Pedogenesis at the coastal arid-hyperarid transition deduced from a Late Quaternary chronosequence at Paposo, Atacama Desert

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Title:Main Title: Pedogenesis at the coastal arid-hyperarid transition deduced from a Late Quaternary chronosequence at Paposo, Atacama Desert
Description:Abstract: Under hyperarid climate conditions, pedogenesis is driven by the atmospheric deposition and subsequent accumulation of easily to moderately soluble salts forming extreme types of Aridisols. In contrast, the processes and timescales of soil formation in coastal desert environments are as yet not well understood. Therefore, a soil chronosequence at the arid-hyperarid transition in the south-central coastal Atacama Desert is investigated. We measured physicochemical soil parameters of shallow soil profiles on four generations of a multi-stage alluvial fan system, assisted by micromorphological analysis, allowing to deduce the soil-forming processes. We further established a geochronological framework by applying 10Be cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating on the abandoned surface generations, which allowed to infer the timescales for soil formation. The results indicate initial yet clearly identifiable pedogenesis occurring since MIS 5e–c. Along the Late Quaternary chronosequence, physicochemical soil properties show decreasing trends with growing age for the median grain size, salinity, long-term pH development, and CaCO3 contents. Contrarily, organic carbon, the ratio of organic to total phosphorus, the redness, and the contents of total and poorly crystalline pedogenic iron oxides tend to increase with age. This provides evidence for soil formation under an arid to hyperarid coastal climate characterized by (i) redistribution of salts by leaching causing topsoil desalinization; (ii) decalcification coupled with (iii) dealkalinization in totally decalcified horizons; (iv) accumulation of soil organic matter; (v) initial rubification through formation of pedogenic iron oxides (i.e. hematite); and (vi) initial loamification that, in turn, might have impeding effects on the translocation of soil constituents on timescales larger than 10^5 a. Furthermore, in situ pedogenesis might be superimposed considerably by aeolian dust influx. At Atacama’s south-central coast, the state of pedogenic alteration scales with the cumulative precipitation received throughout the entire Late Quaternary, yet evolved strongest between MIS 5 and the MIS 4/3-transition.
Identifier:10.1016/j.catena.2023.107171 (DOI)
Responsible Party
Creators:Janek Walk (Author), Philipp Schulte (Author), Melanie Bartz (Author), Ariane Binnie (Author), Martin Kehl (Author), Ramona Mörchen (Author), Xiaolei Sun (Author), Georg Stauch (Author), Christopher Tittmann (Author), Roland Bol (Author), Helmut Brückner (Author), Frank Lehmkuhl (Author)
Funding Reference:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): CRC 1211: Earth - Evolution at the Dry Limit
Publication Year:2023
CRC1211 Topic:Surface
Related Subprojects:C2, B5
Subjects:Keywords: Soil Sciences, Geomorphology, Cosmogenic Nuclides, Dating , Biogeochemistry of Soils, Quaternary Geology, Paleoclimate Proxies, Fog, Arid Zone
Geogr. Information Topic:Environment
File Details
Data Type:Text - Article
Size:21 Pages
File Size:15.9 MB
Date:Accepted: 13.04.2023
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Download Permission:Free
Download Information:This file contains the article published in Catena, Volume 228 (2023).
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement. © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Access Limitations:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement. © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Licence:[Creative Commons] Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Specific Information - Publication
Publication Status:Published
Review Status:Peer reviewed
Publication Type:Article
Article Type:Journal
Source Website:
Volume:228 (2023)
Number of Pages:21 (1 - 21)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Janek Walk
Metadata Created:07.05.2023
Metadata Last Updated:29.08.2023
Funding Phase:2
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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