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Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

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Genesis of a Holocene soil chronosequence from the southernmost Andes T

Mountains, Tierra del Fuego
Mariana M.F. Sáa, Carlos E.G.R. Schaeferb, James G. Bockheimc, Diego C. Loureirod,

Roberto F.M. Michele, , Felipe N.B. Simasb
Embrapa Agrobiologia, Rodovia BR-465, Km 7, Seropédica, RJ, Brazil
INCT/Criosfera, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamente de Solos, Av. PH Rolfs, Viçosa, MG, Brazil
University of Wisconsin, 1525 Observatory Drive, Madison, USA
Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Rua Cláudio Batista, s/n, Aracaju, SE, Brazil
Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Dep. De Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais, Rodovia Jorge Amado, km 16, Ilhéus, BA, Brazil


Keywords: At the southernmost Andes Mountains, the Martial cirque glacier has retreated 2 km in distance and 500 m in
Soil development elevation since the mid-Holocene. This study examines soil properties, processes, and classification in relation to
Soil classification soil age and elevation. Soils were sampled at elevations from 430 to 925 m a.s.l. on drifts periodically influenced
Podsolization by volcanic ash that represent five age classes: 5.0 to 6.0 kyr BP under deciduous Nothofagus pumilio forest; 1.3 to
3.2 kyr BP under N. pumilio and N. antarctica forest and tundra; 0.3 to 1.4 kyr BP under tundra; 0.3 Kyr BP CE
Cordillera Darwin
Soil chronosequence
under tundra; and 0.007 Kyr BP CE under scattered lichens and mosses. The soils represent a developmental
sequence on metapellitic rocks ranging from: Cryorthents, Dystrocryepts, Humicryepts, and Humicryods. In
general the soils contain abundant coarse fragments, sandy loam textures, and high levels of organic C. Clays
have been altered in the soils from chlorite to a hydroxyl-interlayered vermiculite and ferrihydrite. The most
developed soils are very strongly acid, Al saturated, and have illuvial horizons enriched in fulvic-acid C and
organic-bound forms of free Fe and Al. The following properties are highly correlated with soil age: pyropho-
sphate soluble iron (Fep) in the B horizon (R2 = 0.97), color-development equivalence in the B horizon
(R2 = 0.87), clay content of the B horizon (R2 = 0.68), and fulvic-acid C in the B horizon (R2 = 0.65). The
results of this study imply that soil formation in magellanic subantarctic forests and tundra is rapid and involves
podsolization, andisolization, and humification as primary soil-forming processes.

1. Introduction glacier retreat, organic carbon (OC) contents of clay fractions strongly
increased resulting in lower mineral specific surface area and higher
Soil chronosequences decode spatial differences among soils into CECpH7. Thus, OC accumulation was faster than the supply of mineral
temporal differences (Huggett, 1998), comprehending genetically as- surfaces by weathering.
sociated sets of soils evolved under similar conditions of parent mate- Located in the southern-most Andes Mountains of Tierra del Fuego,
rial, vegetation, topography, and climate (Harden, 1982). Changes in the terminus of the Martial Glacier has retreated 2 km in distance and
soil properties through time reflect the pedogenetic development and 500 m in elevation since the mid-Holocene (Planas et al., 2002; Strelin
the rate in which these processes take place, providing valuable in- and Iturraspe, 2007), offering an excellent opportunity for studying
formation for testing theories of pedogenesis. Also, they are central to changes in soil development in a sub-Antarctic environment periodi-
much soil–geomorphic research (Birkeland, 1990). Proglacial and cally influenced by volcanic ash. Soil-forming processes in Tierra del
periglacial areas frequently provide a good opportunity to observe Fuego are poorly understood, and the few published works generally
pedogenetic development due to well-established date of exposure of describe properties and the broad distribution of soil taxa across the
the parent material. Mavris et al. (2010) found weathering trends that region (Frederiksen, 1988; Gutiérrez et al., 1991; Colmet-Daage et al.,
could be measured within only 150 yr of soil development, including 1991; Nóvoa-Muñoz et al., 2008). Understanding early system soil
physical and chemical weathering as well as mineral transformation evolution in a subantarctic environment is poorly constrained specially
occurring at high rates. Dümig et al. (2012) found increasing age after regarding soils with andic and spodic properties. A better

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (R.F.M. Michel).
Received 13 February 2017; Received in revised form 23 October 2017; Accepted 1 November 2017
Available online 13 November 2017
0341-8162/ © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

understanding of age-related trends, elevation-related trends as well as 54°48′S; 68°22′-68°25′W), on Isla Grande (Tierra del Fuego), Argentina
dominant soil-forming processes in such a particular environment is (Fig. 1). Tierra del Fuego, encompasses a group of Islands separated by
relevant for soil science and can help understanding soil development channels and straits from continental Patagonia, is located 1200 km
as a whole. from the Antarctic Peninsula. In this extreme part of the southern
Frederiksen's (1988) pioneering study employed GIS accompanied Andes, soils and vegetation vary strongly according to elevation. The
by ground truthing to examine soil-landscape relations in Tierra del Martial Glacier, part of the Darwin Cordillera, is located north of the
Fuego. These soils often are shallow and enriched with organic matter city of Ushuaia. Due to its proximity to Ushuaia (~ 5 km), it is a field
(OM) at the surface, with the following order of abundance: Cambisols/ area for long-term glaciological monitoring (Strelin and Iturraspe,
Inceptisols > Chernozems/Mollisols > Spodosols > Andisols > 2007). Meltwater from the glacier represents an important source of
Histosols > eutric Ultisols (del Valle, 1998). The deciduous temperate water for the city (Planas et al., 2002; Strelin and Iturraspe, 2007).
Nothofagus forests of Tierra del Fuego frequently are associated with The Darwin Cordillera is composed of strongly folded Cretaceous
Spodosols, non-allophanic Andosols/Andisols, and dystric Cambisols/ metamorphic rocks, which form an east-west aligned mountain range
Inceptisols (Mazzarino et al., 1998). Frederiksen (1988) and Colmet- (Strelin and Iturraspe, 2007). The metamorphic rocks of Cordillera
Daage et al. (1991) also reported the presence of spodic and andic Darwin are comprised of black shales with quartz veins, interbedded
features properties in soils of Tierra del Fuego. marine turbidites, and andesitic tuffs, known as the Yaghan Formation
The purpose of this study is to examine the evolution of soil prop- (Olivero and Martinioni, 2001). Common minerals in these rocks are:
erties and soil-forming processes in a subantarctic environment, with an chlorite, sericite, quartz, albite, and epidote. The crest of the Andes is
emphasis on time of exposure and elevation of soils with andic and about 1000 m lower in the Ushuaia area than in the western portion of
spodic properties. the Cordillera. The lower altitude and drier climate result in a smaller
glaciated area than in the Chilean portion of the Cordillera (Strelin and
Iturraspe, 2007).
2. Materials and methods The climate is cold oceanic, with strong southwest winds in late
spring and early summer (Tuhkanen, 1992). The average annual tem-
2.1. Setting perature of Ushuaia is 5.5 °C, with an average of 1.6 °C in the coldest
month (July) and 9.6 °C in the warmest month (January)
The study was carried out in the Martial Glacier Valley (54°46′-

Fig. 1. Location of study area: A) The situation of Tierra del Fuego in South America and the Antarctica Peninsula; B) Martial Valley, in the Darwin Cordillera; C) Location of pedons in
Martial Sur sector.

