The physical movement of soil materials plays a globally important role in soil genesis, but knowledge of the rates and patterns of these processes and their relationship to soil morphology has lagged behind an understanding of soil chemical processes. In this study, I analyze two separate problems related to physical movement in soil genesis - that of eroded phase soils and cryoturbated soils. In each of these cases, I circumscribe these genetic problems and subsequently apply meteoric Beryllium-10 (10Be) as a critical component of multi-tracer suites at specific study sites. Eroded phase soils: I first re-evaluate the general conceptual framework of soil production and connect it to problems of eroded soil genesis in agricultural landscapes underlain by unconsolidated parent materials (Chapter 1). Then, I explore factors related to the identification and description of eroded phase soils by analyzing the distribution of eroded phase soils in the SSURGO database for the Conterminous U.S (Chapter 2). Lastly, at a field site near the town of Cyrus in west-central Minnesota, I utilize meteoric 10Be to derive rates and depths of total post-settlement erosion by developing numerical conversion models (Chapter 3). Cryoturbated soils: I describe the distribution of cryoturbated soils and gelic materials across a landscape in the central Brooks Range Alaska, a study that prompted the application of 10Be in a multi-tracer suite to understand physical movement processes in Arctic patterened ground (Chapter 4). Through the application of this tracer suite, I constrain rates of material movement in a non-sorted circle (NSC) near Abisko, Sweden. In addition to estimating movement rates throughout the NSC with other tracers, meteoric 10Be allows - for the first time - an estimate of the surficial residence time of cryoturbated parcels now in the subsurface (Chapter 5). The results of this work show that the application of meteoric 10Be and other isotopic, elemental and morphological tracers in studies of soil genesis holds significant promise for elucidating long-standing problems related to the physical movement of soil materials.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2014. Major: Land and Atmospheric Science. Advisor: Kyungsoo Yoo. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 279 pages.
Jelinski, Nicolas Adam.
Problems of physical movement in soil genesis: application of meteoric Beryllium-10 as a component of multi-tracer analysis.
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