Soil Parent Material


A parent material is a soil-science name for a weathered rock or deposit from, and within which a soil has formed.


In the UK, parent materials provide the basic foundations and building blocks of the soil, influencing their texture, structure, drainage and chemistry.


Soils are the result of weathering processes that occur on the Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets the geosphere and hydrosphere. We live in this ‘critical zone’ relying on our soils to grow our food and sustain the biodiversity and health of our environment.

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The Soil Parent Material Model details the distribution of physiochemical properties of the weathered and unweathered parent materials of the UK to:


The data provided here is the 1:50 000 scale, version containing over 30 rock and sediment characteristics built upon the standard DiGMapGB-50 geological dataset, adding simplified classifications of lithological properties. The attribute content includes a range of texture information, colour, structure, mineralogy, lithology, carbonate content and genetic origin.

The data is in Shapefile format and contains Esri Layer files for 8 different parameters. EDINA have divided the data into the same tiles as the 1:50 000 scale geology data for ease of use.

More details can be found in the User Guide provided with the data.

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