World Soil Museum

View of the museum

World Soil Museum

Earth’s living skin

Soils are truly wonderful. They are the major support systems of human life and welfare. They provide anchorage for roots and hold water and nutrients  long enough for plants and micro-organisms to make use of it. In fact, most of the land’s biodiversity lives in the soil, not above ground. Without soils the Earth’s landscape would be as barren as Mars.

Read more about soils and their fascinating diversity

World Soil Museum

In the World Soil Museum of ISRIC, visitors can learn about the role of soils in life and ecosystems and get an impression of the enormous variation of soil types in the world, from the colourful volcanic ash soil from Indonesia to the man-made Terra Preta soil from the Amazon. The museum displays soil monoliths with accompanying data including a full profile description, soil chemical and physical data, and information on the landscape and land-use.


The World Soil Museum can now be visited online.

Today (4th December) a special exhibition on the soils of Africa has been launched in Leuven, Belgium. The exhibition will highlight the great diversity of landscapes and soils of Africa in the context of the environment, society and history.

Today, the opening of the exposition ‘The soil, a walk through life’, which is co-organised by ISRIC, will take place in Madrid. The exposition has been organised in the context of the International Year of the Soils and will be displayed in the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales for six months.

ISRIC has collected four soil monoliths from Surinam to expand the World Soil Reference collection.

A new exhibition has been opened in the World Soil Museum dedicated to the great diversity of soils of Australia. Australian soils have formed on a wide range of rock types and under climatic conditions varying from the wet and dry tropics of Queensland, to the very low rainfall areas of the centre.

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