Munsell Soil Color Book

Model: HM-519
Price: $298.00

HM-519 Munsell Soil Color Book was developed with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service for classifying the color of the soil. This soil color book can also be used with rocks, archeological specimens, and other natural materials. Munsell Charts are a standard tool used by geologists, civil engineers, and soil scientists.

The tabbed charts include 10R, 7.5R, 5R, 2.5YR, 5YR, 7.5YR, 10YR, 2.5Y, 5Y, and 10Y-5GY color ranges. Charts for tropical and semitropical soils, and for Australia and SE Asia are included. A two-page Gley Chart for submerged soils covers weak chromas and neutrals of blue and green hues. A white page is used to describe carbonate, silica, gypsum, soluble salt participates, and more.

Openings between chips allow easy visual comparison with soil samples. Illustrations of soil grain structures, charts for estimating proportions of mottles and coarse fragments, color name diagrams, and instructions are all included. Color chips are mounted on neutral gray, 7.25x4.25in (184x108mm) water-resistant pages in an 8x6in (203x152mm) loose-leaf binder.


  • Tabbed design helps find information quickly
  • Allows easy visual comparison of soil colors
  • Water-resistant
  • Light-weight

Included Items:

  • Munsell Soil Color Book

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Product Dimensions 6 x 8in (152 x 203mm) WxH
Estimated Shipping Weight 2.0lb (0.91kg)
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Common Questions

How do I use the Munsell Soil Color Chart?

Using the Munsell Soil Book of Color is simple. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service explains that the soil sample is placed next to the color chips within the soil chart and visually compared to determine the corresponding notation based on three color attributes: Hue, Value, and Chroma (HVC).

What are Munsell colors?

Munsell Colors, also known as Munsell Color Notations, are variations of a standard color identified by three attributes (or dimensions): Hue (the color), Value (the lightness or darkness of the color), and Chroma (the weakness/neutrality or strength/vibrancy of the color). The Munsell system notates colors through a numerical scale. Munsell colors are utilized in a wide variety of industries and applications which rely upon color as an indicator of quality or uniformity of a product, indicate compliance with industry standards or government regulations, etc.

In soil, Munsell colors provide a visual analysis to help understand the composition of the soil, its potential for a specific use of the land; e.g., for building or drainage, etc.

What does soil color indicate?

According to the Munsell website, “Soil color indicates the makeup of the soil within a given geographic area, which can influence the land’s fitness for use …” 

What are common soil colors and what do they tell us about soil?

Munsell’s standard color hues for soil include Red (R), Yellow-Red (YR), Yellow (Y), and Green-Yellow (GY). Gley charts encompass “greenish or bluish” gray colors. The color of soil tells civil engineers, land planners, agronomists, scientists, and other professionals about the soil’s composition; e.g., the presence or lack of minerals, water, nutrients, etc. This helps them determine if the soil is suitable for their specific use.

Is the Munsell Soil Color Chart citation a complete reference guide?

There are 450 standard color chips charted in the comprehensive Soil Color Book and they are representative specifically of soils, with additional information relevant to soil color.

What is included in the Color Book?

The book comes in an 8x6in easy to carry ring binder with tabbed Munsell Soil Color Chart pages and color chips, comparative charts and diagrams, and basic information on determining soil color. In addition to the Munsell Soil Color Chart 10YR and 10R, the following soil color charts are included:

  • 2.5Y and 2.5YR
  • 5R, 5Y, and 5YR
  • 7.5R and 7.5YR
  • 10Y to 5GY colors (olive greens)
  • Gley 1 and Gley 2 Soil Charts
  • White Page (white/light-color hues and chromas)

Is there a Munsell Soil Color Chart PDF file to download or an online version?

There is no PDF version of the Soil Color Chart for downloading, nor is there a soil color chart online.

Can I buy Munsell Soil Color Chart Replacement Pages?

Replacement pages are not available. However, Munsell recommends replacing the soil color book every 2 years when using it in compliance with industry standards, and every 2 to 4 years for general use.

Product Dimensions 6 x 8in (152 x 203mm) WxH
Estimated Shipping Weight 2.0lb (0.91kg)
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