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Soils of Crater Lake National Park

Typical profile of a Collier soil

The geologic history of the park is one of fire and ice. Volcanic eruption material and glaciation combined over time to form the soils in the park....The soils that formed from the eruption deposits can be divided into groups according to the characteristics of the parent material. Parent material from the cataclysmic eruptions consists of ash, cinders, and pumice. The weathering of this material produced soils with characteristics that directly correspond to the percentage of pumice, ash, hard rock fragments, and cinders in each of the stages of the eruptions. [Formation of the Soils (Parent Material) - Soil Survey of Crater Lake National Park]

The Natural Resources Conservation Service completed inventory and mapping of the soils of Crater Lake National Park in 2001. Twelve soil types that fall into six general categories were identified within Crater Lake National Park. The categories are: 1) soils on uplands, formed in air-fall deposited ash and pumice; 2) soils on uplands, formed in air- fall deposited ash and pumice over glacial deposits; 3) soils in valleys, formed in ash flow deposits consisting of ash, pumice and cinders; 4) soils on cinder cones; 5) soils on upland meadows with intermingled forests; and 6) soils in seeps and on stream terraces. In general, the soils have a low water holding capacity and nutrient levels.

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