C.C. Dorion Geological Services, LLC 79 Bennoch Rd.  Orono, ME 04473
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Maine Certified Geologist #485
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New Hampshire Professional Geologist #795
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Maine Certified Soil Scientist #454
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New Hampshire Certified Wetland Scientist #251
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Maine Certification in Erosion and Sedimentation Control Practices - MDEP
Welcome

High Intensity Soil Survey

The photo above shows a Colton soil developed in a glacial outwash landform

A portion of a high intensity soil survey map. This hillside was formerly covered by the sea during deglaciation. Elevations above 220 feet are mantled by thin and discontinuous glacial beach deposits interbedded with glacial tills (Peru soils); downslope are finer grained dense basal tills (Howland soils); the lowland at the toe-slope contains thick deposits of marine silty clay sediments (Scantic and Lamoine soils). A complex area of bedrock outcrop and very shallow to moderately deep (less than 40 inches to bedrock) soils is mapped as Thorndike-Abram channery loam-Rock outcrop.

The thin veneer of unconsolidated sediment overlying Maine’s bedrock was deposited beneath and at the terminus of the Laurentide ice sheet 11,000 to 15,000 years before present. These heterogeneous sediments are collectively called “parent material”. There are 5 broad classes of parent materials in Maine: sand and gravel deposits, loose ablation till, dense basal till, marine/lake silty clay sediments, and peat (organic) deposits. In the upper part of these parent materials, soils have slowly formed since deglaciation. Efficient use and management of Maine’s soils arises from the careful study, description, and mapping of land areas. Agricultural products, drinking water supplies, timber resources, road construction activities, waste water disposal, pollution mitigation, building sites, town planning, recreation areas, conservation lands, and untold other intricacies of life are directly linked to proper utilization of Maine’s varied soils.

To this end, I can provide soil surveys tailored to properly address a client’s land use and management objectives. Different levels of soil map intensities can match particular land use objectives. For example, the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service county soil maps were developed at scales of 1:15,840 (1 map inch = 1,320 ft. on the ground) or smaller scale. High intensity soil surveys, utilizing mapping scales of 1 map inch = 200 ft. on the ground, and up to 1 in. = 50 ft., can provide the detail needed for intensive land uses such as building construction, stormwater design, erosion and sediment control planning, natural resource protection, and other uses.

Integral to, and accompanying the high intensity soil map, is a report containing the soil pit logs and descriptions of soil map units which explain specific properties and limitations of each soil - texture, coarse fragments, drainage class (depth to seasonal high water table), restrictive layers, parent material, hydrologic group, slope, geomorphology, surface stoniness, and depth to bedrock. Soil test pits are dug by backhoe or excavator and allow for full soil descriptions down to 60 inches below ground surface.

 
 
The terminus of the Greenland ice sheet. An analogous climate, flora, and fauna existed in Maine during deglaciation. Subglacial sediment is dumped at the terminus where it is water-sorted, forming a broad sand and gravel outwash plain. Maine’s river valleys and vast blueberry barrens formed in this manner.
  Approximately 50% of the landmass of the conterminous U.S. is dedicated to agricultural production. The photo shows an Ap horizon (black top soil) 24 inches thick developed in glacially windblown sand. These soils represent the highest and best fertility agricultural lands in New England. With proper use and management, they can sustainably produce high crop yields indefinitely.   Approximately 24% of Maine is wetland. These lands serve vital purposes such as water filtration for subsurface aquifers, flood control, pollution control such as nitrogen and phosphorus absorption, habitat for ecologically diverse wildlife and fisheries, sedimentation control, and a host of other functions. The photo shows a typical hydric soil morphology of a thick organic horizon underlain by a chemically reduced iron and manganese (gleyed) mineral soil horizon.


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