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Fig. 2. Block diagram showing the distribution of

soil pedons and associated landscapes.

(Puigdefabregas et al., 1988). Soils have a cryic temperature regime, in et al., 2002; Strelin and Iturraspe, 2007; Iturraspe, 2011).
which mean annual soil temperature at 50 cm is below 8 °C but above The distribution of permafrost in the Ushuaia region is poorly un-
0 °C and the variation between the three summer months (December derstood; some reports suggest that it occurs at altitudes > 800 m a.s.l.
through February) and the three winter months (June through August) (Corte, 1997; Iturraspe, 2011) and others that it occurs between 1000
is ≤ 6 °C (Soil Survey Staff, 2014). At 600 m a.s.l. the estimated average and 1330 m a.s.l. (Trombotto, 2008). The most important periglacial
annual temperature is 2.5 °C, and at 900 m, where a polar cold climate landforms are, in order of decreasing altitude: rockglaciers, gelifluction
occurs, it is close to 0 °C (Puigdefabregas et al., 1988). lobes, patterned ground, solifluction lobes, and stone garlands
The annual precipitation at sea level is 500 mm, and is evenly dis- (Trombotto, 2008). In the current climatic context, processes involving
tributed throughout the year; there are 40 to 50 days per year with frequent freeze and thaw cycles occur above 650 m altitude in soils of
snow (Puigdefabregas et al., 1988). The precipitation at tree line Mount Martial.
(600 m a.s.l.) is approximately 1000 mm yr− 1 (Brancaleoni et al., Deciduous forests of Nothofagus pumilio, with patches of evergreen
2003; Iturraspe, 2011). The soil moisture regime is udic. Nothofagus betuloides and poorly drained peatlands, are the main plant
The Martial valley has been strongly shaped by glacial action, fol- formations up to 500 m a.s.l (Strelin and Iturraspe, 2007). In the
lowed by periglacial processes and cryogenic weathering (Iturraspe, transition to high Andean tundra vegetation, Nothofagus pumilio is
2011). The earliest glaciation recorded in the area was approximately gradually replaced by Nothofagus antarctica, forming an abrupt contact
1.0–1.2 Ma ago, during which the ice from the Southern Andes reached at the upper limit of forest. In this transitional zone, trees show a
the Atlantic Ocean, described by Mercer (1976) as the “Great Patago- dramatic reduction in height and the growth occurs close to the ground,
nian Glaciation.” During the last glacial maximum (LGM; 26.5 to a condition called krummholz (Moore, 1983). Above tree line, Sub-
20 kyr B.P., Clark et al., 2009), glacial activity was widespread and antarctic Tundra is predominant. According to Trombotto (2008) the
intensive, so that most ice-free areas today are composed of moraines, krummholz forest represents the beginning of the periglacial zone,
outwash, and related materials (Pisano, 1975; Arroyo et al., 1995). At where cryogenic processes become important. In Tierra del Fuego,
least five Holocene glacial pulses have been reported in the area: tundra develops above 600 to 700 m, where the average January
5–6 kyr, 1.3–3.2 kyr, 0.3–1.4 kyr, 0.3 kyr and 0.07 kyr B.P. (Planas temperature is below 10 °C, and soil processes are affected by seasonal

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

freezing and thawing of the surface (Coronato et al., 2008). 2.3. Laboratory
Tundra vegetation occurs in areas with favorable microclimatic
conditions, such as sunlight, water and nutrients, and in wind-protected Chemical and physical soil properties were determined using stan-
areas, forming dense cushions on the soil surface (Brancaleoni et al., dard procedures by EMBRAPA (1997, 2013). Soil pH, exchangeable
2003). Tundra vegetation is composed of cushion plants and dwarf cations, available nutrients, and texture were determined on < 2 mm
plants adapted to extreme conditions and short growing seasons (Lewis air-dried samples. Moisture content was determined on a second set of
Smith, 1984; Coronato et al., 2008). The main plant species in Sub- samples to adjust the values to oven-dry conditions (EMBRAPA, 1997).
antarctic Tundra vary widely, but in our study area the most common Soil dispersion pretreatment was performed by shaking at slow rotation
species are Bolax gummifera, Empetrum rubrum, Azorella lycopodioides, (16 h) with 0.1 M NaOH as a dispersant (Ruiz, 2005). Soil texture was
Colobanthus subulatus and Muscosus drapetes, along with grasses such as determined by sieving of the coarse sand (2–0.25 mm) and fine sand
Festuca contracta, and different species of lichens and mosses (0.25–0.05 mm) fractions, the clay (< 2 μm) fraction was determined
(Brancaleoni et al., 2003). by the pipette method, and the silt (0.05–0.002 mm) fraction obtained
by difference. Soil bulk density was obtained by volumetric ring, col-
lected in triplicate (EMBRAPA, 1997). Bulk density values were cor-
2.2. Field rected for coarse fragments.
Potential acidity (H + Al) was determined by titration, after ex-
The geomorphic, vegetation, and soil studies at the Martial Glacier traction with 0.5 M Ca (CH3COO2) at pH 7.0. Soil pH was determined in
were conducted during two field campaigns: May 2010 and November distilled water and a 1 M KCl solution (ratio: 1:2.5) (EMBRAPA, 1997).
2011. The main lithology is a sequence of metapellitic rocks reworked Total organic carbon (TOC) was quantified from dry combustion. Soil
by the Quaternary Glaciations, forming moraines and drifts of varying carbon was fractioned into fulvic acid, humic acid and humin forms
ages. Following extensive transecting and random examination of soils, (Yeomans and Bremner, 1988). Total nitrogen (TN) was determined by
six profiles (P1 through P6) were described and sampled along an the Kjeldahl method (EMBRAPA, 1997).
elevation gradient of 460 m to 940 m, with the vegetation including The Ca+ 2, Mg+ 2 and Al+ 3 were extracted with a 1 M KCl 1 solution
Nothofagus forest at sites P1 and P2, Subantarctic Tundra at sites P3 (1:10). Available K+, Na+ and P+ were extracted with Mehlich-1
through P5, and lichens and mosses at site P6 (Fig. 2). The period (0.05 M HCl + 0.0125 M H2SO4, 1:10) and determined by spectro-
without frozen soils extends from September to April at low elevations; photometer (available P) and flame emission photometer (Na+ and K+)
this period reduces with decreasing altitude, ranging from 212 to (EMBRAPA, 1997). The pH in 1 M NaF was used to verify the occur-
123 days/yr (Barrera et al., 2000). Precipitation increases with in- rence of poorly crystalline minerals (Fieldes and Perrott, 1966). The
creasing elevation, at a mean rate of ca. 120 mm/100 m. Mean pre- remaining P (P-REM) was obtained after shaking a sample with 0.01 M
cipitation at 220 m a.s.l. is estimated as 660 to 720 mm. Total annual CaCl2, containing 60 mg L− 1 P (with 1:10 ratio), according to Alvarez
precipitation and percentage falling as snow roughly doubles between and Fonseca (1990), and the remaining P in solution was determined
220 m a.s.l. and 640 a.s.l. At Ushuaia the snow percentage is 33% according to Murphy and Riley (1962). The < 2 mm fraction from all
versus 68–70% at 640 m a.s.l. (Barrera et al., 2000). horizons was examined under a petrological microscope and hand
Soils were sampled on drifts of different ages along this elevation lenses to verify the presence of volcanic glass (shards).
gradient, including from oldest to youngest, 6 to 5 kyr B.P. (P1), 1.3 to The minerals in air-dried samples (< 2 μm) were identified by X-ray
3.2 kyr B.P. (P2 and P3), 0.3–1.4 B.P. (P4), 0.3 kyr B.P. (P5), and diffraction. The clay fraction was obtained without the use of a dis-
0.07 kyr B.P. (P6), as determined by age of Holocene glacial retreat by persant (Gee and Bauder, 1986) to avoid mineral alterations. The clay
Iturraspe (2011). The pedons are considered to be modal and represent fraction was subjected to the following treatments: removal of free iron
typical pedological, vegetational and lithological conditions of the area, (Fed) by the dithionite-citrate-bicarbonate (DCB) method (Mehra and
as described by Planas et al. (2002) and from our own observations Jackson, 1960); saturation with 1 M MgCl2 and glycerol solvation; sa-
(Table 1). Soils were described using standard techniques turation with 1 M KCl, and heated at 350 °C and 550 °C for 3 h, all
(Schoeneberger et al., 2012). The hue and chroma of Munsell soil colors performed on an oriented glass slide.
were converted to a single number using the techniques of Buntley and The samples were analyzed using a PANalytical/X'Pert Pro dif-
Westin (1965). fractometer with CuKα radiation in the range between 4 and 50°2θ, at
intervals from 0.017°2θ to 1 step s− 1, at a voltage of 40 kV and current

