Transformations of clay minerals were studied in a sequence of podzols (Entic Cryorthods) of increasing age (5500-10000 years BP) developed from till materials in central Finland. The age of the soils was estimated according to altitude above the present sea level, with reference to the age of ancient shorelines and the rate of land uplift. Clay minerals in fine (<0.1 mu m), coarse (0.1-2 mu m) clay and fine silt (2-5 mu m) fractions were studied by X-ray diffraction. The layer charge of expandable minerals was estimated on the basis of their re-expansion with ethylene glycol following K-saturation and heating to 110 degrees C. Pedogenic transformations of clay minerals occur essentially in the E horizons of the podzols. Smectites and illite-smectite mixed-layers are the dominant clay minerals in the E horizons of soils older than 6500 years. The number of mixed-layers decreases with evolution of the soil, leaving a nearly pure smectite phase in the oldest soil (10000 years). The smectites are dioctahedral with a tetrahedral charge. Groups of low-charge and high-charge interlayers are both present in the samples, but low-charge smectite layers were found only in the two older soils (9500-10000 years). This suggests alteration with time of the high-charge smectites.

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