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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 5, p. 1196-1200
    Received: Nov 20, 1984
    Accepted: Jan 28, 1985

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Sulfate Retention by an Acid BE Horizon of an Ultisol1

  1. N. V. Hue,
  2. Fred Adams and
  3. C. E. Evans2



Many apparently conflicting reports on sulfate (SO2-4) retention by soils suggest that a single, inclusive mechanism may not be adequate in explaining SO2-4-soil reactions and that additional experimentation is needed for different soils. An acid Benndale (Typic Paleudults) BE horizon, predominantly kaolinite and gibbsite in the clay fraction, was initially treated with either five lime rates or five gypsum rates. After 14-d of incubation at field capacity, previously limed soils were amended with gypsum, and previously gypsum-treated soils were limed. All samples were again incubated moist for 14 d, after which soil solutions were displaced and their chemical compositions determined. The sequence of Ca(OH)2 and CaSO4 additions did not affect SO2-4 retention. Furthermore, SO2-4 retention isotherms indicated that multiple mechanisms were involved because at low pH (<5.1) an adsorption-precipitation type mechanism dominated, while at high pH (>5.6) electrolyte adsorption was dominant. This was further supported by the decrease in the ratio of OH- gain to SO2-4 retention as soil pH increased. Sulfate retention was also accompanied by an increase in total exchangeable cations. Cation increases, however, varied with pH and SO2-4 rates. The combined increases in OH- and exchangeable cations, particularly at low pH and high SO2-4 rates, are inexplicable with current SO2-4-soil reaction models.

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