johnw at mac.com
Fri Mar 14 00:39:34 UTC 2014
+1 for dirt. There is a distinct difference between a dirt and gravel roads, as well as sand.
In the US, dirt roads - especially fire and forestry roads - are maintained for private and emergency access. Most of these roads are maintained by grading, but are not surfaced with gravel in any way.
The ground may technically be a mixture of naturally occurring rocks and clay, dirt and decomposed granite. but If you asked people to name it, would be called dirt.
"Dirt road" is also a colloquial definition for these types of roads, so maybe I'm biased. "soil road" sounds bizarre, and ground road is just plain bad English. But all the other roads (gravel, cobblestone, asphalt, concrete, paved, etc) sound normal.
Dirt turns into mud with rain, so unless you are talking about a road through a marsh, one would expect a dirt road to be somewhat muddy when it rains.
because of the lack of rain, there are thousands and thousands of true dirt roads in drier climates.
Wetter climates often gravel the road until it sinks into the mud and they add more - a gravel road.
A true "mud" road would have to be mud most of the year, regardless of weather. sounds like a grade 5 track too.
"roads" in the desert are often in wadis, so they are truly sand roads.
There are gravel roads. and there are certainly sand roads. but there are also a lot of dirt roads as well.
- Ground is something you walk over, dig unto, or fly over = the surface. Moles live underground, not underdirt or undersoil.
- Soil is what you put in pots for planting flowers - prepared mixture of dirt, fertilizer, and ingredients for gardening/farming use = AKA "Potting soil" - not "potting dirt" or "potting ground"
On Mar 14, 2014, at 4:57 AM, Fernando Trebien <fernando.trebien at gmail.com> wrote:
> - "earth" is a close synonym of "soil" (though it's not exactly the same thing)
> - "ground" could refer to: soil/earth (no vegetation), soil/earth +
> vegetation (say, grass)
> - "dirt" could refer to: soil/earth, clay, sand, arguably gravel (it
> may not be correct but it may be a good idea to clarify this in the
> So earth, grass, clay, sand, and gravel, are much more specific than
> ground and dirt, both of which are just slightly more specific than
> Could "dirt" involve "mud"?
> Could "ground" involve "rock"? (Similar, but likely flatter, than
> this: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/bare_rock)
> On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM, Murry McEntire
> <murry.mcentire at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM, Fernando Trebien
>> <fernando.trebien at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> It seems that:
>>> - if a surface can be grass or paved, asphalt, concrete,
>>> paving_stones, etc., then it seems the only reason to state "the
>>> surface consists of ground" is if it's unpaved and without vegetation,
>>> - the American usage of "dirt" (as in "your car will get dirty") is a
>>> broad description for 3 more specific values: earth, gravel and
>>> compacted (different from loose gravel or soil)
>> Ground has multiple meanings some of which are very broad. When speaking of
>> "I walk the ground", "breaking ground" (as in construction or farming),
>> "above ground", or "below ground"; it would seem to fit the Oxford
>> definition of: the solid surface of the earth (world). The dictionary also
>> gives a definition of ground as a generic term to be qualified, such as
>> "marshy ground". (And to muddle things, when you think it might mean a
>> natural surface - the Oxford gives the (British) definition of "the floor of
>> a room".)
>> Upon seeing surface=ground for a road, my first reaction is to wonder what
>> is meant by that? Upon pondering, it is a land surface of the world that is
>> not raised or improved but may be worn and could be almost any natural
>> surface which may include ruts through vegetation.
>> Of course I could ponder more and give another dozen definitions; many
>> "Ground" is a poor term because it has so many similar, but still different
>> meanings (very ambiguous) when used to describe a surface; with its most
>> common meaning being very general and not describing the material of the
>> As to American usage of "dirt", the example is poor -- if you stick with the
>> noun, not the related adjective, saying "your pants have dirt on them" would
>> likely be interpreted as loam, clay, soil, or the like; not gravel. To me, a
>> "dirt road" is most often a natural soil (clay, loam, sand, etc.). It may be
>> compacted or graded. I would refer to a road surfaced with gravel as a
>> "gravel road".
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> Fernando Trebien
> +55 (51) 9962-5409
> "The speed of computer chips doubles every 18 months." (Moore's law)
> "The speed of software halves every 18 months." (Gates' law)
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