Central image of vertisols: evolution of concepts of their morphology and genesis

I. V. Kovda1, M. P. Lebedeva2, and E. G. Morgun3

1Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Staromonetnyi per. 29, Moscow 119017, Russia
2Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute, Pyzhevskiy per. 7, Moscow 119017, Russia
3Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, Moscow 119991, Russia

This paper discuss the changes in understanding of the central image of Vertisols and leading processes of their formation. The early concept described Vertisols as black or dark clayey soils with homogenous undifferentiated profile resulted basically of pedoturbation. The further studies discovered vertical differentiation of Vertisol attributes. The application of trench method discovered spatial heterogeneity of Vertisols with alternation of bowl and diapiric structures. Such spatial complex subsurface pattern seems to be rather common and can be found even in the absence of gilgai microrelief. A new central image of a mature Vertisol is a combination of two structural types, one being homogenous and monotonous, generally corresponding to the initial central image, and the other – heterogeneous profile with fragmented horizons. A leading process forming the new central image of Vertisols was defined as lateral shearing or plastic deformations, i.e., plastic movements and gradual upward pushing of moist material (analogy of defluction process). Pedoturbation or more exactly the vertical falling of surface material into the cracks results in the vertical mixing rather than in deformations. Micromorphological features typical of Vertisols and associated with shrink-swell phenomena, cracking, mixing and lateral shearing that are reflected in the central image of Vertisols are summarized in the paper and illustrated by microphotographs.

Key words: Vertisols, vertic (compact) soils, central image, morphology, microstructure, age, evolution.

DOI: 10.19047/0136-1694-2016-86-134-142

For citation: Kovda I.V., Lebedeva M.P., and Morgun E.G. Central image of vertisols: evolution of concepts of their morphology and genesis, Byulleten Pochvennogo instituta im. V.V. Dokuchaeva, 2016, Vol. 86, pp. 134-142. doi: 10.19047/0136-1694-2016-86-134-142


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