Abstract

In this work our purposes are (1) geochemical characterization of loess (‘primary loess’ or ‘true loess’ and ‘secondary loess’ or ‘loess-like deposits’) located in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, (2) systematic study of element behaviour during pedogenesis and (3) evaluation of the suitability of using the geochemistry of loess to establish the average composition of these discontinuous aeolian sedimentary covers in central Spain. Several analyses were carried out on the bulk sample and on the sandy and clay fractions (mineralogical composition by X-ray diffraction, mineralogical studies of heavy minerals by petrographical microscopy and chemical composition by flame atomic absorption spectrometry). Loess from the Spanish central region has a local origin. The presence of gypsum in the ‘loess-like’ deposits reaches values two times higher than in ‘true loess’, and ‘true loess’ has a higher concentration of quartz, calcite and kaolinite. Regarding chemical composition, similar concentrations of Ca, K, Mg and Na were found, although it is important to note the higher concentration of Na in some of the samples.

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