Table 1
General characteristics of studied soils – Martial Glacier.

Soil G. Coordinatesa Altitudeb Soil classc Vegetation Drainaged Slope Glacier retreat age in soil areae

P1 54°47′49,9″S 460 Spodosol Nothofagus pumilio forest wd 15° 5.000–6.000 yr B.P.

P2 54° 47′36.7″ S 600 Spodosol Nothofagus pumilio and N. antarctica Forest wd 45° 1300–3200 yr B.P.
68° 23′32.8″W
P3 54° 47′39.7″ S 660 Inceptisol Bolax gummifera and Empetrum rubrum wd 40° 1300–3200 yr B.P.
68° 23′42.8″W
P4 54° 47′39.6″ S 770 Inceptisol Bolax gummifera and Empetrum rubrum id 35° 340–1400 yr B.P.
68° 23′43.5″W
P5 54°47′39.6″ S 830 Entisol Bolax gummifera and Empetrum rubrum scattered, mosses, lichens and grasses md 45° 317 yr B.P.
P6 54°47′40,1″S 940 Entisol Lichens and mosses in cushions md 40° 77 to 72 yr B.P.

Geographic Coordinates, Datum South American 69.
Altitude in meters above sea level.
Orders by Soil Survey Staff (2014).
Drainge class: wd = well drained, m = moderately well drained, id = imperfectly drained.
Glacier retreat age of study area by Iturraspe (2011).

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Table 2
Morphological and physical properties of the soils.

Pedon Depth CSa FSb Silt Clay Silt/Clay B.dc Color CDEd Structuree

(cm) Dag/kg− 1 (g/cm3) (moist)

P1 Andic Haplocryods
Oi 20–15 nd nd nd nd nd 0.26 10YR 2/1 3 fib
Oe 15–0 nd nd nd nd nd 0.57 10YR 2/2 6 md, p, gr
Bs 0–45 19 5 52 24 2.16 0.73 10 YR 3/6 18 st, p, gr
Cr 45+ 43 16 24 17 1.42 1.03 10 YR 4/6 18 ma

P2 Andic Humicryods
Oi 0–8 nd nd nd nd nd 0.60 10YR 2/2 6 md, m, gr
Bs 8–35 45 12 23 20 1.15 0.90 10YR 2/1 3 w, p, gr
BC 35–60 48 14 20 18 1.11 1.10 10YR 3/4 12 md, p, gr to md, m, gr
CR 60–100 + nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd

P3 Andic Humicryepts
A 0–15 55 4 24 17 1.41 0.34 10YR 2/2 6 md, m, gr
Bw 15–40 56 8 19 17 1.11 0.88 10YR 2/2 6 w, p, gr to m, gr
BC 40–60 57 14 15 14 1.07 0.96 10YR 3/4 12 w, m, bl to m, p, gr
C 60–80 62 12 14 12 1.16 1.19 10YR 3/3 9 ma
R 80+ nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd

P4 Andic Dystrocryepts
Oi 30–18 nd nd nd nd nd 0.19 10YR 2/2 6 fib
A 18–0 50 7 23 20 1.15 0.23 10YR 2/2 6 w, p, gr e w, m, gr
Bw 0–30 34 11 35 20 1.75 0.99 10YR 3/4 12 w, m, bl to md, p, gr
BC 30–60 38 10 31 21 1.47 1.09 10YR 3/4 12 ma
C 60–80 44 14 23 19 1.21 1.21 10YR 3/3 9 ma
R 80+ nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd

P5 Lithic Cryorthents
A 0–27/28 57 8 24 11 2.18 0.90 10YR 3/3 9 w, p, gr to w, m, gr
AC 27/28–45/47 55 8 25 12 2.08 1.20 10YR 3/3 9 w, p, gr
C 45/47–65 56 14 19 11 1.72 1.21 10YR 3/3 9 ma
R 65+ nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd

