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Role of biological soil crust cover in bioweathering and protection of sandstones in a semiárid landscape )torrollones de Gabarda, Huesca, Spain)

AuthorsSouza-Egipsy, Virginia ; Wierzchos, Jacek ; Sancho, C.; Belmonte, Anchel; Ascaso, Carmen
KeywordsBiological soil crust
Issue Date2004
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationEarth Surface Processes and Landforms 29: 1651-1661 (2004)
AbstractSandstone structural landscapes in the semi-arid Torrollones de Gabarda area (Province of Huesca, NE Spain) are often covered by a well developed biological soil crust of lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria and black coatings on vertical surfaces. By using scanning electron microscopy with backscattered detector imaging, the biological soil crust studied evidenced high activity in the sandstone–crust interface. Processes such as physical disintegration, etching and dwelling as well as biomineralization by calcium oxalate and fixation of mineral particles by extracellular polymeric substances were observed. On the horizontal sandstone surfaces these processes may cause the occurrence of gnammas and the development of a protective coating that favours intense flaking when the crust is disturbed. On the sandstone cliffs, columnar and tafoni weathering development is clearly guided by the protective action of the biological soil crust. These qualitative observations are important to develop methodologies to address their quantitative importance in geomorphological processes in semi-arid landscapes.
Description10 pages, and tables statistics, and figures.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.1118
Appears in Collections:(IRN) Artículos
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