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Hydromorphic and clay-related processes in soils from the LLanos de Moxos (northern Bolivia)

AuthorsBoixadera, J.; Poch, R. M.; García-González, M. T. ; Vizcayno, Carmen
LLano de Moxos
Clay illuviation
Flooding Pampa
Issue Date2003
CitationCatena 54: 403-424 (2003)
AbstractThe Llanos de Moxos is one of the largest wetlands in the world (more than 100,000 km2) due to seasonal floods. The soil parent materials are fine Quaternary sediments brought by tributaries of the Amazon River. Forests cover some areas, although the dominant vegetation is a pastured savannah and backswamps. At present, the main land use is a very extensive rangeland, and slash and burn agriculture in minor areas. We have studied 15 profiles from several sample areas between Trinidad and San Ignacio. Field and laboratory studies have been carried out in order to elucidate the soil-forming processes taking place and to gain basic knowledge for a sustainable land management. Coarser soils are located near the present river system or in former riverbank areas, often under forest; textures here are loam or silty loam, silty clay loam being dominant. Finer soils may have up to 85% clay and are usually under savannah cover. Illite is the dominant clay mineral in all soils, followed by smectite and kaolinite; vermiculite is absent. Quartz is present in a very significant amount in the clay fraction of all studied soils. Goethite and lepidocrocite are present in all soils, lepidocrocite being a good indicator of poor drainage conditions. Soils are mainly acid, but there are soils with calcium carbonate accumulation in the subsoil, or even saline soils (salitrales). Soils are flooded for a significant period (3–6 months) and bypass flow is very active. Hydromorphic processes are always present and morphologies include hard and soft iron–manganese concretions with diffuse boundaries within peds, impregnative Fe coatings and Fe depletion hypocoatings along pore walls. The micromorphological study shows different degrees of hydromorphism, some of them associated to the present pore system and some with a palaeo character, often disturbed by active slickensides. Microsparite nodules are also present in some lowlying soils. The soils present several morphological features related to the mobility of the fine fraction that can be related to drainage conditions, as recent clay coatings, clay and silt infillings and coatings and clay-depleted hypocoatings. The most clayey soils show striated b-fabrics and frequent slickensides, and some others point to ferrolysis as iron-depleted hypocoatings and low crystallinity clay coatings along pores, although this is not supported by mineralogical data. A moderate cation supply probably prevents strong acidification.
Description21 pages, photos, figures, and tables statistics
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Appears in Collections:(ICA) Artículos

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