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Characteristics and potential pedogenetic processes of a Technosol developing on iron industry deposits

Abstract : Purpose: Technosols include soils dominated or strongly influenced by human-made materials. Similarly to natural soils, technogenic parent materials submitted to environmental factors undergo weathering and transformation processes. But the pedogenesis of Technosols remains little known. With this aim in view, a Technosol developing on purely technogenic materials resulting from an iron industry was thoroughly characterized in order to discuss the pedogenetic evolution of this Technosol using knowledge about the pedogenesis of natural soils. Materials and methods: The studied site was a former settling pond where mainly sludge generated by wet cleaning of blast furnace fumes was dumped probably until the mid-twentieth century. Thereafter, the pond has been colonized by vegetation and is covered by a diversified forest. The soil was composed of contrasted layers. A 20-cm organic layer has developed at the surface. Samples were collected in the first 2 m which are under root influence. Elemental composition, agronomic parameters, mineralogy, as well as the physical and hydraulic properties of the soil materials were characterized. Results and discussion: Some characteristics of the Technosol, e.g. elemental composition, mineralogy or profile stratification, resultedmainly fromindustrial processes. However, someproperties of the Technosol can be comparedwith natural soils. Particularly, the presence of low periodic order minerals and physical and hydraulic properties were analogous to the properties of Andosols. However, alkaline pH and the carbonate contents made the Technosol closer to carbonated soils.Moreover, the presence of Mn oxides, high porosity and water retention were also encountered in Mn-bearing soils. Early pedogenic processes, e.g. development of organic surface layer and signs of mineral weathering, were observed. But transfers seemed to be rather limited and/or slow in the profile. However, the physical and chemical properties, e.g. high water retention and high pH, were rather favourable to element retention. Conclusions: The evolution of the Technosol seems to be still limited in the profile, which could be explained by the high retention capacity of the soil. The presence of highly reactive mineral phases, such as low periodic order Mn oxides or allophane-like minerals, with high contents of carbonates is rarely encountered in the natural environment and may suggest an important potential for pedogenic evolution, which could be directed by the balance between the weathering processes of these phases.
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Hermine Huot, Marie-Odile Simonnot, Philippe Marion, Jacques Yvon, Philippe de Donato, et al.. Characteristics and potential pedogenetic processes of a Technosol developing on iron industry deposits. Journal of Soils and Sediments, Springer Verlag, 2013, 13 (3), pp.555-568. ⟨10.1007/s11368-012-0513-1⟩. ⟨hal-00789535⟩

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