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 surface of the bedrock beneath soil cover is known as rockhead in engineering geology 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 an 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.
- Price, David George, Engineering Geology: Principles and Practice, Springer, 2009, p. 16 ISBN 978-3540292494
- Gribble C. & McLean A. (2003). Geology for Civil Engineers. CRC Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780203362150.
- "Swinford,E.Mac What the glaciers left behind - drift thickness map of Ohio, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey, newsletter 2004, No.1." (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- BGS. "Digital Geology - Bedrock geology theme". Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-12.