Soil characteristics in a small steepland watershed underlain by schist in a rainy, tectonically active area in northwestern California show close associations with drainage-basin position and slope characteristics. Five soil-topography units based on these associations are defined in the study watershed. Spatial relationships of soil series, and patterns of soil development as indicated by B-horizon clay content and redness, reflect interactions between pedogenesis and erosion. General soil-topography patterns include: (1) decreases in soil-development moving from low-order to higher-order stream vallyes; and (2) more developed soils on north-facing as opposed to south-facing slopes. Decreases in soil-profile development moving from slopes near low-order streams to slopes near higher-order streams approximately correlate with increases in gradient, vertical relief, and drainage density, and reflect a more vigorous stripping of regolith by erosion on the slopes near the higher-order streams. The larger percentage of area covered by the more developed soils on north-facing as opposed to south-facing slopes appears to reflect a contrast in the way dominant erosional processes interact with pedogenic processes. Roadcuts on middle and upper slopes show soil discontinuities indicative of disturbance by block slides or slumps or both. Roadcuts on lower slopes show disrupted soils in small bedrock hollows that could have been created by rapid, shallow landslides or by the pulled-up root wads of toppled trees. Soil-profile characteristics and soil-topography patterns in the study area demonstrate that both erosional and pedogenic processes need to be considered when interpreting characteristics of hillslope soils. ?? 1986.
Additional publication details
A soil catena on schist in northwestern California