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Influence of Elevation on Carbonate Contents in Stratified Soils, Northern Great Basin and Adjacent Mountains, U.S.A

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DOI: 10.4236/ojss.2011.12009    3,178 Downloads   6,515 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

Many soils in the western U.S.A. contain one or several carbonate-enriched zones (CEZ). Their carbonate admixture is often attributed to steady eolian influx, with intermittent leaching episodes of variable intensity leading to pedogenic enrichment at various depths. This hypothesis would require carbonate contents to decrease and depths to those horizons to increase with elevation. Here I compute correlations for the upper three CEZ of the surface soil and of up to two buried soils between elevation, carbonate content, depth to horizon, and particle-size distribution to test for elevation- dependent trends. Actually, carbonate-content decreases with elevation indicate such trends exist and can be determined with this approach. However, some significant relationship of elevation and depth to CEZ is not supported by the data. Furthermore, influence of local carbonate on CEZ in the surface soils calls for lateral translocation. Gravelly, now-buried sediments collected eolian carbonate better than finer ones, which finding implies these sediments were at the surface once and fossilized later. Altogether, the data indicate cyclical evolution: Several cycles of the formation of colluvial slope deposits with admixed carbonate-bearing loess particles were each followed by pedogenic translocation of the carbonate just to the depth of the next parent-material disconformity. Thus, disconformities are major triggers of soil-carbonate accumulation.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

A. Kleber, "Influence of Elevation on Carbonate Contents in Stratified Soils, Northern Great Basin and Adjacent Mountains, U.S.A," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 1 No. 2, 2011, pp. 61-69. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2011.12009.

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