Soil and Environmental Chemistry emphasizes the problem-solving skills students will need when they enter their chosen field.  Combining valuable soil chemistry concepts into the “big picture” by discussing how other soil and environmental factors affect the soil chemical concepts being discussed makes the text relevant to today’s soil science curriculums.

This revised reprint provides edits to formulas, numbers, and text.

Key Features

- Use of computer modeling for water and soil chemistry provides students with the models used by practicing environmental chemists.
- Examples and complex problems with worked solutions included throughout the text.
- Examples based on real data provide exposure to the real problems and data students will face in their careers.


Upper-level undergraduate students studying soil chemistry without an extensive background in calculus and only limited background in physical chemistry.  This includes soil science majors as well as environmental science majors.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Elements: Their Origin and Abundance

1.1 Introduction

1.2 A Brief History of the Solar System and Planet Earth

1.3 The Composition of Earth’s Crust and Soils

1.4 The Abundance of Elements in the Solar System, Earth’s Crust, and Soils

1.5 Elements and Isotopes

1.6 Nuclear Binding Energy

1.7 Enrichment and Depletion during Planetary Formation

1.8 Planetary Accretion

1.9 The Rock Cycle

1.10 Soil Formation

1.11 Concentration Frequency Distributions of the Elements

1.12 Estimating the Most Probable Concentration and Concentration Range Using the Logarithmic Transformation

1.13 Summary

Appendix 1A Factors Governing Nuclear Stability and Isotope Abundance

Appendix 1B Nucleosynthesis

Appendix 1C Thermonuclear Fusion Cycles

Appendix 1D Neutron-Emitting Reactions that Sustain the S-Process

Appendix 1E Random Sequential Dilutions and the Law of Proportionate Effect

Appendix 1F The Estimate of Central Tendency and Variation of a Log-Normal Distribution

Chapter 2. Soil Moisture and Hydrology

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Water Resources and the Hydrologic Cycle

2.3 Water Budgets

2.4 Residence Time and Runoff Ratios

2.5 Groundwater Hydrology

2.6 Vadose Zone Hydrology

2.7 Elementary Solute Transport Models

2.8 Summary

Appendix 2A Soil Moisture Recharge and Loss

Appendix 2B The Water-Holding Capacity of a Soil Profile

Appendix 2C Predicting Capillary Rise

Appendix 2D Symbols and Units in the Derivation of the Retardation Coefficient Model of Solute Transport

Appendix 2E Symbols and Units in the Derivation of the Plate Theory Model of Solute Transport

Appendix 2F Empirical Water Characteristic Function and Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity

Chapter 3. Cla


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Academic Press
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About the author

William Bleam

William Bleam is Professor of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin, USA. His research interests include physical chemistry of soil colloids and sorption processes, chemistry of humic substances, factors controlling biological availability of contaminants to micro-organisms, magnetic resonance and synchrotron studies of adsorption and precipitation. He has taught an intermediate soil chemistry course (Soil Science 321, Soil & Environmental Chemistry) since 2006. Students taking this course include undergraduate and graduate students.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA