Windows on Antarctic soil–landscape relationships: comparison across selected regions of Antarctica
Megan R. Balks, Jerónimo López-Martínez, Sergey V. Goryachkin, Nikita S. Mergelov, Carlos E. G. R. Schaefer, Felipe N. B. Simas, Peter C. Almond, Graeme G. C. Claridge, Malcolm Mcleod, Joshua Scarrow, 2013. "Windows on Antarctic soil–landscape relationships: comparison across selected regions of Antarctica", Antarctic Palaeoenvironments and Earth-Surface Processes, M. J. Hambrey, P. F. Barker, P. J. Barrett, V. Bowman, B. Davies, J. L. Smellie, M. Tranter
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This paper brings together topographic cross-section ‘windows’ from across Antarctica to illustrate soil–landscapes from the margins of the polar plateau in the Transantarctic Mountains and McMurdo Dry Valleys, through East Antarctic coastal areas, to the northern Antarctic Peninsula Region. Soils identified range from Gelisols in the Ross Sea Region, through Gelisols and Entisols in coastal East Antarctica, to a mixture of Gelisols, Entisols, Spodosols and Inceptisols in the northern Antarctic Peninsula Region where permafrost is not ubiquitous. The relative impacts of the soil-forming factors are considered. At a continental scale climate is the main driver of the differences observed between soils in different areas. At local scales strong soil–topographic relationships are observed. Organisms, time and parent material are dominant influences on soil properties only in relatively localized situations. Organisms dominate in areas of organic matter or guano accumulation and time is a dominant influence on exceptionally old upland surfaces in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. The US Department of Agriculture’s Soil Taxonomy gives a useful overall appraisal of Antarctic soils; however, for detailed work, there is a need to introduce some new categories at subgroup level to better capture the range of soils described.
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Antarctic Palaeoenvironments and Earth-Surface Processes
The volume highlights developments in our understanding of the palaeogeographical, palaeobiological, palaeoclimatic and cryospheric evolution of Antarctica. It focuses on the sedimentary record from the Devonian to the Quaternary Period. It features tectonic evolution and stratigraphy, as well as processes taking place adjacent to, beneath and beyond the ice-sheet margin, including the continental shelf.
The contributions in this volume include several invited review papers, as well as original research papers arising from the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh, in July 2011. These papers demonstrate a remarkable diversity of Earth science interests in the Antarctic. Following international trends, there is particular emphasis on the Cenozoic Era, reflecting the increasing emphasis on the documentation and understanding of the past record of ice-sheet fluctuations. Furthermore, Antarctic Earth history is providing us with important information about potential future trends, as the impact of global warming is increasingly felt on the continent and its ocean.