Pedogenesis of a Retisol with fragipan in Karelia in the context of the Holocene landscape evolution

Lilit Pogosyan, Sergey Sedov, Teresa Pi-Puig, Pavel Ryazantsev, Aleksander Rodionov, Anna V. Yudina, Pavel Krasilnikov

Fragipan is a compacted but non-cemented subsurface horizon, considered as a pedogenic horizon, but the mechanism of its formation is not well understood. The main hydro-consolidation hypothesis involves a collapse of soil structure when it is loaded and wet, resulting a reorganisation of pore space. Soils with fragipan never have been marked in Russian soil maps. In the South Karelia, located in Eastern Fennoscandia (34.50921 E and 61.33186 N, 110 m asl) we studied a soil profile of Albic Fragic Retisol (Cutanic), developed in the glacial till of Last Glaciation with flat sub-horizontal topography under an aspen-spruce forest. The aim of this study was to demonstrate how the fragic horizon was formed in the Retisol located in South Karelia. Observations were made in each soil horizon using micromorphological method, particle size analysis and the study of mineralogical composition of clay fraction by X-ray diffraction. The analysis of the morphological description combined with the laboratory data have led us to the conclusion that the consolidation of the fragipan occurred after the textural differentiation of the profile, following the Atlantic Optimum, and does not depend on the presence of swelling clay minerals. The well-developed argic horizon was probably formed around 6000 years ago, under climatic conditions more favourable for clay illuviation than in present time. Fragipan is supposed to be developed during the Sub-Boreal cooling.

Keywords • soil genesis • illuviation clay • Holocene soil

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