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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 45 No. 2, p. 396-404
    Received: June 12, 1980



Evaluating Chemical Character of Soil Material for Suitability in Rehabilitating Mined Land in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico1

  1. R. C. Severson2



Samples of C horizons representing three soil orders and 17 series were collected from 77 locations in an area likely to be affected by energy-related developments. In addition, six samples each of topsoil and spoil were collected from a rehabilitated area of the San Juan mine. All samples were analyzed for 50 variables, including measurements of total, DTPA-extractable, exchangeable, and water-soluble element content. Q-mode factor analysis indicated that a three-factor model explained > 90% of the variation in the 50 variables, even though many more than three taxonomic groups were represented. The three extreme types of samples were characterized by their physical properties as sandy soils, soils high in silt clay, and spoil material. Soils with common taxonomic properties did not necessarily have similar chemical properties. Samples most closely associated with each of the three theoretical factor compositions were subjected to R-mode factor analysis to reduce the 50 variables to a more manageable number of master variables (R-mode factors), each showing associations of variables independent from the other factors. R-mode factor analysis indicated that variable associations differed for each group of samples identified by Q-mode factor analysis. Therefore, although different samples may contain similar amounts of some elements, the elements may be in different forms and associated with different constituents for each group of samples. Such differences will affect the suitability of these materials for use in mined-land rehabilitation.

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