Vertisols and vertic soils of the middle and lower Volga regions

Khitrov, N. B.; Rogovneva, L. V.

Eurasian Soil Science 47(12): 1167-1186


ISSN/ISBN: 1064-2293
DOI: 10.1134/s1064229314090063
Accession: 070729940

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In addition to the earlier known vertic alluvial soils (slitozems) of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain, 44 new areas of Vertisols and vertic soils (according to the WRB), or dark slitozems (according to the new Russian soil classification system), have been found in the Middle and Lower Volga regions from the forest-steppe to the semidesert zones. Though these soils occupy relatively small areas, they are regularly found in the studied regions. Vertisols developed from the clayey alluvial sediments occur in widened parts of the central floodplain in the areas of strong meandering of the river downstream from the areas, where it washes out ancient swelling clay sediments. Many areas of Vertisols and vertic soils are confined to the second Khvalyn terrace of the Volga River composed of the chocolate-brown swelling Khvalyn clay. These soils do not occupy the entire terrace. They have an insular-type distribution and highly diverse in their properties. In the soils developed from the eluvium of the microlayered chocolate-brown marine clay within the Privolzhskaya Upland, vertic features are absent. The destruction of the lithogenic layering in the course of the redeposition of the marine clay with the formation of the new Quaternary clayey sediments creates conditions for the development of vertic soils. The northernmost area of Vertisols proper has been found in the area of the Samara Arc (53.231A degrees N, 049.322A degrees E). The soils with vertic features have been found in Mordovia and Samara oblast even further to the north (up to 54.2A degrees N). Morphometric data on the slickensides, wedge-shaped structure, and depth of the soil cracking are presented.