Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Multianalytical Pedosystem Approach to Characterizing and Interpreting the Fossil Record of Soils

By
Lee C. Nordt
Lee C. Nordt
Department of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798, USA Lee_Nordt@baylor.eduDepartment of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Charles T. Hallmark
Charles T. Hallmark
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, 370 Olsen Blvd., College Station, Texas 77843, USADepartment of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Steven G. Driese
Steven G. Driese
Department of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Stephen I. Dworkin
Stephen I. Dworkin
Department of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2013

Abstract

Interpretations of critical zones, past and present, are dependent on the comprehensive characterization of morphological, physical, chemical, biological, and mineralogical properties of soils as the biogeochemical mediator of Earth’s surface processes. The traditional approach of studying fossil soils (paleosols), however, is modeled after methods developed during the advent of pedology in the early 20th century. Even though there have been remarkable advances in the development of analytical procedures for modern soils (pedology), advancements in paleopedology have not proceeded past whole-rock geochemical characterization. Here, we develop multianalytical strategies combining traditional and modern approaches to studying paleosols that include direct laboratory measurement, petrographic analysis, and pedotransfer functions. In addition to standardizing the characterization of paleosols, doing so will also contribute to more robust geoinformatic compilations and strengthen interpretations of soil processes, soil taxonomic classification, edaphic controls, and climate conditions in the past. We applied the multianalytical approach to a paleosol from the Late Triassic and demonstrate that it classifies as a Vertisol based on slickensides identified in the field, sepic fabric in thin section, and high values for variables such as total and fine clay content, coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE), smectite content, and available water capacity (AWC). Reconstructed cation exchange capacity (CEC), pH, and base saturation point to a plentiful supply of plant available nutrients. Most reconstructed properties appear to have been reasonably preserved because of shallow burial depths and the formation of slowly permeable claystones. Further testing of direct analytical techniques and the development of pedotransfer functions beyond Vertisols are needed to improve the characterization of the full range of properties expected in the fossil rock record of soils.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

SEPM Special Publication

New Frontiers in Paleopedology and Terrestrial Paleoclimatology: Paleosols and Soil Surface Analog Systems

Steven G. Driese
Steven G. Driese
Search for other works by this author on:
Lee C. Nordt
Lee C. Nordt
Department of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798-7354, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
104
ISBN electronic:
9781565763036
Publication date:
January 01, 2013

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal