Distribution characteristics of black soil resources basically identified in NE China

Chinese geologists have basically identified the distribution characteristics of black soil resources in Northeast China and obtained a large number of data through the surface substrate survey launched this year.

The black soil, or chernozem soil, found in China's northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning and in some parts of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north, produces about a quarter of the country's total grain output, making it crucial to China's food supply.

The black soil in Northeast China. /CMG
The black soil in Northeast China. /CMG

The black soil in Northeast China. /CMG

To systematically understand the distribution, structure, quality and utilization of black soils, the country launched a survey covering 411,000 square kilometers of land in 83 counties of northeastern China.

Up to now, the survey teams have completed 237,600 square kilometers of survey in 46 counties, and identified 132,000 square kilometers of black soil distribution areas, of which about 65 percent is cultivated land.

Of the surveyed, the black soil thickness ranges from 20 to 400 centimeters, and averages 50.63 centimeters.

The typical black soils with greater thickness and continuous distribution are mainly in the areas west of the Lesser Hinggan-Changbai Mountains line and north of Wanda Mountain, with an altitude ranging from 250 to 330 meters.

Various black soil samples. /CMG
Various black soil samples. /CMG

Various black soil samples. /CMG

"First, we systematically identified the structural characteristics and the genetic characteristics of physical and chemical properties of the surface substrate layer in the black soil distribution area, so as to have a systematic understanding of the formation of the black soil layer. Second, we have obtained a large amount of data. For example, we found underground soil layers several meters thick with very high organic carbon content, which can be used as mineral materials for future black soil restoration," said Hao Aibing, an official with the China Geological Survey.

The surface substrate is the fundamental material that nurtures and supports various natural resources such as forests, grasslands, water and wetlands on the surface of the earth.

Influenced by geological, natural and human activities, the surface substrate at different depth levels has different functions of production and ecological service values.

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