In geology, bedrock is the lithified rock that lies under the loose softer material (regolith) at the surface of the Earth or other terrestrial planet. The broken and weathered regolith includes soil and subsoil. The surface of the bedrock beneath soil cover is known as rockhead in engineering geology and its identification by digging, drilling or geophysical methods is an important task in most civil engineering projects. Superficial deposits (also known as drift) can be extremely thick, such that the bedrock lies hundreds of meters below the surface.
Bedrock may also experience subsurface weathering at its upper boundary, forming saprolite.
A solid geologic map of an area will usually show the distribution of differing bedrock types, rock that would be exposed at the surface if all soil or other superficial deposits were removed.
Soil scientists use the capital letters O, A, B, C, and E to identify the master soil horizons, and lowercase letters for distinctions of these horizons. Most soils have three major horizons: the surface horizon (A), the subsoil (B), and the substratum (C). Some soils have an organic horizon (O) on the surface, but such a horizon can also be buried. The master horizon, E, is used for subsurface horizons that have a significant loss of minerals (eluviation). Hard bedrock, which is not soil, uses the letter R.
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