From Plinthic Acrisols to Plinthosols and Gleysols: iron and groundwater dynamics in the tertiary sediments of the upper Amazon basin - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles European Journal of Soil Science Year : 2006

From Plinthic Acrisols to Plinthosols and Gleysols: iron and groundwater dynamics in the tertiary sediments of the upper Amazon basin

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Abstract

opography has been reported to be the major factor ruling the spatial distribution of Acrisols, Plinthosols and Gleysols on the seasonally flooded, low elevation plateaux of the upper Amazon basin occupied by Tertiary (Icxa & Solimo ̃es) sediments. In this study, detailed morphological and mineralogical investiga- tions conducted in a representative 25-ha site were combined with hydro-geochemical data to relate the vertical and lateral soil differentiations observed to the hydro-geological history of that part of the basin. As a result of the uplift of the Andes, several cuts in the extensive Tertiary marshlands have formed, at first, slightly incised plateaux of low elevation. There, weathering under hot and humid climates would have generated a reddish, freely drained and bioturbated topsoil layer and the vertical differentiation in subsoil sediments of a plinthite over an iron-depleted mottled clay. The second episode of soil differen- tiation is linked to the replacement of the forest by a savannah under the drier climates of the late Pleistocene, which favours surface runoff and the infill of the incisions by fine particles. This infill, combined with the return to the present humid climate, has then enabled the local groundwater to rise on the plateaux and to generate episaturation at the topsoil/subsoil transition close to the depressions. Nowadays, ferrous iron is released from the partly iron-depleted topsoil weathering front at high water levels during the rainy seasons. It moves from footslope to low-lying positions and from top to bottom in the soil profile according to the groundwater dynamics. The present general trend is thus to the lateral export of iron at high water levels due to subsurface and overland flows, its vertical transfer during the recession of the groundwater and accumulation in a nodular plinthite. In the latter, ferrous iron is adsorbed onto its softest iron masses where it feeds the neoformation of ferrihydrite that rapidly dehydrates into haematite.

Dates and versions

hal-00131402 , version 1 (16-02-2007)

Identifiers

Cite

E. Fritsch, A.J. Herbillon, N.R. Donascimento, M. Grimaldi, A.J. Melfi. From Plinthic Acrisols to Plinthosols and Gleysols: iron and groundwater dynamics in the tertiary sediments of the upper Amazon basin. European Journal of Soil Science, 2006, 58, pp.989-1006. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-2389.2006.00877.x⟩. ⟨hal-00131402⟩
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