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Lithological control on soil chemistry, Northern Ireland

Ashton, Nicola; Pattrick, R.A.D.; Lloyd, J.R.; van Dongen, B.E.; Tye, A.. 2011 Lithological control on soil chemistry, Northern Ireland. [Poster] In: British Organic Geochemistry Meeting, Swansea, UK, July 2011. (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

The geological diversity of Northern Ireland provides a unique opportunity to investigate the effects of differing lithologies upon the (organic) geochemistry of overlying soils. This will aid the understanding of how this influences the microbial populations within the soil and their role in biochemical cycling. Whilst several factors contribute to the properties of developing soils, source rock is one of the major controls in determining chemistry and formation rate (Chengmin et al., 2004). The array of geological ages and formations within Northern Ireland occurs over a relatively small area. When this is combined with the glacial history of the British-Irish ice sheet during the last glacial maximum which stripped away the regolith (Evans et al., 2005), any soils present now will all be of the same age and will have undergone the same climatic conditions. The Tellus project, an intense high resolution geochemical mapping study which analysed soil samples across the whole of Northern Ireland between 1994 and 2006, has been utilised to select sites of potential interest where specific elements (e.g. Ni and Co) occur in high concentrations and evidence of anthropogenic activity is absent. Analysing the organic components of soils derived from different geological sequences within Northern Ireland is just one part of this interdisciplinary study. Soil organic matter varies in response to geology, vegetation and climate and has a vital role within element cycling. However, the relationship between organics and element cycling within soils is not well known. A recent study of Irish and UK soils identified linear correlations between TOC and TSe and a more specific correlation with acid functional groups (Fellowes, J. et al., unpublished data). Soils derived from Palaeogene Basalts, Carboniferous Limestone, Devonian Sandstone and Granite as well as Ordovician Shale were selected for analysis, including bulk organic chemistry and biomarker analysis of selected soil horizons. The results of other geochemical analyses (e.g. ICP-MS, XRF/XRD), investigations of the microbial communities present using TR-FLP profiling and results of lab based microcosm experiments using soils obtained from the field, are combined to identify the different processes operating. References Chengmin, H., Zitong, G., Yurong, H., 2004. Elemental geochemistry of a soil chronosequence on basalt on northern Hainan Island, China. Chinese Journal of Geochemistry 23, 245-254. Evans, D.J.A., Clark, C.D., Mitchell, W.A., 2005. The last British Ice Sheet: A review of the evidence utilised in the compilation of the Glacial Map of Britain. Earth-Science Reviews 70, 253-312.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Poster)
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Climate Change Science
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 06 Aug 2012 13:28
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/19032

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