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Clays Developed Under Sequoia Gigantia and Prairie Soils: 150 Years of Soil-Plant Interaction in the Parks of French Châteaux

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The effect of plant species on soil-clay mineralogy has not been studied widely. In the present study, the clay mineralogy of top soils under Sequoia gigantia and grass regimes, maintained side by side for up to 150 y in the parks of several French châteaux, were investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods and chemical analyses of the clay fractions. The seven paired samples that were studied originated from soils developed on calcareous, granitic, and loess substrates. The XRD data indicated the presence of a trioctahedral chlorite with a trioctahedral hydroxy-Mg sheet in sequoia soils observed in four of seven of the sites whereas it was absent from the adjacent prairie-soil samples. Parent materials influenced the formation of magnesian chlorite as it was observed in all soils developed on granite and in none of the soils developed on limestone. The exchangeability of the interlayer hydroxy-Mg sheet replaced by K+ from newly formed chlorite in a 14 y old sequoia-influenced soil suggests that the mineral was initially a hydroxy-interlayered mineral. Increased stability was observed in the older (100 and 150 y) soil chlorites, indicating a progression of polymerization of the Mg hydroxy-interlayered material. The small amount of chlorite in the whole clay assemblage impeded the observation of changes in Mg content by direct chemical measurements of the clay fractions but the systematically greater amount of exchanged Mg2+ ion measured under sequoia compared with adjacent prairie supports the formation of Mg magnesian chlorite.

The results presented indicate, on the one hand, the importance of plant regimes in controlling the soil chemistry and hence the clay mineralogy of surface soil horizons (magnesian chlorites were observed only undersequoia), and, on the otherhand, that parent material modulates this plant influence (chlorite formation was observed on granite-derived soils).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • The JOURNAL publishes articles of interest to the international community of clay scientists, including but not limited to areas in mineralogy, crystallography, geology, geochemistry, sedimentology, soil science, agronomy, physical chemistry, colloid chemistry, ceramics, petroleum engineering, foundry engineering, and soil mechanics. Clays and Clay Minerals exists to disseminate to its worldwide readership the most recent developments in all of these aspects of clay materials. Manuscripts are welcome from all countries.

    Clays and Clay Minerals is the official publication of The Clay Minerals Society.

    The Editor-in-Chief is Professor Joseph W. Stucki

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