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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 6, p. 450-452
    Received: Nov 9, 1959
    Accepted: July 21, 1960

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A Microscopic Determination of Apatite and a Study of Phosphorus in Some Nebraska Soil Profiles1

  1. R. F. Shipp and
  2. R. P. Matelski2



A microscopic method is described for the determination of apatite mineral frequencies. The technique was developed from further study and application of a method used to detect alkaline earth carbonates in soils. Essentially, the method consists of distributing soil heavy minerals over 2 to 3 drops of 10.7N H2SO4 on a glass slide. Needle-like calcium sulfate crystals develop on the surface of the apatite grains making them easily recognized. The low birefringence of apatite is used as a further identifying characteristic.

A study of three Nebraska soils was made using this technique. Data on the occurrence and vertical distribution of apatite in these soils is presented. A general tendency for the apatite content to increase with depth was noted. This increase is shown to parallel the profile distribution of acid-soluble phosphorus in these soils. There was a close correlation between the total phosphorus content of the sand and coarse silt and the percent of apatite as determined by this method.

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