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Book: Acid Sulfate Weathering
Published by: Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 209-223
    SSSA Special Publication 10.
    Acid Sulfate Weathering

    J.A. Kittrick, D.S. Fanning and L.R. Hossner (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-905-3


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Mineralogical Alterations that Affect Pedogenesis in Minesoils from Bituminous Coal Overburdens1

  1. W. E. Grube Jr.,
  2. R. M. Smith and
  3. J. T. Ammons2


Studies were initiated to provide sound geologic and pedologic bases for improved mined land reclamation and pollution abatement. Geologic features of multi-county regions of coal surface mining activity, examined from the viewpoint of sediment depositional and compositional trends, demonstrated variations in overburden composition associated with the local geographic position within the coal depositional swamp. Data, which are exemplary of more extensive arrays cited and published elsewhere, are presented showing the trends in composition of rock strata of the upper Pennsylvanian System in northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania. Chemical analyses for pyritic sulfur and soluble carbonates in these coal overburden materials verify the relative base-rich quality of the younger part of the section (Conemaugh Formation and above) and the both base-poor and low-pyrite composition of the older rocks in the region for which data are presented. These data also quantitate the penetration of the zone of oxidative weathering to depths ranging from 6 to 12 m, varying with rock type and whether pyrite or carbonate minerals are considered. The balance, or Acid-Base Account, of net acid-producing potential calculated from pyritic sulfur content and intrinsic calcium carbonate equivalent permits evaluation of the rock with respect to the ultimate acidity or basicity that might be expected in a new soil developing in excavated rock materials. Comparison of recognized properties of native soils on an area with projections from analyses of properties of rocks from which they were believed to have been formed shows agreement sufficient to demonstrate the value of studying potential soil parent materials prior to their placement into a pedologic setting. This aggregation of geologic, pedologic, and chemical information has re-suited in development of a basis for predicting the nature of soils that form in specified rock environments. Knowledge of minesoil properties is being used by land reclamation and pollution abatement planners, and soil scientists who are involved in both agronomic studies of minesoil capabilities and genetic studies of new soil development.

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Copyright © 1982. Copyright 1982 by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA