In german I would say "quellig". That means the ground is highly influenced by spring water. There is also a characteristic vegetation at places like this. In english, is there a word for this type of soil - in geological sense?


1 Answer 1


According to several glossaries of geological terms, the area around a spring may be called the "discharge area"; from the Portage, WI county groundwater glossary, for example:

DISCHARGE AREA: An area where groundwater emerges at the surface; an area where upward pressure or hydraulic head moves groundwater towards the surface to escape as a spring, seep, or baseflow of a stream.

Alternatively, a German horticultural society (Floristisch-soziologischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft e.V. ("FlorSoz")) has a bilinguial page on the topic of swamp forest (boreal mire) vegetation in Scania, and they translate "quellig" as "seepage horizon", which also makes sense:

Während der Vegetationsperiode 1988 wurden die Erlenbruchwälder der südschwedischen Provinz Malmöhus Län (Schonen) pflanzensoziologisch untersucht. Um die Standorte genauer zu charakterisieren, wurden darüberhinaus exemplarisch Böden untersucht und pH-Wert-Messungen vorgenommen. Die Erlenruchwälder der Provinz lassen sich dem Carici elongatae-Alnetum zuordnen. Die Gesellschaft gliedert sich in drei Subassoziationen: Das Carici elongatae-Alnetum betuletosum wächst vor allem im Gebiet der nährstoffarmen Urgesteinsmoräne. Das Carici elongatae-Alnetum iridetosum findet man dagegen hauptsächlich in der südschonischen Hügellandschaft mit ihren nährstoff- und kalkreichen Böden. Auf Standorten mit stärker bewegtem, oft quellig hervortretendem Grundwasser stellt sich das Carici elongatae-Alnetum cardaminetosum ein. Die Erlenbruchwälder stocken i.a. auf organischen Nassböden (Niedermoor, Anmoor), die regelmäßig vom Grundwasser überstaut werden.

Black-alder swamp forest vegetation was studied phytosociologically at 117 sites in the province of Malmöhus Län (Skane) during the 1988 growing season. Soils were also studied and pH measurements were made. The forest vegetation shows a high affinity to the central European black-alder swamps, especially those of northern Germany. The plant community (Carici elongatae-Alnetum) occurs in the wettest meso-and eutrophic forest habitats, mostly on peat soil, where a permanently high groundwater table favors a hydrophilous vegetation. Three subassociations were found: 1. Carici elongatae-Alnetum betuletosum mostly restricted to the mesotrophic area of the gneiss moraine in central and northern Skäne; 2. C.-Alnetum iridetosum concentrated in the eutrophic lake district in southern Skine; and 3. C.-Alnetum cardaminetosum on sites with seepage horizons and a stronger flow of groundwater.

  • I found this "spring brook" at the EUNIS habitate classification (eunis.eea.europa.eu/habitats-names-result.jsp). So "spring brook edges" comes closest too the word I'am looking for...
    – parallax
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:23
  • In English, "brook" means "small river or stream", a "spring brook" would be understood to be a small stream whose source was a spring. The "edges" of a brook (stream, river, etc) are usually called its "banks". Your link doesn't work for me, but if you've got what you're looking for, I suggest you add it as a separate answer, and then accept it (so the next person searching for translations of "quellig" will find it).
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:25
  • @patrick_22726, Because, as I said above, "spring brook" would probably be understood to mean a stream (i.e. a flow of water), I'd suggest you use the other classification for "spring brook" given on that EUNIS page, "spring mire" (from the Palaearctic Habitat Classification 200112).
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:30
  • @ Dan Brown: how do you think about "seepage area next creek bank" ?
    – parallax
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:40
  • The banks, per se, do not have seepage areas (the banks are earth, not water, so they cannot seep); you could say "the creek's seepage area", or "the creek's banks", or "the seepage area which forms on the creek's banks" (if the seepage area is actually on the banks of the creek, not further than that).
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:42

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