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
USGS Unnumbered Series
Soil mechanics and soil physics symbols and nomenclature useful in hydrologic studies