Minerals are an important component of the soil environment (Dixon et al., 1977). They provide a structural framework which supports plants and contribute to the physical heterogeneity of soil. Minerals also contribute to the fertility of soils. Primary minerals are a source of essential plant nutrients (Harley and Gilkes, 2000). Clay minerals impact on the water-holding capacity of soils, affect the cation exchange capacity of soils (Brown, 1977) and are able to sequester nutrients and contaminants within the soil (Dubbin, 2001).

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Mineral weathering is an important process in soils and...

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