Earth Sciences Report 1980-04

Earth Sciences Report 1980-04

ESR 1980-04

Soil survey of Cypress Hills, Alberta and interpretation for recreational use

Author(s) Greenlee, G.M. Date 1981-01-01

The mapped area is in the Cypress Hills, about 26 km east and 35 km south of Medicine Hat. The area is 16,700 ha, slightly less than three townships. The Cypress Hills rise about 550 m above the surrounding plains surface. The dominating physical feature is the nearly level plateau that slopes gently to the east and south. The elevation and surface gradient of the plateau are determined by the Cypress Hills conglomerate. The gravel of the plateau is covered by a veneer of medium- to fine-textured materials with scattered pebbles, which are loess of Wisconsin age. The surficial deposits near the margins of the trough-shaped valleys, which dissect the northern and eastern parts of the Cypress Hills plateau, are coarse-textured fluvial sediments (gravel). Further to the north and east, where the valleys have been progressively widened, the surficial deposits are of morainal origin. These deposits merge with the hummocky disintegration moraine found in the northern and western portions of the mapped area. The till is predominantly moderately fine textured. Southeastern Alberta has a semi-arid climate with hot summers, and bright cold winters; however, the higher elevation of the Cypress Hills plateau results in lower temperatures and higher precipitation than in the surrounding plains region. The Cypress Hills, in general, are situated in the grassland region according to Rowe (1972); however, the forested portions belong to a smaller outlier of the lower foothills section, which belongs to the boreal forest region.

Twenty-two map units were recognized in the study area. The key profile types are Orthic Black and Orthic Dark Brown Chernozemics, Orthic and Dark Gray Lovisols, Orthic Eutric Brunisols, Orthic Regosols, Black Solodized Solonetz, Black Solods, and Terric Humisols. These soils are distributed over the landscape in relation to landform, parent material, and drainage. Map units consist of single soil series, groupings of series or catenas; and their distribution is shown on the soil map.

Soil interpretations are made for each map unit for primitive camping areas, fully serviced campgrounds, paths, trails, road location, source of roadfill, and source of sand or gravel.

Greenlee, G.M. (1981): Soil survey of Cypress Hills, Alberta and interpretation for recreational use; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Earth Sciences Report 1980-04, 77 p.