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soil composed of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter in evenly mixed particles of various sizes. More fertile than sandy soils, loam is not stiff and tenacious like clay soils. Its porosity allows high moisture retention and air circulation. The popular confusion of loam with humushumus
, organic matter that has decayed to a relatively stable, amorphous state. It is an important biological constituent of fertile soil. Humus is formed by the decomposing action of soil microorganisms (e.g.
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 is probably due to the superior quality of both soils. According to the preponderance of their ingredients, loams are classified as sandy, clay, or silt loams. Most soils of agricultural importance are some type of loam.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a friable sandy and clayey sedimentary rock containing 10–30 percent (by weight) clay particles smaller than 0.005 mm. In soil science, loam with a higher clay content is called heavy loam, and that with less clay is called light loam. A distinction is made between coarse sandy, fine sandy, and silty loam, depending on the content of (1) sand grains of the corresponding size and (2) silty, or aleurite, particles.

The mineralogical composition of loam is varied: the more sandy loan has a high quartz content, whereas the more clayey type contains clay minerals, such as kaolinite, illite, and montmorillonite. Loam is sometimes rich in organic substances; in arid regions it may be rich in water-soluble salts. The origin of loam is usually continental; the corresponding ocean deposits are called sandy or aleurite clays. Loam is often used as a raw material for the production of brick.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Soil mixture of sand, silt, clay, and humus.
Molding material consisting of sand, silt, and clay used over backup material for producing massive castings, usually of iron or steel.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


In building construction, a mixture composed chiefly of moistened clay, sand, and silt, or some mixture including these ingredients. Once used as a mortar when combined with lime, or used as a plaster with the addition of chopped straw.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. rich soil consisting of a mixture of sand, clay, and decaying organic material
2. a paste of clay and sand used for making moulds in a foundry, plastering walls, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Niall McLoughlin, senior VP-DAMAC Properties said: "We are proud to announce that all the efforts of LOAMS have been compensated with the achievement of ISO certification granted by BSI, and with this prestigious certification, LOAMS joins the handful of certified association management firms in the region to have a Quality Management System."
He added: "ISO certification represents the commitment of LOAMS to provide and sustain quality service, seeking win-win relationships with the board and association.
RMSD for NTh5 was, however, >6% vol for sand and sandy clay loam soil texture classes.
Variable geologie sous-jacente conduit a une variation des types de sol plantes aux vignobles dans chaque AVA ; principalement loam sableux et le loam sablo-argileux dans Texas High Plains, loam limoneux et loam dans Escondido Valley, loam et loam argileux dans Texas Davis Mountains, et loam argileux et loam sableux dans Mesilla Valley.
Eastern moles were approximately eight times more likely to occur at sites with soils classified as either loam or sandy loams than any other soil type.
They added varying amounts of raw peat moss to quartz sand and to clay loam. This treatment increased the AWC of the sand, but had no discernible effect on the clay loam.
2003), a bouldery clay loam with some allophane content, derived from basalt, in Northland, and a coastal sandy soil in Manawatu (Close et al.
In this study, the effect of irrigating such waste (derived from agricultural industries) on soil physical and chemical properties was investigated in an Allophanic Soil (Te Puninga silt loam) and a Gley Soil (Waitoa silt loam).
In comparison, when the Mt Bold loams with predominantly macropore flow were pre-wetted, about the same proportion of the initial drainage was new water (44%; Table 3).
textilis occupying burrows previously made by adult Eastern Striped Skink Ctenotus robustus (see below) beneath stones on loam soil were recorded.
For example, reported threshold soil water contents range from 74% to 83% WFP in sandy and sandy loam soils, from 62% to 83% WFP in loam soils, and from 50% to 74% WFP in clay loam soils (Table 4).