P6 Typic Cryorthents
C1jj 0–18/20 42 15 33 10 3.30 nd 10YR 5/2 6 gs
C2jj 18/20–27/30 48 10 31 11 2.81 nd 10YR 5/2 6 gs
C3jj 27/30–40 + 60 14 24 2 12.00 nd 10YR 5/2 6 gs

SC = Coarse Sand (2–0.25 mm).
FS = Fine Sand (0.25–0.05 mm).
Bulk density.
Color development equivalents: after Buntley and Westin (1965).
Development: w = weak, md = moderate, st = strong. Size: p = small = medium. Type: ma = massive, gr = granular, bl = subangular blocky, sg = single grain, fib = fibric;
nd = not determined.

of 30 mA. The diffractograms were interpreted using charts for mineral 3. Results
identification prepared by Chen (1977), semi quantitative classifica-
tions were determined based on relative peak intensity of 001 peaks for Several factors explain most of the age and elevation related trends
each respective mineral. in the studied area. Time seems to be a key factor; elevation and time of
In the fine-earth fraction (< 2 mm), the following chemical ex- exposure are closely correlated, since the most elevated sites are also
tractions were also performed: sodium pyrophosphate at pH 10 the most recently exposed. Morphology of the studied profiles indicates
(Dahlgren, 1994); ammonium oxalate pH 3 (0.2 M) (McKeague and that slopes have been quite stable since the patagonian deglaciation,
Day, 1966); and dithionite-citrate-bicarbonate (DCB) (Mehra and five of the six profiles preserve A/B/C horizons and no parent material
Jackson, 1960). The extracts were analyzed for Fe, Al and Si by atomic discontinuities were observed. The development of massive or mod-
absorption spectroscopy. erate granular structure creates a sufficiently good arrangement that
Profile quantities of total organic C, total N, and extractable P were downslope movement of materials is limited. Most of the pedons are
calculated for each horizon using the equation: Quantities (kg cm− 2) moderately to well drained and cryogenic weathering is presently
= horizon thickness (cm) × bulk density (g cm− 3) × nutrient con- limited to P6, also contributing to the stability of the landscape.
centration (g nutrient g soil− 2) × 10− 5 horizon quantities were A decrease of the soil sand content (mainly CS) and an increase of
summed to a total depth of 70 cm. the silt and clay content was observed in soils with small age differences
indicating that not only physical weathering (freeze–thaw weathering)
but also chemical weathering proceeds rather quickly on the metapel-
2.4. Statistics litic parent material. Increasing vegetation cover with age exposure and
greater plant productivity, transfer more carbon into the soils as they
Linear regression was employed to relate soil properties to time and develop, climatic conditions play an important role in SOC distribution,
elevation. Soil properties included morphological, physical, and che- at lower altitudes primary productivity is enhanced together with mi-
mical properties by horizon, profiles quantities of SOC, N, and P to neralization rates. P1 and P4 conserve similar amounts of SOC although
50 cm depth, and ratios of selected parameters. The mid-point ages of vegetation cover differs. The amount of FA in Bw and Bs horizons in-
exposure of the parent materials was used as the dependent variable dicate SOC movement in the profile contributing to the genesis of
(XLSTAT 7.5).

