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Mineral and geochemical characterization of a leptic aluandic soil and a thapto aluandic-ferralsol developed on trachytes in Mount Bambouto (Cameroon volcanic line)

Tematio, P., Fritsch, E., Hodson, M.E., Lucas, Y., Bitom, D. and Bilong, P. (2009) Mineral and geochemical characterization of a leptic aluandic soil and a thapto aluandic-ferralsol developed on trachytes in Mount Bambouto (Cameroon volcanic line). Geoderma, 152. pp. 314-323.

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2009.05.029

Abstract/Summary

Mineral and geochemical investigations were carried out on soil samples and fresh rock (trachytes) from two selected soil profiles (TM profile on leptic aluandic soils and TL profile on thapto aluandic-ferralsols) from Mount Bambouto to better understand geochemical processes and mineral paragenesis involved in the development of soils in this environment. In TM profile, the hydrated halloysites and goethite occur in the weathered saprolite boulders of BC horizon while dehydrated halloysite, gibbsite and goethite dominate the soils matrices of BC and A horizons. In TL profile, the dehydrated halloysites and goethite are the most abundant secondary minerals in the weathered saprolites of C and BC horizons while gibbsite, hematite and kaolinite occur in the soil matrices of BC, B and A horizons. The highest gibbsite content is in the platy nodules of B horizon. In both soil profiles, organo-metal complexes (most likely of AI and Fe) are present in the surface A horizon. Geochemically, between the fresh rock and the weathered saprolites in both soils, SiO2, K2O, CaO, Na2O and MgO contents decrease strongly while Fe2O3 and Al2O3 tend to accumulate. The molar ratio of SiO2/Al2O3 (Ki) and the sum of Ca, Mg, K and Na ions (TRB) also decreases abruptly between fresh rocks and the weathered saprolites, but increases significantly at the soil surface. The TM profile shows intense Al enrichment whereas the TL profile highlights enrichment in both AI and Fe as the weathering progresses upwards. Both soil profiles are enriched in Ni, Cu, Ba and Co and depleted in U, Th, Ta, Hf, Y, Sr, Pb, Zr and Zn relative to fresh rock. They also show a relatively low fractionation of the rare earth elements (REE: La, Nd, Sm, Eu, Tb, Yb and Lu), except for Ce which tends to be enriched in soils compared to CI chondrite. All these results give evidence of intense hydrolysis at soil deep in Mount Bambouto resulting in the formation of halloysite which progressively transforms into gibbsite and/or dehydrated halloysite. At the soil surface, the prominent pedogenetic process refers to andosolization with formation of organo-metal complexes. In TL profile, the presence of kaolinite in soil matrices BC and B horizons is consistent with ferralitization at soil deep. In conclusion, soil forming processes in Mount Bambouto are strongly influenced by local climate: (i) in the upper mountain (>2000 m), the fresh, misty and humid climate favors andosolization; whereas (ii) in the middle lands (1700-2000 m) with a relatively dry climate, both andosolization at the soil surface and ferralitization at soil deep act together. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:4143
Uncontrolled Keywords:Soil mineralogy; Soil geochemistry; Hydrolysis; Volcanic soils; Andosolization; Ferrallitization; Cameroon volcanic line
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