Sei sulla pagina 1di 11

What should you know?

Weathering processes - physical and

Soil-Forming Factors The five soil forming factors
ESS 210 Types of soil parent materials
Chapter 2 Types of rocks and minerals
pages 3174 Impacts of parent material, climate,
organisms, topography, and time on soil

Minerals Primary Minerals

Light colored aluminosilicate minerals
Homogeneous, inorganic compounds, with Quartz [SiO2]: most common, weather very
definite chemical formula slowly, sand size
Primary minerals Feldspars: sand size, weather to soil clays
K-feldspars KAlSi3O8
Formed as molten lava cools and solidifies
Plagioclase feldspars:
Not chemically altered by weathering Albite NaAlSi3O8
processes Anorthite CaAl2Si2O8
Secondary minerals Muscovite mica KAl3Si3O10(OH)2
Recrystallization and/or alteration products of A parent of soil clay minerals: weathers to soil clay
primary minerals minerals
Thin, translucent sheets (isinglass)

Primary Minerals Secondary minerals

Dark colored, ferro-magnesium minerals
Biotite mica KAl(Mg,Fe)3Si3O10(OH)2 Al and Fe (metal) oxides and hydroxides
Thin dark sheets (sesquioxides)
Weathers to soil clay minerals Goethite FeOOH
Hornblende NaCa2Mg5Fe2AlSi7O22(OH) Hematite Fe2O3
Diopside CaMgSi2O6 Gibbsite Al(OH)3
Hornblende and diopside weather to soil clay Very stable soil minerals dominate in OLD soils
Aluminosilicate clay minerals several types,
Olivine (Mg,Fe,Mn)2SiO4 common, and chemically complex
Ferro-magnesium minerals weather more Salts: calcite [CaCO3], gypsum [CaSO42H2O]
rapidly than aluminosilicate minerals

Rocks Rock Cycle

Mixtures of minerals Liquid Magma Heat &

Cooling & Pressure
Randomly dispersed, individual mineral Crystallization
crystals; heterogeneous solid
Heat &
Texture refers to the size of mineral Igneous Pressure
crystals in rock: fine, intermediate, coarse
Minerals present and rock texture Weathering Weathering
Heat &
determine weathering rate Pressure

Igneous Rocks Igneous Rocks

Formed when molten lava cools
Primary minerals
Coarse textured: granite
Primarily quartz, feldspars, some dark
very slow weathering
Fine to intermediate texture: basalt
hornblende, augite, biotite, and other dark
minerals Granite Basalt
relatively rapid weathering

Sedimentary and Metamorphic

Sedimentary Rocks
Sedimentary: deposition and re-cementation of
weathering products from other rocks
Sandstone, shale, limestone
Metamorphic: igneous or sedimentary rocks
transformed by high heat and/or pressure
Granite Gneiss, schist
Shale Slate
Sandstone Quartzite
Sandstone Limestone
Limestone Marble

Metamorphic Rocks Weathering
The (1) physical disintegration of rock to
form smaller rocks or individual mineral
particles and the (2) chemical
decomposition of minerals to form
dissolved substances and new minerals
Weathering categories
Gneiss Slate

Physical Weathering Chemical Weathering

A disintegration process that decreases particle
size and increase particle surface area. Occurs Alters the composition of minerals
through the affect of: Conversion of primary minerals into
Temperature secondary minerals, and secondary into
Differential heating or cooling of rocks exfoliation
Freeze-thaw: water expands upon freezing, exerting
other secondary minerals
tremendous force Most rapid with warm temperatures, high
Abrasion by water and water-borne sediments, precipitation, and small particle size
windblown particles, and ice in glaciers
Organisms There are geochemical and biochemical
Plant roots agents of change
Soil animals Water is required

Chemical Weathering Processes Chemical Weathering Processes

Solutioning (dissolution): mineral dissolves in soil Hydrolysis is an important weathering process
solution; common to soluble salts Presence of H+ (acidity) accelerates weathering
CaSO42H2O (gypsum) Ca2+ + SO42- + 2H2O Sources of protons
CaCO3 (calcite) Ca2+ + CO32- CO2 in rainfall produces carbonic acid: CO2 + H2O
Hydrolysis: water acts upon a substance to create a H2CO3 H+ + HCO3 (rainfall is naturally acidic; pH
new substance ~ 5.6)
Involves both H2O and H+ as reactants Plant roots and soil organisms respire and produce
carbonic acid
Often results in release of nutrients from minerals and
the formation of sesquioxides Soil organic matter is a proton source
KAlSi3O8 (K-feldspar) + 7 H2O + H+ Other acidic substances in rainfall: SOx/NOx + H2O
K+ + Al(OH)3 (gibbsite) + 3 H4SiO40
Fertilizers (e.g., NH4+)
Hydration: addition of water to a mineral structure
5 Fe2O3 (hematite) + 9H2O Fe10O159H2O (ferrihydrite)

