Normative Mineralogy of 1170 Soil Profiles across Canada

Aldis, M., Posch, M. ORCID:, & Aherne, J. (2023). Normative Mineralogy of 1170 Soil Profiles across Canada. Minerals 13 (4) e544. 10.3390/min13040544.

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Weathering of soil minerals provides base cations that buffer against acidity, and nutrients that support plant growth. In general, direct observations of soil minerals are rare; however, their abundance can be determined indirectly through soil geochemistry using normative-calculation procedures. This study compiled a data set of major oxide content from published and archived soil geochemical observations for 1170 sites across Canada (averaged over the soil profile [A, B, and C horizons], weighted by depth and bulk density to a maximum depth of 50 cm). Quantitative soil mineralogy (wt%) was systematically determined at each site using the normative method, ‘Analysis to Mineralogy’ (A2M); the efficacy of the approach was evaluated by comparison to X-ray Diffraction (XRD) mineralogy available for a subset of the study sites. At these sites, predicted A2M mineralogy was significantly related to estimated XRD, showing a strong linear relationship for plagioclase, quartz, and K-feldspar, and a moderate linear relationship for chlorite and muscovite. Further, the predicted A2M plagioclase content was almost identical to the estimated XRD soil mineralogy, showing no statistical difference. The Canada-wide predicted quantitative soil mineralogy was consistent with the underlying bedrock geology, such as in north-western Saskatchewan and north-eastern Alberta, which had high amounts of quartz due to the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Other soil minerals (plagioclase, potassium feldspar, chlorite, and muscovite) varied greatly in response to changing bedrock geology across Canada. Normative approaches, such as A2M, provide a reliable approach for national-scale determination of quantitative soil mineralogy, which is essential for the assessment of soil weathering rates.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: major oxides; soil mineralogy; normative procedures; analysis to mineralogy
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Pollution Management (PM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2023 15:09
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2023 15:09

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