Soil mechanics and soil physics symbols and nomenclature useful in hydrologic studies

Open-File Report




The study of hydrology requires an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating knowledge from fields such as engineering, geology, chemistry, and agriculture. With increasing frequency, the hydrologist finds it necessary to study the literature of the soil mechanics and soil physics disciplines for assistance in the solution of hydrologic problems. Because of the inter-relation between hydrology and soil mechanics and soil physics, hydrologists also are preparing an increasing number of technical papers ·for use by these two disciplines. To permit the hydrologist to better understand specialized literature, as well as to assist him in preparing papers for these disciplines, this glossary of soil mechanics and soil physics nomenclature was prepared. It is a compilation from standards, dictionaries, and glossaries published by technical societies, and from reports by selected authorities in the fields of soil mechanics and soil physics. The variety of symbols and definitions presented for many of the terms demonstrates the difficulty that has been encountered over the years in reaching agreement on such a subject as nomenclature. Both old and new definitions and symbols are presented to assist the hydrologist in reading literature. Whenever possible the more recent symbols and nomenclature should be used by the hydrologist in writing papers for soil mechanics or soil physics audiences. When the hydrologist finds it necessary to use symbols or terms not included in the present list, he should try to select those not in conflict with the recent systems presented in this report. Symbols are listed in alphabetical order to assist readers in finding the term represented by a given symbol. Terms also are listed alphabetically, usually followed by recommended symbols and brief definitions. Where two or more symbols or definitions are listed following a term, no significance should be placed on the order of presentation. The source is indicated for each symbol, term, or definition, and the sources are listed in the cited references. It is emphasized that this report is only a compilation of nomenclature generally accepted in the soil mechanics apd soil physics disciplines. It does not necessarily represent the recommendations or usage of such nomenclature by the Geological Survey or any part of its organization.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Unnumbered Series
Soil mechanics and soil physics symbols and nomenclature useful in hydrologic studies
Series title:
Open-File Report
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Denver, CO
50 p.