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Allochthonous material originating from saprolite as a marker of termite activity in Ferralsols

Abstract : Abstract Ferralsols, which are estimated to cover 7.5 millions km 2 worldwide, are deeply weathered red or yellow soils found in the humid tropics. They are considered as the end of a geochemical sequence of weathering and are dominated by low-activity clay and sesquioxides. Their physical properties are closely related to their strong submillimetric granular structure. We aimed to characterize the 2:1 clay minerals identified in many Ferralsols and to discuss them as a marker of soil-feeding termite activity in Ferralsols. We present results recorded with Brazilian Ferralsols developed under Cerrado native vegetation on a range of parent materials. It was found that the 2:1 minerals vary from weakly weathered muscovite to hydroxy-Al interlayered vermiculite, sometimes associated to a fine material with a chemical composition highly different from that of the groundmass of the surrounding submillimetric granular aggregates. Results show that both 2:1 minerals and the associated fine material have to be considered as allochthonous material originating from the saprolite and were brought to the Ferralsol by soil-feeding termite activity. This confirms the major role of termites in the properties of Ferralsols and raises questions about the possible consequences of land use change which usually deeply affects soil biodiversity.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 1:43:59 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 10:39:09 AM

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Ary Bruand, Adriana Reatto, Éder de Souza Martins. Allochthonous material originating from saprolite as a marker of termite activity in Ferralsols. Scientific Reports, 2022, 12 (1), pp.17193. ⟨10.1038/s41598-022-21613-6⟩. ⟨insu-03819381⟩

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