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Phaeozems occur all over the world, but especially on the more moist side of the steppe regions, bordering Chernozems.


Soils having

  • a mollic horizon (deep, brownish or blackish surface horizon with a significant  accumulation of organic matter and high base saturation);
  • a base saturation of 50 percent or more between 25 and 100 cm from the soil surface;
  • a calcium carbonate-free soil matrix at least to a depth of 100 cm from the soil surface, or to a contrasting layer between 25 and 100 cm;
  • no diagnostic horizons other than an albic, argic, cambic or vertic horizon, or a petrocalcic horizon in the substratum.

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Phaeozem with a deep, black mollic horizon abruptly overlying a calcareous substrate, China (Calcari-Pachic Phaeozem)

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Moderately deep clayey Phaeozem overlying limestone at irregular depth, China (Chromi-Luvic Phaeozem; ISRIC reference soil CN 049)