Soil Parent Material Model

BGS Datasets

Key information

1:50 000
Great Britain
GIS polygon data. (ESRI, MapInfo, others available by request)

£0.32 per km2. Subject to number of users, licence fee and data preparation fee

Local-level use

Soils are the result of weathering processes that occur on the Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets the geosphere and hydrosphere. We live in this ‘critical zone’, relying on our soils to grow our food and sustain the biodiversity and health of our environment.

A ‘parent material’ is a soil-science name for a weathered rock or deposit from and within which a soil has formed. In Great Britain, parent materials provide the basic foundations and building blocks of the soil, influencing their texture, structure, drainage and chemistry.

The Soil Parent Material Model details the distribution of physiochemical properties of the weathered and unweathered parent materials of Great Britain to:

  • facilitate spatial mapping of soil properties in Great Britain
  • identify soils and landscapes sensitive to erosion
  • provide a national overview of our soil resource
  • develop a better understanding of weathering properties and processes

Available versions

There are two versions of the Soil Parent Material Model available.

1:50 000 scale

This licensable, 1:50 000-scale version of the Soil Parent Material Model contains over 30 rock and sediment characteristics built upon the standard BGS Geology 50K geological dataset, adding simplified classifications of lithological properties. The attribute content includes a range of information on:

  • texture
  • colour
  • structure
  • mineralogy
  • lithology
  • carbonate content
  • genetic origin

One kilometre resolution

The free, 1 km-resolution model details six basic parent-material parameters derived from the 1:50 000-scale version.

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