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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Outline of a Generalized Theory of Soil Genesis1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 23 No. 2, p. 152-156
    Received: Feb 17, 1958
    Accepted: May 27, 1958

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  1. Roy W. Simonson2



Processes of soil formation have been related to prominent great soil groups by means of names such as podzolization, laterization, and solonization. A change from this point of view seems necessary when soils of the world are considered as a continuum with a number of properties in common. It is therefore proposed that soil genesis be considered as two overlapping steps; viz, the accumulation of parent materials and the differentiation of horizons in the profile. Of these two steps, the second is of more immediate concern to soil scientists.

Horizon differentiation is ascribed to additions, removals, transfers, and transformations within the soil system. Examples of important changes that contribute to development of horizons are additions of organic matter, removals of soluble salts and carbonates, transfers of humus and sesquioxides, and transformations of primary minerals into secondary minerals. It is postulated that these kinds of changes, as well as others, proceed simultaneously in all soils. It is further suggested that the balance within the combination of changes governs the ultimate nature of the soil profile. If this point of view is valid, the same kinds of changes occur in horizon differentiation in soils as unlike as Chernozems and Latosols, but the balance among the processes is not the same.

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