UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Clay mineral evolution along a soil chronosequence in an Alpine proglacial area


Mavris, C; Plötze, M; Mirabella, A; Giaccai, D; Valboa, G; Egli, M (2011). Clay mineral evolution along a soil chronosequence in an Alpine proglacial area. Geoderma, 165(1):106-117.

Abstract

As a consequence of global warming, additional areas will become ice-free and subject to weathering and soil formation. The most evident soil changes in the Alps will occur in proglacial areas where young soils will continuously develop due to glacier retreat. Little is known about the initial stages of weathering and soil formation, i.e. during the first decades of soil genesis. In this study, we investigated clay minerals formation during a time span 0–150 years in the proglacial area of Morteratsch (Swiss Alps). The soils developed on granitic till and were Lithic Leptosols.
Mineralogical measurements of the clay (< 2 μm) and fine silt fraction (2–32 μm) were carried out using XRD (X-ray Diffraction) and DRIFT (Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform). Fast formation and transformation mechanisms were measured in the clay fraction. The decreasing proportion of trioctahedral phases with time confirmed active chemical weathering. Since the start of soil formation, smectite was actively formed. Some smectite (low charge) and vermiculite (high charge) was however already present in the parent material. Main source of smectite formation was biotite, hornblende and probably plagioclase. Furthermore, irregularly and regularly interstratified clay minerals (mica–HIV or mica–vermiculite) were formed immediately after the start of moraine exposure to weathering. In addition, hydroxy-interlayered smectite (HIS) as a transitory weathering product from mica to smectite was detected. Furthermore, since the start of soil evolution, kaolinite was progressively formed. In the silt fraction, only little changes could be detected; i.e. some formation of an interstratified mica–HIV or mica–vermiculite phase.
The detected clay mineral formation and transformation mechanisms within this short time span confirmed the high reactivity of freshly exposed sediments, even in a cryic environment.

As a consequence of global warming, additional areas will become ice-free and subject to weathering and soil formation. The most evident soil changes in the Alps will occur in proglacial areas where young soils will continuously develop due to glacier retreat. Little is known about the initial stages of weathering and soil formation, i.e. during the first decades of soil genesis. In this study, we investigated clay minerals formation during a time span 0–150 years in the proglacial area of Morteratsch (Swiss Alps). The soils developed on granitic till and were Lithic Leptosols.
Mineralogical measurements of the clay (< 2 μm) and fine silt fraction (2–32 μm) were carried out using XRD (X-ray Diffraction) and DRIFT (Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform). Fast formation and transformation mechanisms were measured in the clay fraction. The decreasing proportion of trioctahedral phases with time confirmed active chemical weathering. Since the start of soil formation, smectite was actively formed. Some smectite (low charge) and vermiculite (high charge) was however already present in the parent material. Main source of smectite formation was biotite, hornblende and probably plagioclase. Furthermore, irregularly and regularly interstratified clay minerals (mica–HIV or mica–vermiculite) were formed immediately after the start of moraine exposure to weathering. In addition, hydroxy-interlayered smectite (HIS) as a transitory weathering product from mica to smectite was detected. Furthermore, since the start of soil evolution, kaolinite was progressively formed. In the silt fraction, only little changes could be detected; i.e. some formation of an interstratified mica–HIV or mica–vermiculite phase.
The detected clay mineral formation and transformation mechanisms within this short time span confirmed the high reactivity of freshly exposed sediments, even in a cryic environment.

Citations

17 citations in Web of Science®
18 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

92 downloads since deposited on 06 Dec 2011
20 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:06 Dec 2011 14:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:13
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0016-7061
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.geoderma.2011.07.010
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-52582

Download

[img]
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations