The physical and chemical properties of soils formed in an arid climate on calcareous alluvium of the Kyle Canyon alluvial fan, southern Nevada, were studied in order to infer the rates and relative importance of various soil-forming processes. These studies included field and microscopic observations and analyses of thin sections, major oxides, extractable iron, and clay minerals. The results are interpreted to reflect five major pedogenic processes: (1) The calcic horizons and calcretes of Kyle Canyon soils form by precipitation of CaCO3, derived from eolian dust and alluvium, as clast coats, matrix cement, and massive layers. (2) The A and uppermost B horizons are essentially dust-derived, for they contain large amounts of detrital material not present in the alluvial parent material, and their major-oxide content is similar to that of modern dust. (3) Clay particles are translocated from A into B horizons. (4) Iron-bearing minerals in the near-surface B horizons are slowly oxidized. (5) Carbonate and aluminosilicate grains are both displaced and replaced by pedogenic CaCO3; the silica released by replacement of aluminosilicates may be locally precipitated as amorphous or opaline silica and (or) incorporated into newly formed palygorskite and sepiolite. Rates of soil development at Kyle Canyon are approximate due to uncertainties in age estimates. Some soil field properties change at rates that are similar to rates for soils formed in rhyolitic parent material near Mercury, Nevada. The rate of accumulation of CaCO3 (3-5 g m-2 yr-1) at Kyle Canyon is an order of magnitude faster than that near Mercury, but is comparable to rates calculated for soils in southern New Mexico and Utah. ?? 1992.
Additional publication details
Morphology and genesis of carbonate soils on the Kyle Canyon fan, Nevada, U.S.A.