Mineralogy, micromorphology and genesis of soils with stagnic properties from Sertão of Araripe, Pernambuco State, Brazil

The objective of the present study was to characterize the mineralogy and micromorphology of soils with stagnic properties from the micro region of Araripina, in the Sertão Zone of Pernambuco State aiming to improve the understanding of their properties and pedogenic processes. Up to now, these soils have been poorly studied. They are characterized by the presence of a solodic or natric B horizon underlying a normal argic B horizon. Three representative soil profiles were selected in Ouricuri County. According to the World Reference Base for Soil Resources they are classified as: Natric Stagnic Sesquisol (profile 1); Solodic Stagnic Lixisol (profile 2), and Plinthic Stagnic Lixisol (profile 3). The mineralogy of the coarse fractions was determined macroscopically or by using a binocular magnifying lens, while the silt and clay fractions were analyzed by X-ray diffraction. Selected horizons were micromorphologically described based on thin soil sections. The sand fraction of the studied soils is essentially composed by quartz, but feldspars and micas were also detected in the 2Btbn horizons. The silt fraction contains mostly quartz, feldspars and mica. The clay fraction is composed by kaolinite, mica, irregular interstratified minerals, smectite, and quartz. The highest amount of smectites and interstratified clay minerals were observed in the 2Btbn and 2BCn horizons. The solodic or natric B horizons (2Btbn) is characterized by the presence of a blocky microstructure and well developed illuviation and weathering argillans, while the overlying argic B horizon has a granular microstructure and no argillans. The differences observed in the clay mineralogy and micromorphological features between the argic B horizon and the underlying poorly drained solodic or natric B horizon indicate the presence of two parent materials. The position of this Na-rich B horizon, which is high in argillans, and the absence of evidences of clay eluviations from the overlying argic B horizon suggest a paleopedogenesis for this horizon. Results indicate that the soils were developed in two stages. The first pedogenesis occurred on the crystalline rock basement. One of the evidences is the edged stone layer on top of the solodic or natric B horizon, probably formed because of differential erosion, originating a desertic pavement. Afterwards, the soils were covered by layers of highly weathered sediments, related to the Araripe high tableland, which were mixed at varied proportions with the topsoil of the underlying weathered parent material. Both materials have been affected by current pedogenic processes since their deposition.

natric B horizon; stagnic properties; pedogenesis; micromorphology; lithological discontinuity

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