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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Pedogenesis of a Vernal Pool Entisol-Alfisol-Vertisol Catena in Southern California


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 1, p. 316-323
    Received: Jan 3, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s): graham@mail.ucr.edu
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  1. W. A. Weitkamp,
  2. R. C. Graham ,
  3. M. A. Anderson and
  4. C. Amrhein
  1. Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0424



Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands that have unique plant and animal species. More than 10 vernal pools are found on the basaltcapped mesas of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve in southern Riverside County, California. In this study, one vernal pool catena was investigated to determine the relationships between soil morphology, soil chemical properties, and water movement. Soils on the summit and backslope are shallow and coarse-loamy, and are maintained as Entisols by extensive burrowing by rodents and their predators. Footslope soils are clayey Alfisols with strong prismatic structure. The basin and toeslope soils are Vertisols with strong angular blocky structure and slickensides. Iron oxides are concentrated in the upper slope soils, imparting 5YR hues and high chromas. Because Mn oxides are soluble at higher redox potential than Fe oxides, Mn has been preferentially dissolved, transported downslope with throughflow, and precipitated as oxides in the lower slope soils, which have 10YR hues and low chromas. Water infiltrates readily through the upper slope soils and moves downslope along the soil-basalt bedrock contact and within the vesicular basalt. In the basin, the Vertisols are wetted unevenly as water moves downward through soil cracks and upward from throughflow in the underlying vesicular basalt.

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