Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Soil Survey


Now, lady and gentleman, it is time to recite some riveting facts from That Book which surely must be on everyone's coffee table and nightstand:  The November 1962 Mathews County Soil Survey.

My copy belonged to my grandfather. Every now and again I like to put people to sleep or make them run away screaming like stark, raving lunatics to break things up on this blog by reciting from it.

Today's exciting lesson has to do with drainage in the county. Hang on to your hats, folks, it's gonna be a wild ride!

For those of you who just came here to take a nap, please lay your head down now.  For those of you who didn't realize you came here to take a nap until after reading the topic--which, to reiterate, is drainage--please feel free to borrow a pillow and blanket and rest your eyes for a spell. The bell will ring when this torture blog post is over. Sleep tight!

The photo above, taken at Aaron's Beach, shows one of the many, many drainage ditches found in the lower parts of the county. 

By the way, the entire county is below sea level and basically underwater with any amount of rain low lying. So these things are everywhere. 

The 1962 Soil Survey says this about the county's flooding soil and drainage issues:

"The Keyport and Elkton are the only soils in the county that change greatly in volume upon wetting and drying.  The acreage of these soils is small and is mostly north of Cobbs Creek. All other soils in the county are low to medium in shrink-well capacity.  In Mathews County bedrock is at a great depth.  In places some shell marl and coquina occur at a depth exceeding 5 feet.  Drainage ditches will make soils with a high water table more suitable for borrow material.  Under drains help make such soils more stable.

Because of the low elevation, nearly level topography, high water table, and lack of natural drains in Mathews County, fills are needed in most roads for satisfactory results.

When roads are built along coastal beaches or along shorelines, they must be protected from erosion by wave action.  Riprap can be used to advantage in these locations.

There are extensive areas of poorly drained soils at low elevations in the county.  Tidal marsh and mixed alluvial land are generally at an elevation of less than 2 feet.  Roadways across parts of tidal marsh where heavy traffic is expected require special treatment.

The permeability of the soil is important in planning and designing drainage systems.  Tile drainage systems may not be practical if the permeability of the soil is slow.  Because of the very low elevations in many places in the county, especially along the Chesapeake Bay, tile drainage may not be practical in fields that lack an outlet.  Open ditches, used along with dikes and tide floodgates, may be satisfactory in such places."

Riiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnggg! Naptime is over. Don't forget your pillow and blanket as you stampede out of this blog post. Thank you, come again soon.

Click here for an earlier, slightly less nap-inducing post inspired by the Soil Survey.

Otherwise, have a great day free from flooding, drainage and other water-related issues.



11 comments:

Grandma J said...

I prepared myself and put my waders on for that post. Very informative, and something those of us in arid central TX would know nothing about.

Ann Marie said...

is that bottom pic from Aaron's beach or elsewhere cause it looks a bit like Potato Neck....

Maria_NJ said...

these are the things that I am going to have to know when I win the Blog Cabin... thank you for giving me a heads up!!!

no seriously, no chit, I dreamed last night I won...and I walked in the kitchen and there were no cabinets, I had to pay for cabinets...hahahahaha what the heck does that mean??

wv: bilya: oh, that cabinet expense, I guess they will have to bilya....

Mrs F with 4 said...

CBW, you have no idea how timely - and ironic - this subject is! I've just spent a happy hour or two reinforcing the sandbags around the house! Snowmelt plus (apparently) 6 or so inches of rain in two days... I am just hoping to divert around the house. Preferably into my odious neighbour's property, at which point he will give up his constant aggravation and bugger off back to ... oh, anywhere really.

wv:unprop. That wish is somewhat unproper of me?

Deltaville Jamie said...

So, this was rather informative. I now know that when I want to dig that large hole for disposal, I'm good at the 6 foot depth since the bedrock is "at a great depth". Throw some rip rap on top of it when it's filled and nothing will float to the surface...

I see poor Maria is delusional again. It's OK, Maria, I'll let you sleep in the Blog Cabin guest room and you can have some wine from the awesome wine fridge in the kitchen too. I'm generous like that.

WV: wolam- "Wolam, wolam, wolam, keeps those doggies wolam, keep those doggies wolam, Rawhide!"

Daryl said...

I was in over my head ... but thanks to my gamici I now know a lot about dirt!(WV gamici is soil talk for Blister)

deborah said...

I found that to be very informative, and will put it to good use when I win the blog cabin. I will, of course, be happy to have visitors who like to drink wine:)and dig drainage ditches.

Kay L. Davies said...

I just put the dog out and was going to have a nap, but I thought I'd check to see if I had to comment on anything. I see I don't.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Around here when the ground gets that wet the damn trees fall over.
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Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

AM- The bottom pic is definitely Potato Neck.

Thanks for commenting, everyone. It's nice to read these and smile after a long day in a week that will never end.

Mental P Mama said...

Wait. Tell me what part to read because I. Just. Couldn't.