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

spodosols. The age of the profiles and the andic properties of the ma- shards indicate an input of volcanis ash.
terial inhibit the formation of illuvial horizons with an abrupt boundary
below an eluvial horizon, although P1 and P2 present an incipient 3.2. Chemical properties
development of an albic E horizon.
Although soil pH was poorly correlated with time and elevation we SOC was highest at the surface and decreased with depth in all of
observed an increase with depth, a sharp decrease of pH at the begin- the profiles (Table 4). Profile quantities (to 70 cm) of SOC are ranked:
ning pedogenesis is typical, the nature of the parent material together Nothofagus forest > tundra > periglacial areas and were highly corre-
with SOC content might buffer acidification of the profiles. Soil devel- lated with elevation (R2 = 0.79; p = 0.019) (Fig. 5) (Table 3).
opment proceeds quickly in the studied area, 5000 years of pedogenesis The sola of P1 through P4 are strongly acid (pHH2O 3.9 to 5.6); in
transformed entisols into inceptisols and later spodosols with great contrast, the C horizons of P3, P4, and P6 are slightly acid (pH 6.1–6.2)
accumulation of SOC. Soil-forming processes such as accumulation of (Table 4). Soil pH increased with depth, corroborating the idea of a
organic matter, leaching of FA, parent material alteration, and the weathering front acting downwards, but the pH of the most weathered
formation of weathering products (Bw and Bs horizons) were observed. horizons was poorly correlated with time and elevation, we expected
Glacier advance and retreat may play a significant role on weathering, this horizons to present lower PH. Al saturation ranged between 24%
changing the interplay between physical and chemical weathering and 87% in mineral soil horizons and from 3.0 to 5.4% in organic
processes, by isolating the profile from climate or placing large volumes horizons of P1 through P5, but was 0% in P6. Al saturation of the most
of melt water in contact with the sola. weathered horizons decreased significantly (R2 = 0.70; p = 0.037)
with elevation (Table 3).
3.1. Morphological and physical properties The base saturation of the sola of the profiles with vigorous vege-
tation growth ranged from 3.3% to 28% (Table 4). In general organic
Pedons at the lower elevations (P1-P3) were well drained; pedons horizons were more strongly saturated with bases than mineral hor-
P5 and P6 were moderately well drained; and pedon P4 was somewhat izons, with values ranging from 29% to 48%. P6 had a base saturation
poorly (imperfectly) drained (Table 1). The soil (O + A + B + BC ranging between 85% and 94%. There was a poor correlation between
horizons) ranged from 45 to 60 cm in depth, and the thickness of the the base saturation of the most weathered horizons and time and ele-
unconsolidated materials ranged from 65 cm (P5) to > 1 m (P1) vation (Table 3). Calcium was the dominant base cation in all of the
(Table 2). profiles. The CEC at pH 7 was moderate (16–17 cmolc dm− 3) in P1
Surface and near-surface horizons (Oi and A) of soils P1 to P4 were through P4 and low in pedons P5 and P6 (5–6 cmolc dm− 3) (Table 4).
black (10YR 2/1) or very dark brown (10YR 2/2) and the Bw (or Bs) CEC was not significantly correlated with time or elevation.
horizons were dark yellowish brown (10YR 3/4 and 10YR 4/6) The values for remeP, which indicate the potential P adsorption,
(Table 2). The periglacial soils (P5 and P6) had uniform colors (10YR 3/ were low in organic horizons (20–44 mg L− 1) and high in mineral-soil
3 and 10YR 5/2, respectively) throughout the profile (Table 2). horizons (6–14 mg L− 1) (Table 4). There were poor correlations be-
P1 had Oi-Oe-Bs-Cr horizon sequence under deciduous Nothofagus tween remeP, time and elevation.
pumilio forest; P2 had the sequence of Oi-Bs-BC-CR under Nothofagus With reference to soil humic substances, the humic acid (HA) frac-
krummholz Forest; both profiles have organic horizons averaging 13 cm tion was predominant in organic horizons, but fulvic acids were more
in thickness, the Bs horizons is directly beneath the organic horizon, abundant in B horizons (Table 5). In forest soils (P1 and P2), the fulvic
without an illuvial horizon (Table 2). P3 had the sequence A-Bw-BC-CR acid fraction (FA) increased slightly with depth, suggesting incipient
with a thick A horizon (0–15 cm) over a Bw horizon (15–40 cm, podzolization and OM mobility. In non-forested soils (P3-P6), the FA
Fig. 3C), P4 had a sequence of Oi-A-Bw-BC-C-CR, both profiles are fraction was highest at the surface and decreased with depth. In Bw
under Subantarctic Tundra and are characterize by a moderately thick horizons, the FA concentration increased significantly with time
(≥ 15 cm) A horizon overlying a Bw horizon. P5 had a sequence of A- (R2 = 0.65; p = 0.05) and decreased with elevation (R2 = 0.76;
AC-C-R at the limit between tundra and a recently exposed ice-free area p = 0.023) (Table 3), but there were no significant correlations of time
and P6 had the sequence C1jj-C2jj-C3jj near the glacier margin, these and elevation with HA/FA.
periglacial soils are weakly developed and lack a Bw horizon; soil P5 The Fep and Alp content in the most weathered horizons were po-
has a thick A horizon; and soil P6 lacked any pedogenic horizons sitively and significantly correlated with time (R2 = 0.97 and
showing extensive cryoturbation (Table 2). Photographs of the pedons R2 = 0.65) (Table 3). The amount of Sio in all soils was low
and their associated landscapes are shown in Fig. 3. (< 3 g kg− 1), so that the Alo/Sio ratio is high, suggesting little con-
All of the soils have high sand contents, intermediate silt contents, tribution of poorly crystalline aluminosilicates, such as allophane or
and low clay contents; all but four of the horizons are in the sandy-loam imogolite (Table 7). The highest Sio values were observed in Bs horizon
textural class (Table 2). Sand contents vary from 45 to 74% of the fine- (P1) and C horizon (P4). For Sip the values were very similar in all soils,
earth fraction. The clay concentrations of the most weathered horizons, and ranged from 1.2 to 1.8 g kg− 1.
increased significantly with time (R2 = 0.68; p = 0.042) and elevation
(R2 = 0.80; p = 0.016) (Table 3). The silt/clay ratio decreased sig- 3.3. Mineralogy
nificantly (R2 = 0.65; p = 0.056) with elevation. The color-develop-
ment equivalence (Buntley and Westin, 1965) of developed horizons, X-ray diffraction analysis of the clay fraction of selected horizons (B
increased significantly with time (R2 = 0.87; p = 0.007) and elevation horizons) revealed a similar mineralogical composition among pedons
(R2 = 0.89; p = 0.005) (Table 3). (Table 6). Dominant secondary minerals were chlorite (partially), hy-
Soil structure is weak to moderate granular in most of the horizons; drous hydroxyl-interlayered-vermiculite (HIV), illite, and goethite;
consistency is friable when moist, and non-sticky to slightly sticky when primary minerals included K-feldspar, chlorite, plagioclase feldspar,
wet, due to the low clay content (Table 2). The bulk density of the fine- and quartz. Weathering transformations over time were evident from
earth fraction was low (0.2–0.9 g cm− 3) at the surface and moderately ratios of HIV/chlorite and plagioclase/quartz (peak intensity ratios).
low (0.7–1.3 g cm-3) in the subsurface (Table 2). Bulk density of the The ratio of HIV/chlorite increased significantly with time (R2 = 0.90;
horizon of maximum development was strongly correlated with eleva- p = 0.004) and the ratio of plagioclase/quartz increased with time
tion (R2 = 0.88; p = 0.019) (Table 3). (R2 = 0.65; p = 0.054) (Table 3). There were also significant negative
Glass shards were detected in the medium through very fine sand correlations between these ratios and elevation (R2 = 0.88; p = 0.006).
fractions (0.5–0.05 mm) of nearly all horizons except for those in P6, as With reference to Fe-oxides, only goethite could be positively
observed by hand lens and a petrological microscope (Fig. 4). The identified (Table 7), corroborating the yellowish colors (10 YR) of these

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Fig. 3. Images of soils from the Martial Glacier region,

including (A) P1, (B) P2, (C) P3, (D) P4, (E) P5, and (F) P6.

soils (Table 2). The amount of ferrihydrite, was variable but was horizons was the main pedogenetic process in early stages of soil de-
slightly elevated in the imperfectly drained soil (P4) (Table 7). velopment. These led to the formation of thick A horizons followed by
The values of pH NaF ranged from 7.3 to 11, but most soils had amorphous and crystalline Fe and Al oxiydroxides redistribution with
values above 9.4 (Table 7). Values above 9.4 can be a suitable field test depth, a pedogenetic evolution very similar to our chronosequence.
to indicate the presence of allophane and imogolite. However, pH NaF Vilmundardóttir et al. (2014) also found a gradual increase in soil or-
is not specific for allophanic minerals; and can also exhibit high values ganic carbon and nitrogen concentrations over time and an increase in
with greater Al complexed by OM. oxalate extracted Al- and Fe-phases even in the youngest moraines of
the Skaftafellsjökull glacier (Iceland) considerable concentrations of
those elements were present. Mellor (1987) also found organic matter
4. Discussion
accumulation and translocation of organic material, iron and aluminum
(both in organic bounds and inorganic forms) as two dominant pedo-
The younger profiles P5 and P6 expressed characteristics similar to
genesis processes in chronosequences on neoglacial moraine ridges at
Haplic Regosols studied by D'Amico et al. (2014) near Lys Glacier at the
southern Norway, indicating that podsolization was active since early
Italian Alps. When compared to more developed profiles younger soils
stages of soil development.
had lower C/N ratio and organic matter accumulation in the soil surface

Table 3
Correlation of soil properties with time and elevation (in bold p < 0.05).

CDE Clay Si/C SOC pH H + Al Base sat Al sat Tot N FA HA/FA Fep Alp⁎ Alo + 1/2Feo BD Prem HIV/Chl Pl/Qtz

Ind. Var.

