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Berlin Environmental Atlas

01.01 Soil Associations (Edition 1998)

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Selected Soil Associations

Some characteristic soil associations (SA) will be described here. A more detailed description of soil associations was made by Grenzius (1987). The depicted landscape segments originate from Grenzius' dissertation (1987). The abbreviations used for soil types in Figures 2 - 10 are explained in Table 7.

Near-natural Soil Associations

SA 1 Luvisol (para-brown soil) - arenic cambisol (wedged sand-pit brown soil)
(ground moraine flat upland area of boulder marl)
The parent material is flat upland boulder clay or marl. Shrinkage created wedges filled with sand; this was then overlaid with drift sand. A mixture of drift sand with boulder marl led to the formation of the glacial cover sand. Luvisols developed on the 1 - 3 m deep wedged sand-pits of arenic cambisols (wedged sand-pit brown soils) where the boulder clay and marl was covered with a thin glacial sand cover.

This soil association is particularly found at the Teltow and Barnim boulder marl flat upland areas.

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Fig. 2: Luvisol (para-brown soil) - Arenic Cambisol (wedged sand-pit brown soil)
(soil association of the ground moraine flat upland area of boulder marl)

SA 6 Dystic cambisol (rusty brown soil) - colluvial cambisol (colluvial brown soil)
(outwash plain over) moraine area of detritial sand
This soil association comprises dystric cambisols on the sandy, morphologically relatively flat area of the boulder marl flat upland plain and the ground moraines of the Teltow (Grunewald, Düppler forest) and Barnim flat upland plain. The upper 2 meters of glacial sand do not contain boulder clay or marl.

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Fig. 3: Dystric Cambisol (rusty brown soil) - Colluvial Cambisol (colluvial brown soil)
(soil association of moraine areas (outwash plain) of glacial load sand)

Dystric cambisols also appear at the kames formations of the Grunewald forest, from Lübars to Arkenberge, and in the end moraine formations in Gatow and Müggelberge. They have a different spatial relationship there (geomorphological unit). This is why this geomorphological unit was included with another soil type in another soil association, SA 4.

Another soil association, SA 2 or 3, is of dystric cambisols on relatively higher moraine hills of glacial sand with some boulder marl or boulder clay remainders within the first two meters of the glacial sand.

SA 9 Spodo-dystric cambisol (podzol brown soil) - podzol - colluvial dystic cambisol (colluvial rusty brown soil)
SA 10 Spodo-dystric cambisol (podzol brown soil) - dystric cambisol (rusty brown soil) - colluvial dystric cambisol (colluvial rusty brown soil)
(dunes of fine sand)
Soil associations 9 and 10 are dunes several meters thick, remote from groundwater, as well as larger dune areas with terrain heights over 40 m. They differ primarily in the presence of podzols. They appear mainly in the Tegel and Frohnau forests, but in the Köpenick forest as well. No statements can be made about the presence of podzols without soil profile studies. These two soil associations in East Berlin are listed as collective soil associations; these soil associations are listed separately if mapping has been done (Standortskarten des Forstbetriebes Ost-Berlin, Smettan 1995) (Site Maps of East Berlin Forest Management).

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Fig. 4: Spodo-dystric Cambisol (podzol-brown soils) - Podzols - Colluvial Dystic Cambisols (colluvial rusty brown soil)
(soil association of dunes of fine sand)

SA 15 Dystric cambisol (rusty brown soil) - gleyic cambisol (gleyed brown soil) - eutro-gleyic cambisol
(valley sand areas of medium and fine sand)
This soil association is widely distributed in the Berlin Pleistocene watercourse (Urstromtal). The Berlin Urstromtal is the last meltwater valley of the Frankfurt phase of the Weichsel ice age. The medium and fine sands transported and deposited by meltwater formed the parent substrate for the formation of cambisols and dystric cambisols. Varying groundwater levels caused the formation of gley properties, such as rusty spots, in various depths. These are represented by the soil types stagno-gleyic cambisol and eutro-gleyic cambisol. Groundwater levels sank in this century because of groundwater removals by the Berlin Waterworks. Gley properties are often present only as residual, i.e. groundwater levels today are deeper than the gley characteristics they once produced. This soil association is present particularly in the Spreetal in Köpenick, and in the valley sand areas of forests in Spandau, Tegel and Jungfernheide.

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Fig. 5: Stagno-gleyed Cambisol (gleyed brown soil) - Eutro-gleyic Cambisol (gleyic brown soil)
(soil association of valley sand areas of medium and fine sand in the Spandau Forest)

SA 22a Eutro-gleyic cambisol (gleyic brown soil) - gleysol - eutric histosol (lower bog)
(meltwater channels in valley sand areas without dunes)
The great pressure from the weight of the glaciers melted ice at their bottom layers. The runoff of this meltwater produced subglacial meltwater channels. Great amounts of meltwater produced in the warm periods between ice ages flowed into the valleys and deepened the runoff channels. The channels in the vicinity of groundwater bogged after the last ice age. Many of these channels, particularly in the Berlin inner city, were landfilled and/or built upon, and are not visible today.

Such fluvoglacial meltwater channels within valley sand areas are found in parts of the Wuhle, the Neuenhagener Mühlenfließ, Spekte-Lake, the Egelpfuhlwiesen, and the Breite Fenn. Histo-humic gleysols (turfy moulder gleys) and valley bog torf formed directly in the middle of these channels, depending on groundwater levels. Depending on groundwater levels, eutro-gleyic, eutro-gleyic dystric, stagno-gleyed and stagno-gleyed dystric cambisols were formed towards the channel edges.

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Fig. 6: Eutro-gleyic Cambisol (gleyic brown soil) - Gleysol - Eutric Histosol (lower bog)
(meltwater channels in valley sand areas without dunes)

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