The banks of the rivers in Panama City, Florida are home to a variety of soils. The most common type is the Lagarto clay loam, which is found in the Atlantic slope east of Cuipo on Lake Gatún. This soil is characterized by its dark color and is often found in grassland areas. Additionally, Liard gravel and paving stones are also present in the area.
Multisols are also found in the region, which are soils that have been formed by a combination of different soil types. These soils are usually found in areas that have been heavily impacted by human activity, such as forests that have been cleared for agricultural use. The oldest record of a canal that crossed the Isthmus of Panama dates back to 1534, when Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and king of Spain, ordered a study of a route through the Americas in order to facilitate the travel of ships traveling between Spain and Peru. In 1903, Philippe Bunau-Varilla signed the Hay—Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which gave the United States the rights to build and administer the Panama Canal Zone and its defenses indefinitely. In order to construct the canal, a minimum labor force of a few thousand people was employed.
This included building and rebuilding homes, cafeterias, hotels, water systems, repair shops, warehouses and other infrastructure needed by the thousands of incoming workers. The canal was built using rock dikes to limit the river to a single low-sea channel and reduce excessive widths. The Mississippi Delta is an alluvial valley that extends from southern Illinois to central Louisiana at the junction of the Red, Atchafalaya and Mississippi rivers. In 1882, just three years after the Mississippi River Commission was established, a disastrous flood literally destroyed existing dam systems. To prevent further flooding, President Stevens built a series of dams along the river. The Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964 and contains 3,747 acres along the Mississippi River in Missouri.
This refuge serves as another link in the chain of shelters for migratory birds along the river. It is also home to reservoirs, forests, pastures and permanent and seasonally flooded farmland. Exploring Panama City's soils can be an exciting experience for those interested in learning more about geology and soil science. From Lagarto clay loam to Liard gravel and Multisols formed by human activity, there is much to discover about this unique region's soil composition. Additionally, visitors can learn about how human activity has impacted soil formation over time through examining sites such as the Panama Canal Zone and Mississippi Delta.