R Time (yr) 0.87 0.68 0.65 0.52 0.30 0.46 0.26 0.38 0.23 0.65 0.37 0.97 0.65 0.56 0.79 0.45 0.90 0.65
p 0.007 0.042 0.056 0.10 0.26 0.14 0.31 0.19 0.33 0.05 0.20 0.00 0.052 0.087 0.24 0.32 0.004 0.054
R2 Elev. (m) 0.89 0.80 0.31 0.79 0.33 0.80 0.56 0.70 0.53 0.76 0.44 0.86 0.78 0.65 0.88 0.51 0.88 0.87
p 0.005 0.016 0.25 0.019 0.23 0.016 0.086 0.037 0.10 0.023 0.15 0.008 0.019 0.053 0.019 0.11 0.006 0.006

Property for horizon of maximum development, normally the B horizon.

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Fig. 4. Selected pictures of volcanic glass particles in the

fine earth of P1, P2 and P3.

Table 4
Chemical properties of the soils.

Pedon Depth pH pH P K+ Na+ Ca2 + Mg2 + Al3 + H + Al SBa CECb BSc md rem-P OMe TNf C/N

(cm) H2O KCl mg. dm− 3− 3 % mg L− 1 dag kg− 1

P1 Andic Haplocryods
Oi 20–15 5.13 4.69 28.3 0.30 0.12 4.68 1.36 0.20 7.7 6.40 14.19 45.72 2.99 44.2 32.65 1.11 29
Oe 15–0 4.99 4.10 17.3 0.50 0.19 8.04 2.47 0.40 16.3 11.20 27.50 40.73 3.45 36.1 22.12 0.65 34
Bs 0–45 5.06 3.90 2.8 0.17 0.14 1.28 0.57 3.40 14.4 2.10 16.56 13.04 61.15 8.2 3.20 0.15 21
C 45 + 5.44 4.70 36.5 0.03 0.06 0.09 0.06 0.30 4.9 0.20 5.15 4.77 54.99 15.6 2.60 0.04 65

P2 Andic Humicryods
Oi 8–0 5.31 4.44 30.0 0.54 0.20 2.94 0.74 0.20 10.7 4.40 15.12 29.23 4.33 20.1 16.50 1.01 16
Bs 0–27 4.79 3.90 4.9 0.11 0.08 0.21 0.17 3.90 16.7 0.50 17.27 3.32 87.18 12.5 6.96 0.26 27
BC 27–55 5.45 4.33 8.2 0.06 0.13 1.53 0.40 1.40 13.7 2.10 15.81 13.37 39.84 7.8 3.48 0.20 17

P3 Andic Humicryepts
A 0–15 5.16 3.88 5.7 0.14 0.11 3.09 1.06 2.50 16.8 4.40 21.20 20.76 36.23 12.3 7.58 0.23 33
Bw 15–40 5.54 4.19 4.6 0.05 0.09 1.75 0.64 1.70 13.4 2.53 15.93 15.86 40.23 6.0 4.69 0.21 22
BC 40–60 5.73 4.35 5.1 0.03 0.07 1.23 0.41 1.20 9.4 1.74 11.14 15.60 40.85 8.8 4.03 0.13 31
C 60–80 6.12 4.61 8.6 0.05 0.09 0.83 0.27 0.30 2.8 1.23 4.03 30.57 19.57 29.5 1.29 0.05 26

P4 Andic Dystrocryepts
Oi 12–0 4.81 3.91 7.8 0.22 0.06 4.46 0.29 0.29 5.5 5.03 10.53 47.78 5.45 42.9 30.40 0.97 31
A 0–18 4.85 3.75 16.2 0.38 0.13 3.24 0.37 1.30 17.3 4.12 21.42 19.25 23.97 30.5 15.84 0.60 26
Bw 18–30 5.60 4.03 11.4 0.11 0.12 3.46 0.50 1.90 10.7 4.19 14.89 28.13 31.20 14.2 3.69 0.20 18
BC 30–60 5.81 4.46 13.7 0.06 0.11 2.44 0.21 0.60 9.6 2.82 12.42 22.73 17.52 8.2 3.50 0.20 18
C 60–80 6.11 5.11 15.9 0.07 0.13 3.49 0.19 0.00 6.9 3.88 10.78 35.99 0.00 8.9 4.90 0.18 27

P5 Lithic Cryorthents
A 0–27/28 7.50 6.75 18.7 0.08 0.10 0.57 0.02 0.59 5.3 0.78 6.08 12.79 43.15 13.1 1.46 0.07 21
AC 27/28–45/47 7.94 6.94 13.1 0.08 0.09 0.98 0.05 0.49 5.5 1.21 6.71 18.01 28.85 11.9 1.60 0.08 20
C 45/47–65 7.88 7.08 14.8 0.06 0.07 0.89 0.03 0.29 5.5 1.05 6.55 16.06 21.61 12.9 1.60 0.08 20

P6 Typic Cryorthents
C1jj 0–18/20 5.67 4.36 155.0 0.17 0.37 3.78 0.08 0.00 0.8 4.40 5.20 84.62 0.00 28.5 0.65 0.05 13
C2jj 18/20–27/30 6.15 4.49 119.5 0.18 0.28 4.04 0.05 0.00 0.6 4.55 5.15 88.35 0.00 26.5 0.54 0.03 18
C3jj 27/30–40 6.19 4.65 142.0 0.12 0.18 4.05 0.02 0.00 0.3 4.37 4.67 93.57 0.00 29.1 0.36 0.01 36

SB = sum of bases.
CEC = Cation Exchangeable Capacity.
BS = base saturation
m = Al saturation; Na = Na saturation.
OM = total organic carbon.
TN = Total nitrogen.

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Fig. 5. Soil properties, which showed high correlation with time

or elevation.

Table 5 Table 6
Fractionation of soil organic matter (dag/kg− 1) (P1–P6). Semi-quantitative mineralogical data of the clay fraction (< 2 μm) of selected horizons
Pedon Chlorite Interest Illite- K-Feldspar Plagioclase Quartz Goethite
P1 Andic Haplocryods Mica
Oi 29.20 0.50 0.36 32.67 0.72 0.02 0.02
Oe 11.65 0.20 2.10 22.13 10.48 0.47 0.19 P1 Andic Haplocryods
Bs 1.31 1.33 0.03 3.20 0.02 0.01 1.03 Bs x xxx xxx x x xx xx

