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Mineralogical and chemical studies of the Alberni clay. Osborne, V. E.

Abstract

A study was undertaken to determine some of the chemical and mineralogical characteristics of the Alberni Slay, a Vancouver Island soil which is the representative of the concretionary Brown Group of soils. Chemical analyses showed that iron, silica and aluminum are leached from the profile and though considerable quantities of these elements are precipitated on the surfaces of peds in the deeper horizons of the soil, no horizon of accumulation was formed. The retention of iron in the surface horizon in the form of free iron oxides maintained the percentage of iron in that horizon comparable with the percentage in the C horizon, and resulted in the formation of highly stable concretions in the A-B horizon of the soil. The formation of concretions seemed to have been influenced by the high magnetite content of the soil. The interaction between the positively charged surface of the magnetite particles and organic anion complexes of the cations of the first transitional series impeded the movement of these complexes through the slowly permeable soil and permitted absorption and precipitation to form concretions. The x-ray analyses of the clays revealed a weathering sequence in which chlorite was developed, from weathered primary minerals. The formula for the chlorite separated from the surface horizon clays was calculated and it was found to be a dioctahedral Al-chlorite which had been predicted by Grim and by Brindley, but which had not been previously identified in soils.

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