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


Vertisols (from Latin verto, "turn") are clay-rich soils that shrink and swell with changes in moisture content. During dry periods, the soil volume shrinks, and deep wide cracks form. The soil volume then expands as it wets up. This shrink/swell action creates serious engineering problems and generally prevents formation of distinct, well-developed horizons in these soils.

Globally, Vertisols occupy ~2.4% of the ice-free land area. In the US, they ccupy ~2.0% of the land area and occur primarily in Texas.

Vertisols are divided into 6 suborders: Aquerts, Cryerts, Xererts, Torrerts, Usterts, and Uderts. 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 a larger image

Click on map to view a larger image
<< back to Soil Orders list Vertisol example #1 >> 
1. Typic Hapludert
2. Udic Haplustert
Puerto Rico
3. Udic Haplustert
southcentral Texas
4. Epiaquert landscape
southern Idaho
5. Xeric Epiaquert
southern Idaho
6. surface cracks in Vertisol
7. Vertisol slickensides
8. cracked wall on Vertisol
9. gilgai pattern
South Dakota
10. gilgai pattern
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.