P2 Andic Humicryods P2 Andic Humicryods

O 10.35 0.93 1.27 16.5 1.37 0.08 0.21 Bs x xx xxx x x xx xx
Bs 2.32 0.79 0.35 6.97 0.44 0.06 0.49
P3 Andic Humicryepts
BC 0.90 0.99 0.25 3.48 0.25 0.06 1.37
Bw x x xx x x x x
P3 Andic Humicryepts
P4 Andic Dystrocryepts
A 2.70 1.21 0.69 7.57 0.57 0.07 0.70
Bw xx x xx xx xx x x
Bw 1.53 1.08 0.60 4.69 0.55 0.11 1.09
BC 1.08 0.88 0.40 4.04 0.45 0.10 1.18 P5 Lithic Cryorthents
AC xxx x xx xxx xxx x x
P4 Andic Dystrocryepts
Oi 33.69 1.00 32.37 30.44 32.53 1.06 0.99 P6 Typic Cryorthents
A 9.40 1.49 1.55 15.85 1.04 0.06 0.32 C1jj xxx x xx xxx xxx x x
Bw 1.57 0.88 0.38 3.70 0.43 0.11 0.80
Semi-quantitative data. xxx > xx > x = Decreasing presence of the minerals.
P5 Lithic Cryorthents
A 0.73 0.71 0.10 2.46 0.14 0.05 1.10
AC 0.61 0.02 0.09 2.70 6.17 2.28 0.18 epipedon. The Bs or Bhs horizons meet all of the requirements of a
P6 Typic Cryorthents spodic horizon, including pH (5.1 and 4.8 for P1 and P2,), SOC (3.2%
C1jj 0.37 0.25 0.41 0.65 1.66 2.55 1.78 and 7.0%), hue (10YR), chroma (6) and Alo + ½ Feo ratio (2.5 and 2.3)
C2jj 0.09 0.01 0.03 0.54 3.00 5.55 0.44 that is > 2 × the overlying Oe horizon (2.1 and 3.6 for P1 and P2,).
Therefore, P1 and P2 have andic and spodic properties. The high
HU = humin.
FA = fulvic acids.
amounts of amorphous Fe and Al minerals in the Bs horizon, in asso-
HA = humic acids. ciation with organic C, are interpreted as weathering products of vol-
TOC = total organic carbon. Humification indexes = HA/FA, (HA/FA)/TOC and canic glass, accompanied by the formation of Fe and Al organometallic
(HA + FA)HU (technique by Yeomans and Bremner, 1988). complexes and translocation to the Bs horizon; typical of non-allo-
phanic Andisols and Spodosols, (Takahashi and Shoji, 2002).
4.1. Soil classification Soils P3 and P4 are classified as Andic Humicryepts and Andic
Dystrocryepts. These pedons contain an umbric epipedon overlying a
According to Soil Taxonomy (Soil Survey Staff, 2014), the soils are cambic horizon. Evidence for an umbric epipedon includes thickness
classified as Entisols (P5 and P6), Inceptisols (P3 and P4), and Spodo- (15 and 18 cm for P3 and P4,), color value and chroma (2/2 for P3 and
sols (P1 and P2). Based on field observations no permafrost occurs in P4), base saturation (16% and 28%), and SOC (7.6% and 18.8% for P3
the upper 200 cm, excluding the presence of Gelisols/Cryosols. All of and P4,). Evidences for cambic B horizon are met including thickness of
the soils except the youngest ones, P5 and P6, have andic properties, 45 cm and 30 cm for P3 and P4, development of soil structure (gran-
including > 5% volcanic glass (Fig. 4), < 25% SOC, a bulk densi- ular), and stronger values and chromas than the parent material (con-
ty ≤ 0.90 g m− 3, a phosphate retention of ≥85%, and a Alo + 1/2Feo sidered here to be the C horizons of the youngest soil, P6).
ratio ≥ 2. Soils P5 and P6 are classified as Lithic and Typic Cryorthents, re-
Soils P1 and P2 are classified as Andic Haplocryod and Andic spectively. Whereas P5 has an umbric epipedon (0–46 cm), P6 has an
Humicryod. Whereas P1 has a histic epipedon, P2 has an ochric ochric epipedon. A diagnostic subsurface horizon is lacking in these

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Table 7
Chemical extractions of free Fe, Al, and Si in the P1-P6 soils.

Pedon Depth pH Alo Feo Sio Alp Fep Sip Fed Alo + 0,5Feo (Alo-Alp)/Sio Fep/Fed Fep/Feo Alp/Alo Ferrihydite

(cm) NaF g/kg

P1 Andic Haplocryods
Oi 20–15 nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd
Oe 0–15 7.37 5.1 13.2 0.52 4.3 9.1 1.2 17.3 1.17 1.53 0.52 0.68 0.84 6.97
Bs 15–45 9.90 11.5 26.4 0.64 11.0 23.0 1.8 31.3 2.47 0.78 0.73 0.87 0.95 5.78
C 45–60 11.15 12.8 3.1 2.42 4.0 1.0 1.7 9.9 1.43 3.63 0.10 0.32 0.31 3.57

P2 Andic Humicryods
Oi 0–8 7.57 3.7 5.3 0.64 2.6 1.8 1.6 6.8 0.63 1.71 0.26 0.33 0.70 5.95
Bs 8–35 9.50 10.9 13.4 0.69 7.2 11.1 1.4 13.6 1.76 5.36 0.81 0.82 0.66 3.91
BC 35–60 11.05 15.9 13.5 0.29 12.4 7.6 1.5 19.6 2.26 1.20 0.38 0.56 0.77 10.03

P3 Andic Humicryepts
A 0–15 8.20 7.6 12.2 0.72 5.5 7.7 1.7 15.7 1.37 291 0.49 0.63 0.72 7.65
Bw 15–40 10.53 8.3 9.8 0.54 6.9 7.1 1.7 12.7 1.32 2.59 0.55 0.72 0.83 4.59
BC 40–60 10.65 8.1 7.3 0.65 5.9 6.1 1.6 12.4 1.17 3.38 0.49 0.83 0.72 2.04
C 60–80 9.51 3.9 4.9 0.73 1.4 3.9 1.7 8.6 0.63 3.42 0.45 0.79 0.35 1.70

P4 Andic Dystrocryepts
Oi 30–18 nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd nd
A 18–0 7.63 5.0 9.0 0.55 3.2 0.7 1.6 15.1 0.95 3.27 0.04 0.07 0.64 14.11
Bw 0–30 9.33 7.7 8.8 0.66 5.1 4.8 1.5 17.1 1.21 3.93 0.28 0.54 0.66 6.80
BC 30–60 10.76 12.8 12.3 0.77 9.5 4.3 1.3 18.5 1.89 4.28 0.23 0.34 0.74 13.60
C 60–80 11.08 22.8 13.6 1.64 9.7 7.4 1.5 16.9 2.96 7.98 0.43 0.54 0.42 10.54

P5 Lithic Cryorthents
A 0–27/28 10.32 7.6 8.6 0.57 4.4 5.1 1.6 13.1 1.19 5.61 0.38 0.59 0.57 5.95
AC 27/28–45/47 10.60 13.7 10.1 0.76 7.1 2.8 1.5 13.0 1.87 8.68 0.21 0.27 0.51 12.41
C 45/47–65 11.00 8.9 9.4 0.53 5.6 4.1 1.5 13.5 1.36 6.22 0.30 0.43 0.62 9.01

P6 Typic Cryorthents
C1jj 0–18/20 8.94 3.1 6.3 1.11 0.3 3.8 1.5 12.1 0.63 2.52 0.31 0.60 0.09 4.25
C2jj 18/20–27/30 8.92 2.3 4.1 0.71 0.3 0.2 1.7 12.0 0.46 2.81 0.01 0.04 0.13 6.63
C3jj 27/30–40 8.90 1.9 3.3 0.70 0.1 0.1 1.2 10.0 0.36 2.57 0.01 0.03 0.05 5.44

: McKeague and Day, 1966; P: Dahlgren, 1994; D: Mehra and Jackson, 1960.

soils. reaction for podsolization to occur.

