Most soils in the preserve system are residual with a small amount of alluvial soils in the Ohio Brush Creek flood-plain. Residual soils are soils highly developed from the underlying bedrock. Four general soils described by the USDA (1994) occur within the preserve system: Nolin-Gessie, Opequon-Bratton, Shelocta-Berks, and Shelocta-Muse. Brief descriptions of these soils are given here. For more detailed descriptions refer to the soil survey of Adams County (USDA 1994).
Nolin-Gessie - Nolin series consists of deep, well drained, moderately permeable soils on flood-plains and slope ranges 0-3%. Gessie series is similar to Nolin but consists of more sand in the subsoil. Most of this unit is used for cropland or pasture and is threatened by flooding. These soil series cover the smallest amount of land area in the preserve system.
Opequon-Bratton - Opequon series consist of shallow, well drained, moderately permeable or moderately slowly permeable soils on side slopes and shoulder slopes. Slopes range from 8-60%. Bratton series consist of moderately deep, well drained soils on ridgetops and upland shoulder slopes. Slopes range from 2-15%.
Shelocta-Berks and Shelocta-Muse - Berks series consists of moderately deep, well-drained, moderately permeable or moderately rapidly permeable soils on the tops and sides of ridges. These Soils derived from material weathered from siltstone and fine grained sandstone. Slopes range from 15-70%. Muse series consists of deep, well-drained, slowly permeable soils on foot slopes in uplands. These soils are derived from acidic shale and siltstone. Slopes range from 15-50%. Shelocta series consists of deep, well-drained, moderately permeable soils on upland foot slopes and benches. These soils are derived from sandstone, siltstone, and shale. Slopes range from 15-60%. Forest is the dominant community type on this series and is the most common soil series in the preserve system.