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Cambisols occur mainly in the temperate and boreal regions of the world, where the soil’s parent material is still young or where low temperatures slow down the processes of soil formation.


Soils having either a cambic horizon (a horizon showing evidence of alteration with respect to the underlying material), or a mollic horizon overlying a subsoil, which has a base saturation of less than 50 percent in some part within 100 cm from the soil surface, or one of the following diagnostic horizons within the specified depth:

  • an andic, vertic, or vitric horizon starting between 25 and 100 cm;
  • a (petro-)plinthic or salic horizon starting between 50 and 100 cm, in absence of loamy sand or coarser textures above these horizons.

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Reddish brown silt loam derived from slope wash material, at 65 cm depth overlying a truncated soil in loess deposits, China
(Silti-Chromic Cambisol (Eutric); ISRIC reference soil CN 034)