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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 2, p. 261-268
    Received: July 12, 1965
    Accepted: Nov 16, 1965

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Periodic Sedimentation and Soil Formation on an Alluvial-Fan Piedmont in Southern New Mexico1

  1. L. H. Gile and
  2. J. W. Hawley2



Gullies cut in alluvial-fan piedmont deposits at the southern end of the Jornada del Muerto basin, New Mexico, reveal evidence of periodic sedimentation and soil formation. The gullies show a succession of four major sediments, each of which has a distinct soil, indicating that each period of sediment deposition was followed by a period of stability and soil formation. The two youngest sediments are restricted primarily to a broad drainageway position and have soils with relatively weak Bt and carbonate horizons. The next older sediment, buried in the broad drainageway, has a soil that has prominent textural B and carbonate horizons and that emerges at the land surface on either side of the drainageway. Towards the basin axis the sediments thin and there is mergence of the land-surface soil with the oldest soil exposed in the gullies.

The land-surface soils overlie much older soils and in places are so thin that the buried soils must be considered in classification of the land-surface soils. Gradual mergence zones of major sediments can conceal complexities greater than might be suggested by the generally smooth relief. Filling of channels in old sediments by younger sediments can cause prominent and abrupt soil changes not suggested by the smooth relief and uniform slope which crosses the soil boundaries. These phenomena are especially prevalent in and adjacent to drainageways and in areas of thinning of major sediments.

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