University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Plant, Soil & Entomological Sciences Soil & Land Resources
Soil Orders
Soil Links
  Gelisols    Histosols    Spodosols    Andisols    Oxisols    Vertisols    Aridisols    Ultisols    Mollisols    Alfisols    Inceptisols    Entisols

Inceptisols (from Latin inceptum, "beginning") are soils that exhibit minimal horizon development. They are more developed than Entisols, but still lack the features that are characteristic of other soil orders.

Although not found under aridic climate regimes, Inceptisols nevertheless are widely distributed and occur across a wide range of ecological settings.They are often found on fairly steep slopes, young geomorphic surfaces, and on resistant parent materials. Land use varies considerably with Inceptisols. A sizable percentage of Inceptisols are found in mountainous areas and are used for forestry, recreation, and watershed.

Inceptisols occupy an estimated 15% of the global ice-free land area – only the Entisols are more extensive. In the US, they occupy ~9.7% of the land area. Inceptisols support ~20% of the world's population, the largest percentage of any of the soil orders.

Inceptisols are divided into 6 suborders: Aquepts, Gelepts, Cryepts, Ustepts, Xerepts, and Udepts. Click here for more information about these suborders. Click here to view a map of their distribution in the US.

Click on map to view larger image

Click on map to view larger image
1. Dystrudept landscape
Appalachian Mountains, NC
2. Typic Dystrudept West Virginia
3. Lithic Eutrudept northern Michigan
4. Dystrocryept landscape
central Idaho
5. Xeric Dystrocryept
central Idaho
6. Humicryept
glacial till landscape
central Idaho
7. Typic Humicryept
central Idaho
If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about the 12 Soil Orders web site,
please contact
Dr. Paul McDaniel at the Soil Science Division,
University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339.