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Hula valley israel peat review of chemical and geochemical aspects



Hula valley israel peat review of chemical and geochemical aspects



Soil Science 125(4): 226-232



In the Hula Valley, Israel, 4 layers of peat of Middle Pleistocene to Holocene age, interbedded with limnic clays and marls, are found above 300 m depth. The main detrital minerals are kaolinite, montmorillonite and illite. Average elemental values of organic matter of dry peat are: C, 15-29%; H, 1.8-3%; N, 0.8-1.2% and S, 2.3-5%. The ash content (on dry basis) is 36-59%. The average calorific value ranges from 1670-3400 cal/g. Organic constituents isolated from the upper layer (Peat Horizon One) include: C12 to C26 fatty acids, .beta.-sitosterol, .beta.-sitostanol, friedelin and friedelanol, ceryl alcohol, a series of hydrocarbons, among them polycyclic hydrocarbon, perylene, 13 amino acids and a series of polysaccharides of MW in the range of 40,000. A detailed quantitative investigation of the distribution with depth in the top peat layer of the humic, fulvic and hymatomelanic acids, as well as of the .beta.-humus and humin, showed humin to be the dominant fraction of the organic matter. Its amount increases from 62% of the organic matter (by weight) at the surface to 70-90% at 2 m depth. The fulvic acid and polysaccharides show rapid decrease with depth, accompanied by concomitant increase in the .beta.-humus. The humic acid increases with depth. Analysis of the peat organic fractions for C and H stable isotopes shows that with depth the difference in .delta.C13 between the humic and fulvic acids disappears and the .delta.C13 stabilizes at around -18 parts per thousand. The isotope data indicate the dynamic nature of the fulvic acid in the peat. The .delta.D values were around -60 parts per thousand, but the data are too meager for any firm conclusion.

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