Can you dig it? Kansas researchers can — now that an old 1970’s large-scale soil coring rig has been repaired and customized.

Kansas NSF EPSCoR funded the repairs so that researchers from Fort Hayes State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, University of Kansas, and Wichita State University can use the machine for soil science experiments.

The powerful machine can pry up huge vertical columns of soil that are 12 inches wide by 1 meter deep. These “soil monoliths,” as they are called by the researchers, remain intact after being pulled from the ground. This allows scientists to study the makeup of the soil from as shallow as a tootsie roll to as deep as a kitchen countertop.

The team has collected intact soil monoliths at various locations across Kansas, including prairies and farmlands, in areas with widely different rainfalls. By studying these different soil types, scientists hope to reveal how the organisms and nutrients in the soil are affected by land use and rainfall.

There are at least 4 professors, 5 graduate students, and 4 undergraduates working on the monolith soil experiment.

What is Kansas NSF EPSCoR? So much more than an acronym!

With funding from the National Science Foundation, we support research and education initiatives that make a difference in Kansas and the world. Here’s how.