The desert soil-geomorphology project
— John W. Hawley


The Desert Soil-Geomorphology Project refers to a Soil Conservation Service, USDA, investigation between 1957 and 1972, of landscape evolution and soil development in a 400 sq mi area of Dona Ana County, New Mexico (Fig. 1). Its primary purpose was to gather basic information on soilgeomorphic relationships that would lead to increased accuracy and efficiency of the Soil Survey program in arid and semi-arid regions of the western states. A team of soil scientists and geologists from the S.C.S. Soil Survey Investigations Division under the direction of Guy D. Smith staffed the project. Research geologist R. V. Ruhe conducted initial geologic-geomorphic field studies from 1957 to 1960 and headed the project from 1957 to 1965. F. F. Peterson and J. W. Hawley were responsible for geomorphic and geologic research from 1960 to 1962 and 1962 to 1972, respectively. L. H. Gile was in charge of soils investigations for the duration of the project. Field research involved close collaboration with the Soil Survey Laboratory staff, particularly the Lincoln, Nebraska unit headed by R. B. Grossman. Work was done cooperatively with the New Mexico State University College of Agriculture, and Departments of Biology and Earth Sciences, and the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. The NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Agronomy provided office and laboratory space, and numerous other supporting services for the 15-year period.

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Recommended Citation:

  1. Hawley, John W., 1975, The desert soil-geomorphology project, in: Las Cruces Country, Seager, William R.; Clemons, Russell E.; Callender, Jonathan F., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 26th Field Conference, pp. 183-185.

[see guidebook]