Genesis of subsurface horizons of a soil catena in a humid tropical climate (Yaounde, Cameroon)

Embrechts, J.; Sys, C.

Catena 15(1): 53-63


ISSN/ISBN: 0341-8162
DOI: 10.1016/0341-8162(88)90016-1
Accession: 001601632

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A soil catena situated between the summit and the footslope of an inselberg in southern Cameroon has been studied. The b-fabric of the B-horizons of the catena is dominantly circular striated. This is due to the packing of micropeds consisting of a non or weakly birefringent core and a birefringent wall. Clay and Fe oxyhydroxides are the main constituents of the micropeds. The birefringent microped wall consists of easily dispersible (E.D.) clay. The micropeds, mainly those of the upper soil horizons (< +or- 50 cm), are subject to microstructurolysis, a fragmentation of the microstructure. During microstructurolysis E.D. clay is produced.As a result of microstructurolysis on the one hand and the formation of zoogeneous micropeds close to the soil surface on the other a so-called consistency horizon develops in the transition zone between the A- and the B-horizons. In sloping positions in the landscape a lateral water flow develops on top of the consistency horizon and less water percolates through the profile. E.D. clay is transported in the lateral water flow causing clay impoverishment. Depending on the amount of percolation water and the slope gradient and on the position in the landscape, a color B-(cambic) horizon, a textural B-(argillic) horizon or a ferrallitic B-(oxic) horizon may be formed.