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  1. Land Development Engineering

    April 15, 2008 by siera104

    Earthwork Calculations

    Cross-section (in section) Directions – calculate cut and fill by taking “slices” along a base line

    SpreadSheet Calculations of Cross-section calculations

    Contour Plane Directions - calculate cut and fill by finding the areas of the cut and fill and multiply by the height of a contour

    Spread Sheet Calculations for Contour Plane Earthwork Calculations

    Grid Method Earthwork Calculation -Use a grid to determine points of changes in cut and fill to interpolate total cut and fill for your disturbed area

  2. Soils Exam 1 Notes

    March 5, 2007 by siera104

    To Prepare for Exam 1

    What is soil?
    Why is soil important?
    Soil Horizons 
    Soil Components 
    Soil Interaction 
    Soil Quality 
    Soil Forming Factors

    Soil Taxonomy 
    Surface Horizon (Epipedon) diagnostics
    Soil Moisture Regime 
    Soil Temperature Regime 
    Soil Order 
    Soil Properties

    What is soil?
    Soil is the naturally occurring, unconsolidated or loose covering of broken rock particles and decaying organic matter (humus) on the surface of the earth, capable of supporting life.[1

    Why is soil important?
    Medium for Plant Growth
    Supports roots, plant’s foundation
    Aerates plant roots
    Moisture for roots
    Moderates root temperature
    Environment is free from plant toxins (phytotoxins)
    Provides most essential elements for growth (13/18)
    Regulates Water Supplies
    Most water travels through the soil
    Soil absorbs and stores water
    Water would evaporate much faster without soil
    Recycle of Raw organic material
    Habitat for Soil organisms
    Used a Building and Engineering Medium
    Soil Interacts with the other sphere, water air organisms (Pedosphere)

    Soil Horizons
    Master Horizons (O,A,E,B)
    Subdivisions Lower letter after master letter – Ap
    O– organic material added to surface,
    Absent in grasslands
    Present in Forests
    A- top most layers dominated by mineral material
    Darkened by accumulation of organic matter
    Plow Layer (Ap)
    Most plant roots found in the A horizon
    Translocates organics
    Coarse due to loss of fine to depth
    E – a leeched layer (optional in soil profiles)
    Eluvial horizon
    Intensely weathered and leached
    Linked to acidic conditions
    No organic Matter
    Light in Color
    Common in forests
    Generally harder minerals that are less soluble (like quartz)
    B- very little organic matter
    Parent material no longer discernable
    Silicate clays, iron and aluminum oxides, gypsum, CaCO3, accumulated here
    May be formed in place through weathering
    C- unconsolidated material mainly from parent material
    Least weathered part of profile
    ____________End of Soil__________________________
    R- Regolith or bedrock
    Little to no weathering
    Parent material of soil
    Underlying geology

    Soil Components
    Mineral (inorganic)
    Little pieces of rock
    Gravel 2 mm up to 64 mm
    Sand 2 mm to .
    Silt 0.0625 mm down to 0.004
    Clay smaller than 0.002 mm
    Small Clays = colloids
    Kinds of clays -> very important
    Soil Texture is determined by the proportion of sand silt and clay

    soil texture

    Organic Matter
    1-6% of dry weight
    Influences all soil properties and uses
    Including living biomass (critters, roots)
    Humus – well decomposed portion
    Resistant to further microbial attack
    Half of soil volume of pores
    Pores filled with water or air
    Some soils hold water well, moderately or poorly
    Soil water is not pure = soil solution
    Contains ions
    Water determines pH of soil (usually between 5 – 8)
    Soil can’t contain air when comply saturated with water
    Depleted of O2 -> rich in CO2
    Highly variable (temporally and spatially)
    Greater CO2 than atmosphere

    Soil Interaction
    Plant Roots

    Soil Quality
    Ability to perform ecological functions
    Water filtration
    Plant medium
    Physical chemical biological properties

    Soil Formation
    Mineral content
    Physical Weathering Processes:
    Temperature- exfoliation, thermal expansion, frost wedging of rocks
    Abrasion from wind, water, and ice
    Plants and Animals- from roots and burrows
    Biogeochemical weathering processes
    Increased temperatures speeds up reactions
    Hydration – water molecules bind to minerals
    Hydrolysis- water splits into H+ and OH- replaces cations in mineral structures
    Carbonation- making carbonic acid
    Oxidation and Reduction
    Organic Content
    Temperature- increase -> decomposition increases

