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Data Series 866

Area- and Depth-Weighted Averages of Selected SSURGO Variables for the Conterminous United States and District of Columbia

By Michael E. Wieczorek

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (10.4 MB)Abstract

This digital data release consists of seven data files of soil attributes for the United States and the District of Columbia. The files are derived from Natural Resources Conservations Service’s (NRCS) Soil Survey Geographic database (SSURGO). The data files can be linked to the raster datasets of soil mapping unit identifiers (MUKEY) available through the NRCS’s Gridded Soil Survey Geographic (gSSURGO) database ( The associated files, named DRAINAGECLASS, HYDRATING, HYDGRP, HYDRICCONDITION, LAYER, TEXT, and WTDEP are area- and depth-weighted average values for selected soil characteristics from the SSURGO database for the conterminous United States and the District of Columbia. The SSURGO tables were acquired from the NRCS on March 5, 2014. The soil characteristics in the DRAINAGE table are drainage class (DRNCLASS), which identifies the natural drainage conditions of the soil and refers to the frequency and duration of wet periods. The soil characteristics in the HYDRATING table are hydric rating (HYDRATE), a yes/no field that indicates whether or not a map unit component is classified as a "hydric soil". The soil characteristics in the HYDGRP table are the percentages for each hydrologic group per MUKEY. The soil characteristics in the HYDRICCONDITION table are hydric condition (HYDCON), which describes the natural condition of the soil component. The soil characteristics in the LAYER table are available water capacity (AVG_AWC), bulk density (AVG_BD), saturated hydraulic conductivity (AVG_KSAT), vertical saturated hydraulic conductivity (AVG_KV), soil erodibility factor (AVG_KFACT), porosity (AVG_POR), field capacity (AVG_FC), the soil fraction passing a number 4 sieve (AVG_NO4), the soil fraction passing a number 10 sieve (AVG_NO10), the soil fraction passing a number 200 sieve (AVG_NO200), and organic matter (AVG_OM). The soil characteristics in the TEXT table are percent sand, silt, and clay (AVG_SAND, AVG_SILT, and AVG_CLAY). The soil characteristics in the WTDEP table are the annual minimum water table depth (WTDEP_MIN), available water storage in the 0-25 cm soil horizon (AWS025), the minimum water table depth for the months April, May and June (WTDEPAMJ), the available water storage in the first 25 centimeters of the soil horizon (AWS25), the dominant drainage class (DRCLSD), the wettest drainage class (DRCLSWET), and the hydric classification (HYDCLASS), which is an indication of the proportion of the map unit, expressed as a class, that is "hydric", based on the hydric classification of a given MUKEY. (See Entity_Description for more detail). The tables were created with a set of arc macro language (aml) and awk (awk was created at Bell Labsin the 1970s and its name is derived from the first letters of the last names of its authors – Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan) scripts. Send an email to to obtain copies of the computer code (See Process_Description.) The methods used are outlined in NRCS's "SSURGO Data Packaging and Use" (NRCS, 2011). The tables can be related or joined to the gSSURGO rasters of MUKEYs by the item 'MUKEY.' Joining or relating the tables to a MUKEY grid allows the creation of grids of area- and depth-weighted soil characteristics. A 90-meter raster of MUKEYs is provided which can be used to produce rasters of soil attributes. More detailed resolution rasters are available through NRCS via the link above.

First posted November 18, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, MD-DE-DC Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
5522 Research Park Drive
Baltimore, MD 21228

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Suggested citation:

Wieczorek, M.E., 2014, Area- and depth-weighted averages of selected SSURGO variables for the conterminous United States and District of Columbia: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 866,

ISSN 2327-638X (online)









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