Doctoral Dissertations


"A surficial materials classification system has been designed to fit the needs of a geologist in mapping and classifying surficial materials. The system developed in this study is intended primarily for analysis of surficial materials where time-stratigraphic markers are not applicable or recognized. Primary classification is based on fabric and mode of origin supplemented by data on engineering and pedologic properties.

Several types of classification systems presently exist for use in soil investigations. Only three of these systems have found widespread acceptance, two serving the engineering profession and the other the needs of the soil scientist. These systems are not intended for, and do not directly assist, geologic studies of surficial materials. The restricted nature of these existing classification systems has left the geologic profession without a standardized system for study of one of the most widespread materials on the earth, surficial materials.

The classification system proposed in this study has been tested successfully in several portions of southern Missouri. Surficial materials in the test areas include loess, colluvium, alluvium, and residuum. The residuum is derived from sandstone, shale, dolomite, and limestone.

Surficial materials are grouped into categories according to particle size, shape, and percentage of occurrence. The categories are separated into units according to engineering and pedologic properties modified by mode of occurrence and fabric of the deposit. The surficial material unit is the basic unit for field mapping.

The surficial material units have been designed so as to include eight different types of surficial material that can be found within any one of nine different surficial material categories.

Land use applications are illustrated according to degrees of expected site operations severity relative to surficial material and parent material properties. While the judgement as to the degree of severity may vary, the procedure used in this study permits weighing the effects of both parent materials and surficial materials on the proposed land use"--Abstract, pages ii-iii.


Maxwell, James C.

Committee Member(s)

Rockaway, John D.
Schmidt, Norbert O., 1925-2009
Spreng, Alfred C., 1923-2012


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Geology


Four plates which are folded in the back pocket of the manuscript are included here as supplemental files as well as at the end of the pdf.

Two maps are also included as supplemental material.


University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date



xv, 313 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 145-157).


© 1975 James Hadley Williams, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 3053

Print OCLC #


Electronic OCLC #


Williams_James_1975_Plate_1.tif (362402 kB)
Surficial materials map of the Rolla Quadrangle, Phelps County, Missouri

Williams_James_1975_Plate_2.tif (365287 kB)
Surficial materials map of the Cuba Quadrangle, Crawford County, Missouri

Williams_James_1975_Plate_3.tif (360963 kB)
Surficial materials map of the Brookline Quadrangle, Greene County, Missouri

Williams_James_1975_Plate_4.tif (362402 kB)
Surficial materials map of the Cape Girardeau Quadrangle, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

Missouri_Geological_Survey_Index_Map_1972.tif (192644 kB)
Vienna_Quadrangle_Topographical_Map.tif (376551 kB)

Included in

Geology Commons