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the interflow is the next zone to be defined. generally, it contains less water than the surficial bulked subzone but more than the upper permafrost layer. as a result, runoff from rainfall first reaches this zone and is then held there for sufficient time (or for sufficient distance) to allow air drying to occur. the properties of the soil of this zone are related to infiltration and sublayer. in natural situations, drying above the interflow can be limited either by the length of time that it takes for water to drain away from the subsurface or by the length of time it takes for a conduit with greater soil permeability to form. as a result, the soil is non-turbulent in conditions that favor infiltration. turbidity indicates that the soil is turbulent. turbidity is the result of turbulence in the water at the surface or the result of the turbulence of air when it affects the subsurface. weathering or exposure to soil water may cause slow seepage of infiltrated water over a long distance.
the upper permafrost layer (ponded zone) is a relatively cold and air-dry zone. it lies under the upper permafrost below the water table and above the interflow. this zone is classified with thermal properties. in general, the degree of freeze stability and permafrost depth are determined. air temperature and soil temperature are estimated. soil thermal conductivity (heat flow or heat conduction) is estimated. these estimates are related to infiltration and moisture retention in the soil.
the topography can influence the zone boundaries and soil properties. in natural soils the topography controls many of the physical and chemical features of these zones. the topography controls the groundwater flow path. changes in climate, land use, and time can alter the topography.
in the united states, the term horizontal plane is used to refer to the water level (1 m or 6 in. underground). in canada, it is used more generally to refer to the natural or formal earth boundary surface. in england, the term horizontal plane is used to refer to water level (1 m or 6 in.
the term flats refers to the natural or formal earth boundary surfaces that are horizontal or almost horizontal. the term is often used to refer to river floodplains or to the surface of former lakebeds or marshes. the soil surface in river deltas forms a horizontal plane when measured perpendicular to any point on the river at the water level. often these plains have a ripple pattern that may be apparent to the eye.
direct examination of soils and soil structure (with the aid of a wet screen) yields a data source commonly used to determine pedons. such a screen can be a simple mesh screen or an equivalent of the plate, trowel, and split-sieve. the data source is inspected for clues that permit determination of the topographical position and depth of a pedon face. it is often possible to determine how fine the structure of the material is. if the material consists of a loose mosaic of microaggregates with a structure similar to the soil (fig. 3-29), a strong structure-building agent is present (e.g., a lignin-enriched horizon in a loess). however, if the structure appears to be similar to the soil, but is more regular, it may indicate that the soil is composed of a friable or coherent, well-sorted, subangular (diagonal) material.