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Biogeochemistry of an amazonian podzol-ferralsol soil system with white kaolin

Author(s): Y. Lucas | C. R. Montes | S. Mounier | M. Loustau-Cazalet | D. Ishida | R. Achard | C. Garnier | A. J. Melfi

Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN 1810-6277

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 2233;
Date: 2012;
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Podzol-ferralsol soil systems cover great areas in Amazonia and in other equatorial regions, they are an end-member of old equatorial landscape evolution, are frequently associated with kaolin deposits and store and export large amounts of carbon. Their biogeochemistry was usually inferred from soil mineralogy and from spring or river water properties. This paper presents a database for groundwaters sampled in situ in a typical podzol-ferralsol soil catena from the Alto Rio Negro region, Brazil; the sampling periods allowed to sample under high- and low-level water-table conditions. The compositions of the groundwaters percolating the soil system are consistent with the currently observed mineral and organic paragenesis. The acidity and the site density of the dissolved organic matter (DOM) produced and circulating in the podzol white sand horizons are similar to what was observed in acid podzolic temperate zone. The aggressiveness of the white sand groundwater with regard to secondary minerals favours the podzol development at the expense of the ferralsolic or kaolin material. Some DOM is able to percolate in depth through clayey material with concentrations up to 9.7 mgC l−1 (4.0 on average). This DOM is characterized by high site densities indicating a large proportion of small carboxylic acids. In the deep kaolin and in the ferralsolic horizons, the Si and Al content of the groundwater is controlled by gibbsite and kaolinite precipitation/dissolution and by quartz dissolution. The mobility of Fe, mainly transported as Fe2+, is sensitive to small variations in EH. The bleaching of the deep kaolin at the upper part of the slopes is favoured by the high content of small carboxylic compounds and by the redox conditions of the solutions issuing from the podzolic horizons. The transfer of Al and Fe result in the precipitation of Al-nodules in slope horizons and of Fe-oxides in the upper downslope horizon. It can be inferred that thick bleached kaolin are likely everywhere presently active giant podzols are close to a slope gradient sufficient to allow deep percolation of groundwater.
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