    Soil Forming Factors (5) – affects soil properties
    Parent Material
    Weathering of underlying rock
    Either formed in place or transported by wind water or ice
    Colluvial Debris- Poorly sorted -> transported by gravity
    Alluvial deposits- Stream transportation -> floodplains, alluvial fans, deltas
    Glacial deposits- transported by glaciers- very poorly sorted
    Organic deposits- in bogs peat = remains of plants
    Moss peat- sphagnum
    Herbaceous peat- sedges and reeds
    Woody Peat- tree and shrub remain
    Sedentary peat – aquatic plants and animals
    Increased rainfall->soil leeching, erosion
    Little rainfall- wind transportation, cemented soils
    Temperature- affects decomposition and weathering, speeds chemical rxns
    Influences vegetation
    Organic matter accumulation – thickness of O and A horizons
    Organisms (ei, ants, worms, termites, gophers, fungi, microbes…) Micro and Macro
    Steep- faster water velocities -> erosion / poorly developed profiles
    Not so steep slopes- soil thickens and accumulates

    Time increases soil profile develops and thickens
    Soil Formation Processes (4)
    Transformations- chemically or physically altered
    Translocations- movement of material laterally or vertically
    Additions- organic matter, salts
    Losses- leeching, erosion, dissolution, decomposition, gas losses, soil respiration

    Soil Taxonomy
    Great groups
    Series- classes of soil, similar to species
    Polypedon (soil individual)- group of similar pedons
    Pedon- smallest sampling unit which displays the full range of properties of a soil (1-10 m2)
    Surface Horizon (Epipedon) diagnostics
    Mollic – dark color, high organic matter, soft grasslands
    Umbric- similar to mollic, lower in base (metal) saturation, indicator of higher rainfall
    Ochre- lighter in color, thinner than mollic and umbric, may be hard when dry (possibly because CO3)
    Melanic- black, high organic matter and rich in minerals developed from volcanic ash, light and fluffy.
    Histic- 20-60 cm thick organic layer over mineral soil, typical of wetlands with peat

    Soil Moisture Regimes
    Aquic – saturated  most of the time
    Udic- enough moisture to meet plant needs
    Ustic- some pl;ants viable moisture, long dry periods
    Aridic and torric- soil dry for more than half of the growing season, moist for <90 consecutive days
    Xeric- seasonal cool moist winters, warm dry summers, Mediterranean climates, long droughts in summer

    Soil Temperature Regimes
    Pergelic- Temp < 0o C, permafrost or ice
    Cryic and frigid- 0-8 o C, great plains of use, spring wheat dominate crop
    Mesic- 8-15 o C, Midwest, and Great Plains, corn and winter wheat
    Thermic- 15-22o C, coastal plains, cotton central CA valley
    Hyperthermic- >22 o C, Southern CA, HI, citrus

