For use in LRRs R, S, T, and U; for testing in LRRs K and L.
A layer with value of 3 or less and chroma of 1 or less starting at a depth ≤15 cm (6 inches) from the soil surface. At least 70 percent of the visible soil particles must be masked with organic material, viewed through a 10x or 15x hand lens. Observed without a hand lens, the particles appear to be close to 100 percent masked. Directly below this layer, 5 percent or more of the soil volume has value of 3 or less and chroma of 1 or less, and the remainder of the soil volume has value of 4 or more and chroma of 1 or less to a depth of 30 cm (12 inches) or to the spodic horizon, whichever is less.
User Notes: This indicator applies to soils with a very dark gray or black surface or near-surface layer that is less than 10 cm (4 inches) thick and is underlain by a layer in which organic matter has been differentially distributed within the soils by water movement. The mobilization and translocation of organic matter result in splotchy coated and uncoated soil.