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In stratigraphy, bedrock is consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil. The top of the bedrock is known as rockhead and identifying this, via excavations, 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.
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 a organic horizon (O) on the surface, but this 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.