How to dig a perfectly square hole at the HJ Andrews experimental forest

Ever wanted to see how perfectly square a cube you could dig? Well neither have I! But it turns out perfectly square holes are ideal for ecosystem-level carbon accounting.

Image credit: AdrianCGallo

Be patient … content still being written

Some Background

A few summers back I was on a campaign to dig 10 quantitative soil pits across the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest to better understand one of the longest studied watersheds in the world. Surprisingly, not many soil scientists had tried to map out the watershed, and it turns out if you care about water, tree productivity, salamander habitat, and basically anything else on soils (i.e. everything) it helps to know what soil is beneath your feet!


  1. Find a spot
  2. Tape it out
  3. Dig a hole … carefully
  4. Measure everything that come out of the hole
  5. Record all that lovely data
  6. Take photos & samples
  7. Have lunch
  8. Put everything back where it was before

I have many cool photos to come!

Adrian C. Gallo
Adrian C. Gallo
Graduate Research Assistant,
Instructor, He/Him

I’m trained as a terrestrial carbon biogeochemist (aka I know a lot about dirt). As a future career I’m currently exploring science communication and climate change policy through an environmental justice framework. When not science-ing you can find me running, mountain biking, or playing soccer.