The SSSA Soil Mineralogy Division focuses on the solid inorganic phases controlling the physico-chemical processes in soils and sediments. To help solve problems related to agriculture, the environment, and the engineering usage of soils and sediments, we 1) identify and quantify the amounts of individual soil mineral phases that occur and measure their distribution; 2) characterize the bulk and surface structures of natural and synthetic soil minerals as well as the physical and chemical properties associated with these structures; 3) determine the types, mechanisms and rates of mineral transformations in soils and sediments; and 4) assess the nature and impact of the interactions of mineral phases with other soil components.

This focus leads to better management and utilization of the soil resource for agricultural, environemental, and engineering applications.



Dixon Award Recipient

Joe B. and Martha Dixon Soil Mineralogy Awards

Graduate Student Awards Honor Dr. Joe B. Dixon - To honor Dr. Joe Dixon and his contributions to the discipline of soil mineralogy and his distinguished career, Division S-9 of the Soil Science Society of America has established the Joe B. and Martha J. Dixon Soil Mineralogy Endowment. The fund supports two competitive graduate student awards on topics central to soil mineralogy at the SSSA Annual Meeting.

The first award will recognize the best Soil Mineralogy Division graduate student presentation at the Annual Meetings. All graduate students presenting an oral or poster paper in the Soil Mineralogy Division are eligible for the $500 award. Selection will be based on quality of presentation and contribution of research to advancing the state of knowledge of soil mineralogy.

The second award will be a $500 travel grant to a student from a developing country, with preference to Mexico, and South and Central America. Dr. Dixon has taught short courses in Mexico for several years, and believes we should provide opportunities to students participating and contributing to our meetings. Selection for the travel award will be based primarily on need. To receive a Student Travel Grant, applicants are requested to present an oral or poster paper in the Soil Mineralogy Division at the Annual Meetings.

  • Applicant must be a current member of SSSA and must have selected the SSSA Mineralogy Division as one area of choice
  • Applicant must be first author presenting an oral or poster paper
  • Applicant must pay his/her own pre-registration fee. The student receiving a travel grant can be reimbursed for the pre-registration fee from the award
  • Applicant who receives a travel grant will be notified within about one month of the deadline for receipt of applications
  • Travel grant award will be presented after the meetings
  • Previous student travel grant recipients are ineligible for further awards

To apply for the travel grant, download the PDF application and attach a copy of your abstract and a statement of financial need or other circumstances that will help the committee make a decision on awarding the Student Travel Grant. Grant Application


Joe B. and Martha Dixon Soil Mineralogy
Best Presentation Award

Roberta J. McClure is a student at Texas A&M University pursuing a Master of Science degree in Geology. Roberta earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from Texas A&M in 2005. Following her bachelor’s degree, Roberta went on to work for J. Connor Consulting, Inc., a firm specializing in regulatory control of oil and gas exploration and production. At J. Connor, Roberta provided permitting support to independent oil and gas operators for drilling and production in Louisiana and Texas. In 2008, Roberta began to pursue her Master’s degree in geology, with an emphasis on low-temperature geochemistry and soil mineralogy. During this time, she participated in various research projects. These include a soil salinity study at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Rio Hondo, TX. She also participated in lesson planning and workshop development for the Professional Learning Community Model for Entry into Teaching Science, a program designed to integrate inquiry-style lessons in middle school science classrooms. Her current research project is a study of the mineralogy and geochemistry of Pb, Zn and Ag mine tailings in Zimapan, Mexico, originating from carbonate-rich deposits.

Joe B. and Martha Dixon Soil Mineralogy
Travel Grant

Ana L. Barrientos Velazquez received her BS degree in Environmental Engineer from the Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico in 2005. In the same year, she accepted an opportunity to work with Dr. Dixon as a research assistant in his current research project on adsorption of aflatoxin by bentonite clays and started her graduate study for Master of Science degree in Soil Science in 2008. She is currently finishing her thesis and will continue under the advising of Dr. Joe Dixon and Dr. Youjun Deng to pursue a PhD degree in the Soil & Crop Science Department of Texas A&M University. Her research is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of bentonites as aflatoxin adsorbents in animal feed to prevent harmful effects of the mycotoxin. Her mineralogy research emphasis is on identifying the critical characteristics of bentonite clays that influence their adsorption capacity for this mycotoxin.

Contributions to the Dixon endowment can be made through the Agronomic Science Foundation (ASF). Those wishing to contribute can do so by contacting at ASF. Also, ways of contributing are specified on the ASF website |

View the Soil Mineralogy Division Officers

Donate to Soil Mineralogy !

We welcome donations to the Soil Mineralogy Division enhancement funds. These funds are used to enhance division activities during the Annual Meeting. Thank you for your support!

To donate to your division use the link below.

Soil Mineralogy

If you represent a company that would like to be a sponsor, please contact Eric Welsh (

Mineralogy Links

Verdesian: the Nutrient Use Efficiency People

Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition