Fragipan is a widely distributed subsoil horizon that induces severe limitations to plant growth and land use, mainly because of its high bulk density. In this work, we evaluated the pore-size distribution through the analysis of the cumulative curve of intruded mercury volume in some soils with fragipan horizons. This approach provides information also about the arrangement of particles, thus we compared the results obtained for fragipan and nonfragipan horizons to relate porosity and particle arrangement with the specific physical properties of fragipans. The total volume of intruded mercury did not allow to discriminate between fragipan and nonfragipan horizons. However, from the variation of the pore volume as a function of the radius, two modal classes of pores were found, coarse and fine, respectively. The fine-pore class arose from the arrangement of clay particles, and its volume was correlated to clay contents (r = 0.787) and to clay packing density (r = –0.621). The clay fractions in fragipans were less densely packed than in the other B horizons, even if they had similar clay contents. The coarser-pore modal class is known to arise from the interactions between clay, silt, and sand particles, and its volume was different among horizons. Fragipan had a low volume of this modal pore class. In addition, a packing density for the coarser phase of 0.74, corresponding to a rhombohedral packing, was found only in fragipans. Thus, the low permeability and high bulk density of fragipans are linked to specific arrangements of the particles: an open packing of the clay phase is associated to an extremely dense packing of silt and sand. This combination is not present in any other soil horizon

Pore-size distribution and particle arrangement in fragipan and non-fragipan horizons

FALSONE, GLORIA;
2009

Abstract

Fragipan is a widely distributed subsoil horizon that induces severe limitations to plant growth and land use, mainly because of its high bulk density. In this work, we evaluated the pore-size distribution through the analysis of the cumulative curve of intruded mercury volume in some soils with fragipan horizons. This approach provides information also about the arrangement of particles, thus we compared the results obtained for fragipan and nonfragipan horizons to relate porosity and particle arrangement with the specific physical properties of fragipans. The total volume of intruded mercury did not allow to discriminate between fragipan and nonfragipan horizons. However, from the variation of the pore volume as a function of the radius, two modal classes of pores were found, coarse and fine, respectively. The fine-pore class arose from the arrangement of clay particles, and its volume was correlated to clay contents (r = 0.787) and to clay packing density (r = –0.621). The clay fractions in fragipans were less densely packed than in the other B horizons, even if they had similar clay contents. The coarser-pore modal class is known to arise from the interactions between clay, silt, and sand particles, and its volume was different among horizons. Fragipan had a low volume of this modal pore class. In addition, a packing density for the coarser phase of 0.74, corresponding to a rhombohedral packing, was found only in fragipans. Thus, the low permeability and high bulk density of fragipans are linked to specific arrangements of the particles: an open packing of the clay phase is associated to an extremely dense packing of silt and sand. This combination is not present in any other soil horizon
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/95691
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