    Soil Orders

    Argillic (P rich), Kandic (K rich), Natric (sodium rich) horizon
    Exchangable Base Metals
    Base Saturation of 35% or greater
    Ochric or umbric epipedon
    May also have petrocalic horizon or a fragipan or a durapan
    Volcanic ejecta
    Weakly weathered soil
    Volcanic glass
    Soils are too dry for most plants
    Aridic moisture regime
    Ochric or  anthropic epipedon
    Soil dry for half of the growing season (90 consecutive days)
    Litte or no profile development
    Ochric epipedon
    Permafrost soils within 100 cm of soil surface
    Dominantly organic
    Bogs, moors, peat, and mucks
    No permafrost
    Young soils
    B horizon may be hard to see
    Poor hoizonation
    Humid to sub humid regions
    No illuvial horizon but argillic, nitric, kandic, spodic, and oxic horizons are excluded
    Dark soft grassland soils
    Base rich due to organic matter
    High turn-over of organic matter (fast decomposition of grasses)
    Agrillic, calici or natric horizon
    Tropical and subtropical
    Oxic horizons, highly weathered
    Nearly featureless soil without clearly marked horizons
    Arbitrary horizon boundaries
    Sandy – high quartz content (quartz is reistant to chemical and physical weathering)
    Low bases – does not buffer acids
    Heavily leeched E horizon
    Mixture of organic matter and aluminum with or without iron eluvial horizon
    Very old soil
    Heavly weathered
    Argillic horizon -High clay content, low bases, translocated to silicate clays
    Base saturation less than 35%
    High content of expanding clays
    Deep wide cracks
    When soil is moistened after long dry period the clays swell and “turn” the soil over time
    Soil Properties
    Used to classify and understand
    Musell colors used
    Hue- color
    Chroma- saturation
    Value- light to dark
    Influenced by:
    Organic matter- darken soils have high Organic Matter
    Moisture- wet = darker dry = ligher
    Influences O2 concentration
    Oxidation of  Minerals like Fe Mg
    Warm, dry soils: well oxidized – bright red or yellow
    Wet soils: blue/ gray or glaying (indicator of wetland) low chroma due to low oxygen levels- reduction conditions
    Impacts soil behavior and management
    Soil components
    Gravel 2 mm up to 64 mm
    Sand 2 mm to .
    Usually quartz
    Low plant nutrients
    Fast drainage
    Droughty soil
    Low compaction
    Silt 0.0625 mm down to 0.004
    Feels like flour
    Quartz dominate
    Can release plant nutrients depending on non-quartz minerals
    Small pores
    Clay smaller than 0.002 mm
    Huge surface area
    Large capacity to hold water
    Partials don’t settle out of water
    Shaped like flakes or plates
    Tiny pore- poor for water and air movement
    Minerals impact clay properties
    Small Clays = colloids
    Kinds of clays -> very important
    Soil Texture is determined by the proportion of sand silt and clay (Soil texture triangle, only need to know % of 2 components)
    Soil Structure
    Arrangement of primary soil particles – peds or aggregates
    Characterized by Shape, size, and distinctness (grade) of ped
    Spherodial (granular) – characteristic of A horizons. Subject to wide and rapid changes, related to soil organic matter
    Platelike (platy)- common in E horizons – but may occur at any level of profile. Often inherited from parent material of soil or caused by compaction
    Blocklike common in B horizons particularly in humid regions. May occur in A
    Angular blocky- less weathering
    Subangular blocky- more weathering
    Prismlike- found in B horizons, most commin in arid and sub arid regions
    Prismatic and Columlar
    Particle Density
    Mass * Volume = Density g/ cm3
    Just particles – not the pores
    Essentaloly the same a specific gravity
    Usally use the same as quartz, except for soils dominated by organic matter and have a drastically different density
    Bulk Density Db
    Mass * Unit of dry soil
    Measurement includes pore space
    Structure of soil is important
    Meausre using intact core
    Bulk Density impacted by texture- more pore space the lower the bulk density
    Pore space increases – bulk density decreases
    Depth in profile increases with depth
    Used in determining land use
    Ex- skid trails, compaction for construction, agruculural uses
    Lower the bulk density- higher poristy
    Generally about 50%
    Compacted subsoils 25%
    High organic matter 60%
    Macro pores >0.08mm
    Allows air and water movement
    Interped pores- between peds
    Bio pores
    Micro pores <0.08mm
    Water filled usually
    Too small to permit movement
    Consistence- resistance to mechanical stress
    Attraction amount soil particles
    Attraction between soil particles and water
    Depends on moisture content
    Engineering uses
    Consistency – resistance to penetration by an object
    Blunt end of a pencil test
    Cohesive soils- clay content >15%
    Strength decreases a lot with pores fill with water
    Mudslide potential
    Settlement and compression
    -soils compacted prior to building
    Proctor test – optimum moisture for compaction
    Compression consolidation test tells how much volume will be lost under different stresses
    Sandy soils resists compression
    Clays and organic soils have compressibility
    Expansive soil




  3. Cartography 310

    December 20, 2006 by siera104

    In the Fall of 2006 I took Cartography 310, basics in map making at Frostburg State University with Dr. Fritz Kessler. Below are the maps I produced in the class. To get a closer view click for a larger image or PDF.

    Here are links to some notes I took and used to study for this class.

    Chapter 4 Notes
    Chapter 11 Notes

    Chapter 5 Notes

    The first maps were to demonstrate we could choose the appropriate map projection for the purpose.


    The next lab we learned about type placement, and made had to label maps of Allegany County and Garrett County Maryland using certain criteria.

    Allegany County Maryland Garrett County Maryland Labels Cartography Lab

    Allegany County Maryland Garrett County Maryland Labels Cartography Lab

    The following lab we had to put our labeling to the test and label a county map of Ohio.

    labels Ohio counties and county seatsLab 4

    United State Boat Accidents

    United States Boating AccidentsLab 5

    Maryland 2004 Presidential Election results by County

    Maryland Superfund Sites

    United States 2006 Dominate Commodity by StateUnited States Farm Size 2005Lab 6, we learned about map normalization, and demonstrated how the data can appear differently depending on how the data is normalized.

    United States Inmate Population 2006

    Lab 7

    SomaliaFinal Project

    The theme of the final projects for this class was the Middle East. I choose to show how ethnicity and religions were distributed during the 20th Century. It was really difficult to find precise data. I like the layout and color skeme of the map.