The role of OM in podzolization is a classic example of OM im-
portance in soil formation (van Breeman and Buurman, 1998). The low
4.2. Pedogenetic processes
nutrient availability, notably in N and P, decreases OM decomposition,
which is rich in poorly decomposable phenolic compounds and tannin.
The dominant processes in soils of the Martial Glacier region are
These compounds lead to complexation of metals as percolating OM
podsolization (P1 and P2), andisolization (P1–P4), humification
moves down, forming Bh or Bhs horizons with accumulation of low-
(P1–P5), and cryoturbation (P6). These findings are comparable to
crystalline forms (Gomes et al., 2007; Lundström et al., 2000). In this
those of Frederiksen (1988), Colmet-Daage et al. (1991), and Mazzarino
respect, Benites et al. (2001) noted the importance of soluble humic
et al. (1998) who suggested that podsolization and andisolization are
substances such as fulvic acids for cheluviation and metals transport in
important soil-forming processes in Tierra del Fuego. Trombotto (2008)
Spodosols (Podzols).
recognized the importance of cryoturbation in the periglacial zone of
In many mountainous volcanic regions, andisolization is readily
the Darwin Cordillera.
evident from thick accumulations of volcanic ash (Legros, 1992).
Podzolization is evidenced in P1 and P2 from morphological and
However, the ash layers in Tierra del Fuego typically are < 10 cm and
chemical properties. Morphological properties include the development
are often mixed with the till by bioturbation processes. Andisolization
of Bh, Bhs, and Bs horizons. Following OM accumulation, two pathways
may occur concurrently with podzolization is some regions, notably the
can lead to podzolization: (1) unsaturated fulvic acids in the topsoil,
northern Rocky Mountains of Idaho (McDaniel et al., 1993), the Cas-
actively dissolves Fe/Al from primary minerals, forming metal-OM
cade Mountains of Washington State (Briggs et al., 2006), the moun-
complexes that may eventually precipitate down the profile (Buurman,
tains of southeast Alaska (Alexander et al., 1993) and the northern
1987); (2) a second theory states that low molecular weight organic
Japanese Alps (Shoji et al., 1988). P1 and P2 are examples of soils that
acid are carriers of Fe/Al to the subsurface, leading to Fe/Al pre-
have been influenced by both processes. The types of organometallic
cipitation following the microbial breakdown of these complexes
compounds found in the soil can differentiate Andic properties and
(Lundström et al., 2000). According to (Romanyà et al., 2005), pod-
spodic properties. Whereas andic properties involve the formation of
zolization is a common process in Nothofagus spp. dominated forest soils
stable Al-humic acid compounds (Shoji et al., 1993), spodic properties
of Tierra del Fuego. Low temperatures induce OM accumulation,
involve the formation of highly mobile fulvic acids in the surface O or A
forming folistic horizons overlying Bw (P1 and P2). With low pH and
horizon that migrate downwards to the spodic B where they are com-
high Al3 + activity, microbial decomposition is hampered, leading to
plexed by Al and Fe. Andisols require an in situ formation of poorly
OM accumulation (Allué et al., 2010; Contreras et al., 1975; Gutiérrez
crystalline minerals, with negligible translocation among horizons.
et al., 1994). It is noticeable that the soils located at lowest altitudes
However, spodic and andic properties may coexist in a single horizon/
under Nothofagus betuloides forest is the most acid and strongly leached,
layers, since the two pathways can occur simultaneously.
with a greater degree of podzolization, consistent with Etchevere and
In P1 and P2 we observed high amounts of SOM in the Bw horizon
Maczynski (1963). The youngest profiles on the other hand do not
accompanied by high pyrophosphate extractable Fe/Al, and a low bulk
present enough vegetation cover, microbiological activity or acid

M.M.F. Sá et al. Catena 162 (2018) 291–302

Fig. 6. Relation between soil carbon density (down to

70 cm) and time for the Martial Glacier area.

density, all suggesting the presence of non-allophanic Andisols (Shoji fulvic-acid C, Feo, Fep, Alp, and HIV/chlorite in the horizon of
et al., 1993). The description of such non-allophanic Andisols are in maximum development; a decrease in profile SOC; and an increases
close agreement with our results, including high Al3 + activity, 2:1 HIV in bulk density and plagioclase/quartz in the horizon of maximum
and chlorite minerals, abundant Fep and Alp, and the presence of fer- development.
rihydrite. • The soils generally have abundant coarse fragments, a sandy loam
Humification is evidenced by the presence of a folistic epipedon in texture, and a low bulk density; they are strongly acidic, low in
P1 and an umbric epipedon in P2-P5 and an abundance of SOC in exchangeable base cations, Al3 + saturated, and have abundant SOC.
pedons P1 through P4. The high amounts of OM indicate favorable • Despite the soils age (mid to late Holocene), they show substantial
pedoenvironmental conditions for carbon accumulation, except for P5 chemical weathering, including weathering of chlorite to an HIV
and P6, where exposure is too recent and vegetation cover too sparse, or and a decrease in the plagioclase/quartz ratio in the clay, and the
negligible. Dobremez (1979) recognized the reduction in soil organic development of andic and spodic properties. Chemical weathering is
matter production in the nival zone of mountains. Areas of intermediary driven by abundant precipitation and the accumulation of SOC
altitudes, as in the present case of Nothofagus forest, are favorable for during vegetation succession.
SOM accumulation, since biological productivity is relatively high and • The dominant soil-forming processes are podsolization in the two
microbial decomposition is restricted by low temperatures (Legros, oldest soils (P1 and P2), andisolization and humification in the mid-
1992). Holocene soils (P1 through P4). P5 and P6 are experiencing organic
Profile quantities of SOC range between 11 and 37 kg m− 2 for the matter accumulation and the early stages of chemical weathering.
upper 50 cm, which is high for Holocene-aged alpine (Bockheim and
Munroe, 2014) and arctic soils (Bockheim et al., 1999). SOC accumu- References
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Alvarez, V.V.H., Fonseca, D.M., 1990. Definição de doses de fósforo para a determinação
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