Soil Site Details: Cryosol

Cryosols are found in the northern regions of the world, including much of northern Canada. They are heavily influenced by permafrost and often mixed during freeze-thaw cycles (also known as cryoturbation). The name Cryosol originated from the Greek word cryo meaning icy cold. These are the only soils that form in temperatures below freezing!

Basic Facts

Soil Order: Cryosol
Ecosystem: Tundra
Climate Zone: Tundra
BC Biogeoclimatic Zone: Tundra, Alpine Tundra

Location: No specific location
City, Region, Country: Northern Canada, Northwest Territories
Lat / Long: 64.05298/ -114.258

Soil Classification

Soil Order: Cryosol
Great Group:
Soil Series:
Classification Code:
Soil Horizons Present: Ah, Bmy, Cz
Diagnostic Horizon 1: Bz
Diagnostic Horizon 2: By
Diagnostic Horizon 3: Cz
Diagnostic Horizon 4: Cy

Land Form

Land Form: Glacial Till
Parent Material: Glacial Till
Elevation (m): 375
Topography: Level
Affected by Glaciation: Yes


Climate Zone: Tundra
Mean Annual Temperature (C): -5
Minimum Annual Temperature (C): -9
Maximum Annual Temperature (C): 0
Mean Annual Precipitation (mm): 280

Land Use

Current Land Use: Tundra
Original Vegetation: Arctic sedges, willows, mosses
Current Vegetation: Tundra or alpine vegetation

Technical Description
Soils in the Cryosolic Order occur in much of the northern third of Canada (north of the tree line) where permafrost remains close to the surface of both mineral and organic deposits. Cryoturbation (the mixing of materials from various horizons of the soil down to the bedrock due to freezing and thawing) is common in these soils. Cryosols are formed in either mineral or organic soils that have permafrost either within 1 m of the surface, or within 2 m if there is strong cryoturbation as indicated by disrupted, mixed or broken horizons. Cryosols have a mean annual temperature below 0C.

PDF with details: No further details

Soil Morphology
Soil Texture of Diagnostic Horizon or Prevailing Texture: Coarse to Medium Texture

Soil texture horizons:
Soil structure horizons:
Forest Humus Form:
Presence of Charcoal:
Presence of Coatings:

Soil Formation Processes
Primary Soil Process Group: Translocation
Primary Soil Process: Movement of material by freeze-thaw
Secondary Soil Process:


Cryosol, from

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