Update: 08.12.2017

There are over 100,000 different types of soil in the world.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

Report on the 2nd Intensive Training Course on Soil Micromorphology

Barcelona-Lleida, 8-19 Jan 2007

The 2nd Intensive Training Course on Soil Micromorphology took place from the 8th to the 19th Jan 2007. It was organized by the Dept. of Environment and Soil Sciences of the U. of Lleida and the Dept. Of Crystallography, Mineralogy and Ore Deposits of the U. of Barcelona, and with the collaboration of the University of Ghent (Belgium). It was attended by 23 participants from 15 countries (Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Nicaragua, Portugal, Russia, Spain and USA), with diverse backgrounds as agronomy, geology, soil science, geomorphology or archaeology.


The lectures covered a broad spectrum of subjects, from basic principles of optical mineralogy to micromorphology of specific soil materials. Practical sessions included demonstrations of soil sampling in the field, visits to labs for preparation of thin sections or demonstrations of submicroscopic techniques. A weekend excursion, lead by Profs. J Porta, J Boixadera and EA FitzPatrick, was attended by eleven participants. Several soilscapes of Catalonia were visited, from semiarid environments near Lleida to oak mediterranean forests and rice fields of the delta of the Ebro river. The excursion finished with a paella at one of the mediterranean beaches. The group showed great interest in the course, especially for the chance to ask about their research, work with the different lecturers, and share their experiences with their colleagues. They were enthusiastic and worked till late with the microscopes, either with their own material or with sets of thin sections provided by the course. In spite of a flu virus that was flowing in the air, the course was a success in the sense that the participants learned the basic tools for the study of soil features and processes at a microscopical scale. Due to the positive experience, a third edition of the course will probably take place in 2009. We hope that the outcome of this course is twenty-three new micromorphologists in the world!

Rosa M Poch (UdL)

Angels Canals (UB)