Penistaja -- New Mexico State Soil

Photograph of gently sloping landscape of brush and grass rangeland  in the foreground and
    mountains in the background.

Photograph of the profile of a typifying pedon of Penistaja soil series.

Penistaja Soil Profile

Surface layer: brown fine sandy loam
Subsoil: strong brown sandy clay loam
Substratum: reddish yellow sandy loam
Penistaja soils are extensive in New Mexico, where they have an extent of more than 1 million acres. They are very productive rangeland soils and are excellent for livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, and recreation. The Penistaja series was named after a small farming and stock-raising community in northwest New Mexico. “Penistaja” is a Navajo name meaning “forced to sit.” Penistaja soils occur in a beautiful Southwest setting of sandstone mesas, snow-capped mountains, and desert grasslands.

Penistaja soils formed in mixed alluvium and eolian material derived from sandstone and shale. The mean annual precipitation is about 12 inches, and the mean annual soil temperature is about 51 degrees F.

Small scale map of New Mexico showing the distribution of Penistaja soil series.

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