Chemical Weathering Processes Redox Reactions
Oxidation/reduction (redox) reactions (the
second most important weathering process) Oxidation of Fe2+ by O2 (O2 is the oxidant, it will
Addition or loss of electrons
(e) from atom in a be reduced during the redox process)
mineral Oxidation half-reaction:
Oxidation = loss of e; reduction = gain of e
Electron-rich elements are termed reduced (e.g.,
Fe2+ Fe3+ + e
Fe2+); electron-poor elements are termed oxidized Reduction half-reaction:
(e.g., Fe3+)
O2 + e + H+ H2O
O2 is most common oxidizing agent
Elements in primary minerals commonly exist in a Complete redox reaction:
reduced state Fe2+ + O2 + H+ Fe3+ + H2O
Oxidation and reduction occur together; they are

Complexation Reactions Complexation Reactions

Example: Al3+ complexation by ketogluconate
Microorganisms and plant roots exude
organic acid anions, e.g., citrate, oxalate, Al(OH)3 (gibbsite) + 3H+ Al3+ + 3H2O
and malate Al3+ + C5O5H9COO C5O5H8COOAl+ + H+
These organic acids bond with (chelate)
metals, e.g., Al3+ and Fe3+, to form soluble
The metal-organic complex is stable and
much more soluble than the metal ion

Soil Formation Processes Soil Formation Processes

Soil is an open system Translocations: movement within the soil
Additions - movement into profile profile
Organic matter
Eluvial processes
Sediments Illuvial processes
Chemicals: natural and anthropogenic Transformations: a change in form
Losses - movement out of profile Physical weathering
Chemical weathering
Leaching of water and chemicals Microbial degradation
Gaseous losses of nutrients
Removal by vegetation

Five Soil Forming Factors Factor One: Parent Material
Parent material impacts
Soil is a dynamic natural body formed by Soil textural class
the combined effects of climate and biota, Innate soil fertility
as moderated by topography, acting on Types of clay minerals
parent materials over time. Soil pH
Soil = (climate, biota, topography, Classes of parent materials based on
parent materials, time) placement
Transported (six types of transported

Residual Parent Materials Transported Parent Materials

Soils develop from underlying bedrock
Igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic Colluvial debris
Type of rock strongly influences type of Alluvial deposits
soil Marine sediments
Limestone clayey soils Lacustrine sediments
Sandstone coarse, acidic soils Eolian deposits
Granite coarse, acidic soils Glacial deposits
Slate, shale clayey soils

Colluvial Debris
Poorly sorted fragments on steep slopes
or at the foot of slopes, carried by gravity
Small geographical areas
Usually rocky and stony, no layering
Physical weathering processes dominate
relative to chemical weathering processes
Well-drained but unstable

Alluvial Deposits
During flooding, water spreads and slows,
and fine sediment is deposited.
Horizontal and vertical stratification
Terraces are old floodplains above the current
Usually very fertile soils and important for
agriculture, forestry, wildlife
Poor choice for homes and other urban

Alluvial Deposits
Alluvial fans
Usually gravelly/stony in mountainous
regions, can have finer material as well.
Stream leaves narrow upland channel,
descends to broad valley below

Alluvial Deposits
Delta deposits
The continuation/terminus of the floodplain
Rivers carry much clay/fine silt to lake or
Very slow water = deposition of fine particles
Very clayey, swampy, poorly drained
Example: Mississippi River delta in Louisiana

Marine and Lacustrine Sediments
Eolian Deposits
Marine - Coastal Plains Loess deposits
Ocean sediments build up over time Common in central United States
Exposed by changes in elevation of earths crust Wind carried silts (coarse clays to fine sands) from
glaciated areas
Materials are gravely, sandy, clayey depending on
Cover other soils or parent materials
Western one-third of Tennessee is loessial
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal areas, ~ 10% of US
Very thick (8+ m) at Mississippi River to non-existent
Lacustrine at Tennessee River
Lake sediments build up over time Blankets much of Iowa, thick at the Missouri River,
Clayey soils formed as lakes dried thin on eastern side
Major areas of lacustrine soils in glaciated areas Others - sand dunes (sand-size), aerosolic dust
(clay-size), volcanic ash (allophanic soils)

Glacial Till Ground moraines

As glacier advances, grinds up rock and carries

Till is unsorted, unconsolidated material
Deposited as glacier melts and recedes
Terminal moraines
Till deposits called moraines
Ground moraine - material deposited in relatively
uniform layer during retreat
Terminal or end moraine - material left pushed up in
ridge at southern-most edge of advancing glacier
Recessional moraine terminal moraines from more
than one advance

Glacial Outwash Factor Two: Climate

As glaciers melt, glacial rivers and streams Influences soil formation three ways:
form and carry sediments 1. Precipitation
Coarse materials drop first 2. Temperature
Fine materials carried furthest
3. Native Vegetation
Deposits are sorted

Climate: Precipitation Soil Moisture Regimes
As rainfall increases, chemical and Aquic: saturated with reducing conditions
physical weathering rates increase most of the year
Profile depth increases Udic: soil moisture control section is dry
for < 90 cumulative days per year
Nutrient status changes
Ustic: is dry for > 90 cumulative days per
Loss of base cations Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+ year
Al3+, Fe3+, Mn2+, H+ increase
Aridic: dry in all parts for > half the year
Soil acidity increases Xeric: moist winters, dry summers
(Mediterranean, California)

