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Relevant magnetic and soil parameters as potential indicators of soil conservation status of Mediterranean agroecosystems

AuthorsQuijano Gaudes, Laura CSIC ORCID ; Chaparro, Marcos A. E.; Marié, Debora C.; Gaspar Ferrer, Leticia CSIC ORCID ; Navas Izquierdo, Ana CSIC ORCID
KeywordsSpatial analysis
Environmental magnetism
Magnetic mineralogy and petrology
Issue DateSep-2014
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationQuijano L, Chaparro MAE, Marié DC, Gaspar L, Navas A. Relevant magnetic and soil parameters as potential indicators of soil conservation status of Mediterranean agroecosystems. Geophysical Journal International 198 (3): 1805-1817 (2014)
AbstractThe main sources of magnetic minerals in soils unaffected by anthropogenic pollution are iron oxides and hydroxides derived from parent materials through soil formation processes. Soil magnetic minerals can be used as indicators of environmental factors including soil forming processes, degree of pedogenesis, weathering processes and biological activities. In this study measurements of magnetic susceptibility are used to detect the presence and the concentration of soil magnetic minerals in topsoil and bulk samples in a small cultivated field, which forms a hydrological unit that can be considered to be representative of the rainfed agroecosystems of Mediterranean mountain environments. Additional magnetic studies such as isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM), anhysteretic remanent magnetization (ARM) and thermomagnetic measurements are used to identify and characterize the magnetic mineralogy of soil minerals. The objectives were to analyse the spatial variability of the magnetic parameters to assess whether topographic factors, soil redistribution processes, and soil properties such as soil texture, organic matter and carbonate contents analysed in this study, are related to the spatial distribution pattern of magnetic properties. The medians of mass specific magnetic susceptibility at low frequency (χlf) were 36.0 and 31.1 × 10−8 m3 kg−1 in bulk and topsoil samples respectively. High correlation coefficients were found between the χlf in topsoil and bulk core samples (r = 0.951, p < 0.01). In addition, volumetric magnetic susceptibility was measured in situ in the field (κis) and values varied from 13.3 to 64.0 × 10−5 SI. High correlation coefficients were found between χlf in topsoil measured in the laboratory and volumetric magnetic susceptibility field measurements (r = 0.894, p < 0.01). The results obtained from magnetic studies such as IRM, ARM and thermomagnetic measurements show the presence of magnetite, which is the predominant magnetic carrier, and hematite. The predominance of superparamagnetic minerals in upper soil layers suggests enrichment in pedogenic minerals. The finer soil particles, the organic matter content and the magnetic susceptibility values are statistically correlated and their spatial variability is related to similar physical processes. Runoff redistributes soil components including magnetic minerals and exports fine particles out the field. This research contributed to further knowledge on the application of soil magnetic properties to derive useful information on soil processes in Mediterranean cultivated soils.
Description13 Pags.- 11 Figs.- 5 Tabls.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggu239
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