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Chernozemic soil
Chernozem Image
Chernozem field in Black Dirt Region of Orange County, New York, United States
Used in: WRB, other
WRB code: CH
Profile: AhBC
Parent material: Loess
Climate: Humid continental[citation needed]

Chernozem (from Russian: чернозём, tr. chernozyom; IPA: [tɕɪrnɐˈzʲɵm] or Ukrainian: чорнозем, translated as "black soil, dirt or earth") is a black-coloured soil containing a high percentage of humus[1] (7% to 15%), and high percentages of phosphoric acids, phosphorus and ammonia.[citation needed] Chernozem is very fertile and produces a high agricultural yield.


Global distribution

There are two "Chernozem belts" in the world: from eastern Croatia (Slavonia), along the Danube (northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria (Danubian Plain), southern Romania (Wallachian Plain) and Moldova) to northeast Ukraine across the Black Earth Region and southern Russia into Siberia, and the other in the Canadian Prairies in Manitoba. Similar soil types occur in Texas and Hungary. Chernozem layer thickness may vary widely, from several inches up to 60 inches (1.5 metres) in Ukraine.[2]

The terrain can also be found in small quantities elsewhere (for example, on 1% of Polish territory). It also exists in Northeast China, near Harbin. The only true chernozem in Australia is located around Nimmitabel producing some of the richest soils in the nation.[3]

The sale of agricultural land has been illegal in Ukraine since 1992; despite this, there is a black market for chernozem soil, sold in trucks, with approximately $900 million in annual sale.[4]

Canadian and United Nations soil classification

Chernozemic soils are a soil type in the Canadian system of soil classification and the United Nations' FAO soil classification.

Chernozemic soil type equivalents, in Canadian, FAO, and USA soil taxonomy
Canadian FAO United States
Chernozemic Kastanozem, Chernozem, Greyzem, Phaeozem Borolls
Brown Chernozem Kastanozem (aridic) Aridic Boroll subgroups
Dark Brown Chernozem Kastanozem (Haplic) Typic Boroll subgroups
Black Chernozem Chernozem Udic Boroll subgroups
Dark Grey Chernozem Greyzem Boralfic Boroll subgroups, Albolls


Theories of chernozem origin:

  • 1763 — Mikhail Lomonosov: "And so, there is no doubt that black soil is not primordial matter, but that it has been produced by the decomposition of animal and plant bodies over time".[5]
  • 1799 — Peter Simon Pallas (reeds marsh)
  • 1840 — Sir Roderick Murchison — (Sea. Jurassic clay)
  • 1850 — Karl Eichwald (peat)
  • 1851 — А. Petzgold (Swamps)
  • 1852 — Nikifor Borisyak (peat)
  • 1853 — Vangengeim von Qualen (silt from northern swamps)
  • 1862 — Rudolf Ludwig (Bog on place of forests)
  • 1879 — First chernozem papers translated from Russian[6]
  • 1883 — Vasily Dokuchaev published book "Russian Chernozem" with complete study of this soil in European part of Russia.[7]

See also


  1. "chernozem". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ukraine: Soils in Encyclopedia Britannica
  3. KG McQueen "The Tertiary Geology And Geomorphology Of The Monaro: The Perspective In 1994" [1] Centre For Australian Regolith Studies, Canberra 1994
  4. Black market for black earth, Kyiv Post (9 November 2011)
  5. Lomonosov M. V. § 125. // On the strata of the Earth: a translation of “O sloiakh zemnykh” (1763) / translated by S. M. Rowland, S. Korolev. Boulder: Geological Soc. of America, 2012. 41 p. (Special paper; 485)
  6. Dokoutchaief B. Tchernozème (terre noire) de la Russie d'Europe. St.-Ptb.: Soc. Imp. libre économ., 1879. 66 p. (Comptes-rendus Soc. Imp. libre économ. T. 4).
  7. Dokuchaev V. V. Russian Chernozem (1883) // Israel Program for Scientific Translations Ltd. (for USDA-NSF), S. Monson, Jerusalem, 1967. (Translated from Russian into English by N. Kaner)

External links

The dictionary definition of chernozem at Wiktionary