Soil Moisture Regimes Climate: Temperature

Aquic = wet = tile needed for row crops Chemical and biological reaction rates
Udic = enough precipitation for corn double for every 10 C increase
Ustic = enough precipitation for wheat Climates with extreme T, physical
Aridic = cacti without irrigation weathering (e.g., freeze-thaw) more
significant than chemical weathering
Xeric = precipitation when not needed for
production of most crops winter Evapotranspiration increases with
increasing T

Soil Temperature Regimes Climate: Type of vegetation

Cryic mean annual T < 8 C
Frigid mean annual T < 8 C; difference
between mean summer and mean winter T is >
6 C
Mesic mean annual T > 8 C and < 15 C; Humid = forest
difference between mean summer and mean Sub-humid, semi-arid = grasslands
winter T is > 6 C
Thermic mean annual T > 15 C and < 22 C; Arid = shrubs, brush, succulents
difference between mean summer and mean
winter T is > 6 C
Hyperthermic mean annual T > 22 C;
difference between mean summer and mean
winter T is > 6 C

Factor Three: Biota Biota
Plants, animals, microorganisms Nutrient cycling
Important for MANY processes in soil formation Base recycling
Chemical weathering Ca, Mg, K
Organic acid anions, carbonic acid, oxidation- Nitrogen addition
reduction Microbial N-fixation
Organic matter accumulation (humification) N2 NH4+
Water holding, nutrient holding
Profile mixing
Aggregation bioturbation
Polysaccharides, gelatinous materials
earthworms, insects, etc.

Impact of Native Vegetation Impact of Native Vegetation

Grasslands Deciduous forests
High OM below surface High in basic cations
Continuous root production, high interception High base cycling
of rain
Slightly to moderately acid
Coniferous Forests
Vegetation low base cations (Ca, Mg, K) Forest soils are usually more developed
Low recycling with more horizons, etc...
Highly leached, acidic soils

Grassland vs. Forest Soils Factor Four: Topography

Grassland Deciduous Coniferous Affects amount of water soil sees (yellow
arrows): concept of effective precipitation
Slope aspect affects soil temperature

Upland Footslope
stable active deposition
Sideslope Floodplain
active erosion active deposition

Mollisol Alfisol Spodosol Terrace/Fan


Landscape Positions Landscape Positions
Upland Terrace (second bottom, bench land)
Soil developed in residuum or in stable, Old alluvium, higher elevation than current
unconsolidated materials (loess, glacial till) Floodplain
Rocks angular (except in till) Round stones, rocks - indicates water worked
Well-developed soils Mature soils, some dissection
Highly-dissected Bottomland (floodplain)
Footslope Deposited by present stream action
Bottom of slope, colluvial and alluvial deposits Rounded stones
Partly rounded rock, immature/younger soils Immature soils, little dissection

Topography: Catena or Toposequence Hawthorne-Dellrose-Mimosa

Soils with same parent material, differ Inceptisol
Ultisol A
primarily in topographic location AE
Alfisol A Bw
Typical pattern of A BA C
soils and Bt1
underlying Bt2 Bt1
Bt3 Cr
material in the
Hawthorne- Bt4
Dellrose-Mimosa BC
general soil map C 2Bt3
unit (Marshall Co., R
TN) Hawthorne

Factor Five: Time Physiography of Tennessee

Pretty obvious!
Works in concert with other factors
Chronologically old soil may be
developmentally young, e.g., arid region
soils which have very little development Central
Mississippi Basin
Soil age is a relative thing! River
Great Unaka
Old soils = high water throughput Plateau Slope
Valley Range

(Ultisols & Oxisols) Highland


Young soils = low water throughput

Modified from "Geography of Tennessee", published by Ginn and Co.

Physiographic Regions Regions and their soils
Mississippi Unaka Range
Highland Cumberland
floodplain Rim Plateau Generally young (developmentally), shallow
Parent materials are metamorphic and
igneous rock
Inceptisols very common - weak horizonation
Ultisols in valleys, low elevations
Valley and Ridge region (Knoxville)
Loess Coastal Central Valley Smoky
Mountains Well-developed soils Ultisols and Alfisols in
Plain Basin and
Ridge limestone, sandstone, shale

Regions and their soils Regions and their soils

Cumberland Plateau Coastal Plain Ultisols & Alfisols
Generally loamy soils Clayey soils from fine sediments
Sandstone is dominant parent material Loamy soils in coarse sediments
Ultisols dominant Fine-loamy soils in loess over sediments
Highland Rim West Tennessee Loess Region - Alfisols
Generally clayey soils, many cherty Fine-loamy soils in loess deposits, many
Limestone is dominant parent material fragipans
Ultisols and Alfisols Erosion is major risk
Central Basin Mississippi River Floodplain
Clayey, often shallow soils Entisols, Inceptisols, Alfisols, Mollisols
Alfisols, Ultisols, Mollisols, Inceptisols Young, productive soils