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The delicate balance between soil production and erosion, and its role on landscape evolution

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • The diversity in landscapes at the Earth’s surface is the result, amongst other things, of the balance (or

    imbalance) between soil production and erosion. While erosion rates are well constrained, it is only

    recently that we have been able to quantify rates of soil production. Uranium-series isotopes have been

    useful to provide such estimates independently of erosion rates. In this study, new U-series isotope are

    presented data from weathering profiles developed over andesitic parent rock in Puerto Rico, and granitic

    bedrock in southeastern Australia. The site in Australia is located on a highland plateau, neighbouring a

    retreating escarpment where soil production rates between 10 and 50 mm/kyr have been determined.

    The results show that production rates are invariant in these two regions of Australia with values

    between 15 and 25 mm/kyr for the new site. Andesitic soils show much faster rates, about 200 mm/

    kyr. Overall, soil production rates determined with U-series isotopes range between 10 and 200 mm/

    kyr. This is comparable to erosion rates in soil-mantled landscapes, but faster than erosion in cratonic

    areas and slower than in alpine regions and cultivated areas. This suggests that soil-mantled landscapes

    maintain soil because they can: there is a balance between production and erosion. Similarly, thick

    weathering profiles develop in cratonic areas because, despite slow erosion rates, soil production is still

    significant. Bare landscapes in Alpine regions are probably the result of the inability of soil production to

    catch up with fast erosion rates, although this needs testing by U-series isotope studies of these regions.

    Finally, the range of production rates is up to several orders of magnitude lower than erosion rates in cultivated

    areas, demonstrating quantitatively the fast depletion of soil resources with common agricultural

    practices.

UOW Authors


  •   Dosseto, Anthony
  •   Buss, Heather L. (external author)
  •   Suresh, P O. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • Dosseto, A., Buss, H. & Suresh, P. O. (2011). The delicate balance between soil production and erosion, and its role on landscape evolution. Applied Geochemistry, 26 S24-S27.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-79955966743

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2159&context=scipapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/1093

Start Page


  • S24

End Page


  • S27

Volume


  • 26

Place Of Publication


  • http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/768/description#description

Abstract


  • The diversity in landscapes at the Earth’s surface is the result, amongst other things, of the balance (or

    imbalance) between soil production and erosion. While erosion rates are well constrained, it is only

    recently that we have been able to quantify rates of soil production. Uranium-series isotopes have been

    useful to provide such estimates independently of erosion rates. In this study, new U-series isotope are

    presented data from weathering profiles developed over andesitic parent rock in Puerto Rico, and granitic

    bedrock in southeastern Australia. The site in Australia is located on a highland plateau, neighbouring a

    retreating escarpment where soil production rates between 10 and 50 mm/kyr have been determined.

    The results show that production rates are invariant in these two regions of Australia with values

    between 15 and 25 mm/kyr for the new site. Andesitic soils show much faster rates, about 200 mm/

    kyr. Overall, soil production rates determined with U-series isotopes range between 10 and 200 mm/

    kyr. This is comparable to erosion rates in soil-mantled landscapes, but faster than erosion in cratonic

    areas and slower than in alpine regions and cultivated areas. This suggests that soil-mantled landscapes

    maintain soil because they can: there is a balance between production and erosion. Similarly, thick

    weathering profiles develop in cratonic areas because, despite slow erosion rates, soil production is still

    significant. Bare landscapes in Alpine regions are probably the result of the inability of soil production to

    catch up with fast erosion rates, although this needs testing by U-series isotope studies of these regions.

    Finally, the range of production rates is up to several orders of magnitude lower than erosion rates in cultivated

    areas, demonstrating quantitatively the fast depletion of soil resources with common agricultural

    practices.

UOW Authors


  •   Dosseto, Anthony
  •   Buss, Heather L. (external author)
  •   Suresh, P O. (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • Dosseto, A., Buss, H. & Suresh, P. O. (2011). The delicate balance between soil production and erosion, and its role on landscape evolution. Applied Geochemistry, 26 S24-S27.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-79955966743

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2159&context=scipapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/1093

Start Page


  • S24

End Page


  • S27

Volume


  • 26

Place Of Publication


  • http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/768/description#description