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Soil Formation and Mass Redistribution during the Holocene Using Meteoric 10Be, Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Musso Alessandra, Tikhomirov Dmitry, Plötze Michael L., Greinwald Konrad, Hartmann Anne, Geitner Clemens, Maier Fabian, Petibon Fanny, Egli Markus,
Project HILLSCAPE (HILLSlope Chronosequence And Process Evolution) - Identifying dominant controls on hillslope functioning and feedback processes by interdisciplinary experiments along chronosequences
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Geosciences
Volume (Issue) 12(2)
Page(s) 99 - 99
Title of proceedings Geosciences
DOI 10.3390/geosciences12020099

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Soil development and erosion are important and opposing processes in the evolution of high-mountainous landscapes, though their dynamics are not fully understood. We compared soil development between a calcareous and a siliceous chronosequence in the central Swiss Alps at high altitudes, which both cover soil formation over the Holocene. We calculated element mass balances, long-term erosion rates based on meteoric 10Be and we determined the rates of soil formation. We also analyzed the shifts in the mineralogical composition, weathering indices, the particle size distribution, carbon stocks and oxalate extractable Fe, Al, and Mn. The siliceous soils had high chemical weathering rates at the early stage of soil formation that strongly decreased after a few millennia. The development of calcareous soil was characterized by high carbonate losses and a shift to finer soil texture. Soil erosion hampered the upbuilding of soil horizons in the early stages of soil development, which led to a delay in soil and vegetation development. This study shows how soil formation drivers change over time. In the early stages of soil development, the parent material predominantly drives soil formation while at later stages the vegetation becomes more dominant as it influences surface stability, hydrological pathways, and chemical weathering that determine water drainage and retention.