. Evans
  • Ward Chesworth
  • Otto Spaargaren
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-3995-9_252

Gleysols are wetland soils, which in the natural state are continuously water‐saturated within 50 cm of the surface, for long periods of time. Reduction of Fe and Mn leads predominantly to grayish hues in the profile below the water table. This article is based on the descriptions in FAO (2001).

Connotation. Soils with clear signs of excess wetness; from R. gley, mucky mass.

Synonyms. Gleysols are equivalent to ‘gleyzems’ and ‘meadow soils’ (Russia), ‘aqu‐’ suborders of entisols, inceptisols and mollisols (Soil Taxonomy), ‘Gley’ (Germany). ‘Groundwater soils’ and ‘hydromorphic soils’ are commonly used general terms.

Definition. Gleysols are defined by FAO ( 2001) as
  1. 1.

    having gleyic properties within 50 cm from the soil surface; and

  2. 2.

    having no diagnostic horizons other than an anthraquic, histic, mollic, ochric, takyric, umbric, andic, calcic, cambic, gypsic, plinthic, salic, sulfuric or vitric horizon within 100 cm from the soil surface.

  3. 3.

    having no abrupt textural change within...

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  1. FAO, 2001. Lecture notes on the major soils of the world. World Soil Resources Reports, 94. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 334 pp.Google Scholar
  2. FitzPatrick, E.A., 1986. An Introduction to Soil Science. 2nd edn. Essex, England/New York: Longman Scientific & Technical/Wiley. 255 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Zech, W., and Hintermaier‐Erhard, G. 2007. Soils of the World. Heidelberg, Berlin: Springer‐Verlag 130 pp.Google Scholar

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© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garrison Sposito
  • Ward Chesworth
  • L. J. Evans
  • Ward Chesworth
  • Otto Spaargaren

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