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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Hydropedology Symposium: 10 Years Later and 10 Years into the Future

Chemical and Morphological Distinctions between Vertical and Lateral Podzolization at Hubbard Brook


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 79 No. 2, p. 428-439
    Received: May 08, 2014
    Accepted: Oct 06, 2014
    Published: January 26, 2015

    * Corresponding author(s): bourgaultr@sacredheart.edu
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  1. Rebecca R. Bourgault *a,
  2. Donald S. Rossb and
  3. Scott W. Baileyc
  1. a Dep. of Plant and Soil Science Univ. of Vermont 63 Carrigan Dr. Burlington, VT 05405 Currently at: Biology Dep. Sacred Heart Univ. 5151 Park Avenue Fairfield, CT 06825
    b Dep. of Plant and Soil Science Univ. of Vermont 63 Carrigan Dr. Burlington, VT 05405
    c U.S. Forest Service 234 Mirror Lake Rd. North Woodstock, NH 03262


Classical podzolization studies assumed vertical percolation and pedon-scale horizon development. However, hillslope-scale lateral podzolization also occurs where lateral subsurface water flux predominates. In this hydropedologic study, 99 podzols were observed in Watershed 3, Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Soil horizon samples were extracted with citrate–dithionite (d) and acid ammonium oxalate (o) to quantify Fed, Mnd, Alo, and Feo. Optical density of oxalate extract (ODOE) was measured to assess spodic C. Amorphous organometallic complexes (AOC) were observed in thin section, for which Al, Fe, Mn, and C were quantified using scanning electron microscopy–energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Porosity and AOC/mineral ratio were calculated for thin section images using ImageJ. Laterally developed spodic horizons were twice as thick as vertically developed spodic horizons and contained higher concentrations of Al and Mn but lower Fe and C. Vertically developed spodic horizons had crumb microstructure with higher porosity, while laterally developed spodic horizons were more infilled. Aluminum + 0.5Fe and ODOE in the surface of laterally developed podzols were high and lacked contrast with the spodic horizon, making Spodosol classification problematic. Vertically developed spodic horizons form by solutional translocation and precipitation of AOC under unsaturated conditions. However, laterally developed spodic horizons could form via lateral translocation of solutes or physical transport and deposition of colloidal AOC with unsaturated or saturated flow. This study demonstrates the importance of lateral podzolization in producing soils with distinctive morphology, composition, and classification. Future studies or mapping efforts in podzolized catchments should incorporate these different pedogenic processes.

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