Saturday, January 21, 2012
The origin of the catena concept
The catena concept in soil science comes from the Latin word “catena” which means chain. So it is a chain of soils linked by topography. It also refers to a sequence of soils in different positions in the landscape. It was introduced to the scientific literature by Geoffrey Milne (1898-1942) in a paper entitled “Some suggested units of classification and mapping particularly for East African soils” published in Soil Research-Bodenkundliche Forschung, Supplement to the Proceedings of the International Union of Soil Science Vol. IV No. 3 (1935), pp: 183-198. He noted “the regular repetition of a certain sequence of soil profiles in association with topography” in East Africa which was also observed earlier (in 1911 and 1912) by the German Peter Vageler. Milne wrote that "a distinctive word is needed in referring to this phenomenon" hence, he proposed the word catena.