Mineralogical characterization of a highly-weathered soil by the Rietveld Method

Caracterização mineralógica de um solo altamente intemperizado pelo Método de Rietveld

The mineralogical characterization through mineral quantification of Brazilian soils by X-ray diffraction data using the Rietveld Method is not common. A mineralogical quantification of an Acric Ferralsol from the Ponta Grossa region, state of Paraná, Brazil, was carried out using this Method with X-Ray Diffraction data to verify if this method was suitable for mineral quantification of a highly-weathered soil. The A, AB and B3 horizons were fractioned to separate the different particle sizes: clay, silt, fine sand (by Stokes Law) and coarse sand fractions (by sieving), with the procedure free of chemical treatments. X-ray Fluorescence, Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry, Infrared Spectroscopy and Mössbauer Spectroscopy were used in order to assist the mineral identification and quantification. The Rietveld Method enabled the quantification of the present minerals. In a general way, the quantitative mineralogical characterization by the Rietveld Method revealed that quartz, gibbsite, rutile, hematite, goethite, kaolinite and halloysite were present in the clay and silt fractions of all horizons. The silt fractions of the deeper horizons were different from the more superficial ones due to the presence of large amounts of quartz. The fine and the coarse sand fractions are constituted mainly by quartz. Therefore, a mineralogical quantification of the finer fraction (clay and silt) by the Rietveld Method was successful.

Acric Ferralsol; clay fraction; silt fraction; mineralogical quantification; X-ray diffraction

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