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Soil evolution and development of the clay mineral assemblages of a Podzol and a Cambisol in 'Meggerwald', Switzerland

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Abstract:

Two soils, a haplic Podzoland a dystric Cambisol, developed from post-glacial tills, were studied with respect to their soil chemistry and clay mineralogy. Although the state factors (age, geology, topography, climate) of soil formation were almost identical, two different types developed. The E horizon of the Podzol contained more smectite, characterized by a montmorillonite-beidellite-mixed phase. The neoformation of smectite could be traced back to the weathering of mica and chlorite. The Podzol had less hydroxy-interlayered smectite (HIS) in the surface horizons than the Cambisol. A larger amount of chelating compounds in the E horizon of the Podzol either transformed HIS into smectites or inhibited the formation of HIS and favoured the formation of smectites. The physical structure of the soil material is believed to be the most important factor in the different modes of soil evolution. The greater abundance of coarse pores in the topsoil at the Podzol site probably led to a faster eluviation of base cations, a different vegetation at ground level, and, consequently, to a faster soil evolution with the formation of spodic horizons.

Keywords: BEIDELLITE; MONTMORILLONITE; SMECTITE; SOIL FORMATION; SOIL PHYSICS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1180/0009855023720039

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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