Abstract

There are two different views regarding the genesis of gibbsite in tropical acid soils: (1) direct weathering of primary Al-silicate minerals; and (2) transformation through clay mineral intermediates. We investigated the genesis of gibbsite in two representative Ultisols from northeastern India. Gibbsite in these Ultisols appears to be the remnant of earlier weathering products of aluminosilicate minerals formed in a neutral to alkaline pedochemical environment. The mere presence of gibbsite in these soils, therefore, does not indicate their advanced stage of weathering. The formation of typically rod-shaped and well-crystallized gibbsite in both the coarse and fine soil fractions in the presence of large amounts of 2:1 minerals indicates that the anti-gibbsite hypothesis may not be tenable in these tropical acid soils. A schematic model for the formation of gibbsite and kaolin in Ultisols is proposed.

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