What is it about?

- This paper is about a soil located near the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the Coastal Plain of Maryland, USA. - Soil monoliths are vertical sections of soil profiles that were extracted from the field. They are excellent tools for soil education and for representing soils as they are found in the field since they are portable. - Acid sulfate soils are soils that formed underwater and contain iron sulfide minerals such as pyrite. When these minerals are exposed to oxygen, they can form acids that lower the soil pH (a lot!) - This appears to be the first published report of a method for creating a soil monolith in a silica-cemented soil. The silica-cemented layer made it difficult to collect a monolith. We disassembled the silica-cemented layer, cut the fragments to size, and reassembled them in a soil monolith containing the underlying and overlying soil layers. - Silica-cementation in acid sulfate soils is rarely reported, though cemented layers are occasionally reported in literature on sulfidic mine tailings.

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Why is it important?

- By understanding silica-cementation in acid sulfate soils we may be able to induce it as a management practice in mine tailings and other environmentally hazardous sites. - We discuss methods for creating soil monoliths from silica-cemented soils to use for education. - This soil could lead to further experiments to mitigate environmentally hazardous sites.


This is one of the most interesting soils I have ever seen. In this paper, we try to explain how it formed. Make sure to look at the figures!

Jaclyn C Fiola
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Soil morphology, genesis, and monolith construction of an acid sulfate soil with silica-cementation in the US Mid-Atlantic Region, Geoderma, December 2017, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.03.023.
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