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Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science / Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde 173 (2010) 591-600
Short-time clay-mineral evolution in a soil chronosequence in Oléron Island (France)
Laurent Caner 1, Emmanuel Joussein 2, Sébastien Salvador-Blanes 3, Fabien Hubert 1, Jean-Frédéric Schlicht 1, Nelly Duigou 1

Major weathering sequences in soils are well established; however, knowledge on rates of mineral transformations remains unknown, because it is often difficult to date precisely soil processes. This work was carried out on soils developed on recent (< 188 y) sand dunes on the W coast of Oléron Island (France). The coast has been protected against marine and wind erosion by constructing five consecutives barriers close to the coastline since 1820 (1820, 1864, 1876, 1889, 1948) defining the maximum age of the soil parent material, as before the areas between the barriers were under water. Soils on the older dunes have low clay content (> 94% of sand) and exhibit a bleached E horizon that overlies a yellowish brown B horizon. The process responsible for their formation is podzolization promoted by the high permeability of the material and complexing organic matter produced by coniferous vegetation. Initial mineralogy of C horizons is homogenous and constituted of chlorite, illite, illite/smectite mixed-layer minerals, and kaolinite, quartz, calcite (≈ 8% related to shell fragments), and feldspars. The initial clay-mineral assemblage of the E horizons is dominated by illite (well-crystallized WCI and poorly crystallized PCI) and chlorite. With progressive podzolization, poorly crystallized illite is first transformed to illite/ smectite mixed-layer minerals and in a further step into smectite. In addition, transformation of well-crystallized illite leads to formation of ordered illite/smectite mixed-layer minerals in the E horizons, which is not commonly described in soils. In the B horizons, illite/smectite mixed-layer minerals are present with traces of smectite, as well as Al and Fe oxi-hydroxides as revealed by DCB and oxalate chemical extractions. This chronosequence illustrates that over short distances and short time (< 188 y) intense mineral weathering and soil development occur. Major clay-mineral changes occur between 132 and 188 y in agreement with development of the pine forest producing acidic litter.
1 :  HydrASA (Hydrogéologie, argiles, sols et altérations)
CNRS : FRE3114 – Université de Poitiers
2 :  Groupement de Recherche Eau, Sol, Environnement (GRESE)
Université de Limoges : EA4330
3 :  GéoHydrosystèmes COntinentaux (GéhCO EA6293)
Université François Rabelais - Tours
Planète et Univers/Interfaces continentales, environnement

Sciences de l'environnement/Milieux et Changements globaux

Planète et Univers/Sciences de la Terre/Géologie appliquée

Planète et Univers/Sciences de la Terre/Minéralogie
Podzol / clay minerals / smectite / pedogenesis / XRD / illite/smectite mixed-layer minerals