    Ethnic and Religious Distributions in the Middle East

    Ethnic and Religious Distributions in the Middle East










  4. Cartography Exam 2

    November 22, 2006 by siera104

    Review for Exam #2

    Below is a summary of topics that you should become familiar with for the second exam. This list is not all inclusive of every concept term and topic reviewed in class. Thus, you are expected to have read an understood all reading, lecture, and associated materials. The text book for the class was Thematic Cartography and Geographic Visualization (2nd Edition) (Prentice Hall Series in Geographic Information Science) by Terry A. Slocum, Robert B McMaster, Fritz C. Kessler and Hugh H. Howard (Jul 8, 2004).

    Data Measurement Levels and Visual Variables (Ch 4 pp. 56-64)
    What are the data measurement levels
    Explaining the differences in nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio level data
    What are the visual variables
    Explain how each visual variable can be applied to a specific data measurement levels

    Map Design (Ch 11, and Readings on Reserve)

    • What role does science and art play in map design
    • Imitation, Emotive, Expressionist, and Communicative
    • Describe the commutation model and understand the basic elements and process
    • How has cognate psychology influence map design?
    • Three stages of map design
    • Gestalt Principles- How do each contribute to effective map design
      • Grouping
      • Differentiation/ heterogeneity
      • Good Contour
      • Surroundedness/ Closure
      • Relative Size
      • Lightness
      • Familiarity
      • Simplicity
    • Visual Hierarch/ Intellectual hierarchy
    • Interposition
    • Articulation
    • Controls of map design

    Data classification (Ch 5, pg. 74- 90)

    • Understand how different methods are computed: equal interval, mean-standard deviation and natural breaks
    • Know what method tries to accomplish
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?
    • What are the differences between standardized and nonstandardized data?
    • Why is I appropriate to standardize data?

    Principles of Thematic Symbolization (Ch 4, p. 64 ~ 73)

    • Understand the symbolization Matrixes (continuous/ secrete – abrupt/ smooth)
    • Cholorpleth, Graduated Symbol, Dot, Isarithmic Symbolization
    • When are the se methods appropriate?
    • What kind of dada is appropriate fro each methods
    • Be label to describe the difference in data and phenomenon

    Cholorpeth mapping (Ch 13)

    • Understand when the method is appropriate
    • Discuss the kinds of data that are collected for this method
    • What kind of information is communicated with this method
    • Basic construction techniques
    • Advantages and disadvantages of this method

    Proportional symbol Mapping (Ch 16)

    • Understand when the method is appropriate
    • Discuss the kinds of data that are collected for this method
    • What kind of information is communicated with this method
    • Basic construction techniques
    • Advantages and disadvantages of this method

    Dot Mapping (Ch 17 pg 28~335 only)

    • Understand when the method is appropriate
    • Discuss the kinds of data that are collected for this method
    • What kind of information is communicated with this method
    • Basic construction techniques
    • Advantages and disadvantages of this method

    Isarithmic Mapping (Ch 15)

    • Understand when the method is appropriate
    • Discuss the kinds of data that are collected for this method
    • What kind of information is communicated with this method
    • Basic construction techniques
    • Advantages and disadvantages of this method

  5. Plant Taxonomy

    September 12, 2006 by siera104

    In the Fall 2006 I took, Plant Taxonomy, I started to make some quizzes and flash cards to study, but things got a bit too busy to continue past week 2.

    Group 1 (Gymnosperm) Notes
    Group 1 List 
    Group 1 Flash Cards

    Group 2 Notes 
    Group 2 List 
    Group 1 Flash Cards

    Group 3 Notes

  6. Summer Ecology

    June 20, 2006 by siera104

    I took Ecology at Frostburg State University during the Summer of 2006 with Dr. Pegg. I had a blast, we got to go to Assateague Island

    Here are my pictures of our field trip.

    Check out the Ecology Lab Practical Study. This is the study guide, for our lab practical after our field trip to Assateague Island


  7. Biology 2 Notes

    May 18, 2006 by siera104

    I took Dr. Wyane Yoder’s Biology II at Frostburg State University

    These are the notes I studied for Dr. Yoder’s tests, I think they are pretty complete, I did well in the class, and some of my friends found them very helpful.
    Hope these note will help you!

    Disclaimer: there maybe some typo’s please let me know about them by contacting me,

    My General Biology II Notes:

  8. C&O Canal

    May 7, 2006 by siera104

    For Biology 2, I did a project where every week I spent an hour outside at the C&O Canal and recorded the changes thorugh the winter transforming into spring during the semester.