Investigations into soil composition and texture using infrared spectroscopy (2-14 m)

Robert D. Hewson*, Thomas J. Cudahy, Malcolm Jones, Matilda Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of thermal and shortwave infrared spectroscopy to characterise composition and texture was evaluated using both particle size separated soil samples and natural soils. Particle size analysis and separation into clay, silt, and sand-sized soil fractions was undertaken to examine possible relationships between quartz and clay mineral spectral signatures and soil texture. Spectral indices, based on thermal infrared specular and volume scattering features, were found to discriminate clay mineral-rich soil from mostly coarser quartz-rich sandy soil and to a lesser extent from the silty quartz-rich soil. Further investigations were undertaken using spectra and information on 51 USDA and other soils within the ASTER spectral library to test the application of shortwave, mid- and thermal infrared spectral indices for the derivation of clay mineral, quartz, and organic carbon content. A nonlinear correlation between quartz content and a TIR spectral index based on the 8.62 m was observed. Preliminary efforts at deriving a spectral index for the soil organic carbon content, based on 3.4-3.5 m fundamental H-C stretching vibration bands, were also undertaken with limited results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number535646
Number of pages12
JournalApplied and Environmental Soil Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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