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Spatial distribution of lepidocrocite in a soil hydrosequence

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Three terrace soils comprising a hydrosequence were examined to determine how the spatial distribution of lepidocrocite was related to depth and duration of saturation. Vertical relief was 1.0 m with well drained, moderately well drained, and somewhat poorly drained pedons spaced ~60 m apart. All soils contained brittle, slowly-permeable subsoil horizons and were acidic with <35% base saturation throughout the upper sola. The well drained soil (Fragic Hapludult) had no morphological indicators of wetness within a depth of 180 cm, and water was perched above a brittle horizon at 82 cm for a total of only 41 days during the 3.4 year observation period. Nevertheless, trace amounts of lepidocrocite were detected in the subsoil. The moderately well drained soil (Typic Fragiudult) was saturated at a depth of 180 cm for 6% of the time, and water was perched on top of a fragipan at 74 cm for 13% of the time. Lepidocrocite was most abundant in this pedon and reached maximum concentrations below the fragipan in the capillary fringe of the regional water table (150-183 cm).The somewhat poorly drained member of the hydrosequence (Aeric Fragiaquult) was saturated at a depth of 180 cm for 96% of the observation period and also contained perched water above a fragipan for >90% of the time. Lepidocrocite occurred throughout this pedon but was most concentrated in fragipan horizons (86-135 cm) between the perched and regional zones of saturation. These horizons were saturated from 22 to 48% of the observation period. The results of this study suggest that lepidocrocite formation was favoured in horizons that were saturated for 5-50% of the time when soil temperatures exceeded 5ÂșC.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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