ANALYSIS OF UNCONSOLIDATED MATERIALS (SOILS)
In this lesson you will learn to classify soils based on the Unified Soils Classification System (USCS) and to
identity unknown soils using simple field procedures.
TERMINAL LEARNING OBJECTIVE
Identify the composition, characteristics, and classification of soils and be able to identify the
USCS types of various soil samples.
You will be given information on the classification and identification of soils.
Demonstrate the ability to interpret information and identify soils according to FMs 5-33, 5-
545, and 5-410, and TM 5-330.
The material contained in this lesson was derived from the following publications: FMs 5-33,
5-545, and 5-410, and TM 5-330.
Unconsolidated materials, or soils, are the heterogeneous accumulation of disintegrated or decomposed rock and
decayed organic matter. In some areas, these accumulations may be entirely absent, while in others they may be
hundreds of feet thick. The characterization, classification, and identification of unconsolidated materials is
important to military engineers for several reasons. An understanding of the composition, properties, and
geographic distribution of various soil types is imperative in-
Assessing the location, quality, and quantity of unconsolidated construction resources.
Determining the feasibility of their use in the construction of roads and airfields.
Rating the suitability of a site for construction of buildings and underground installations.
Estimating the ease of excavation of shallow defensive positions as well as obstacles and barriers.
Predicting trafficability through specific areas.