Geomorphological and paleoclimatic implications of soil development from siliceous materials on the coral-reef terraces of Liuchiu Island in southern Taiwan

Chang Ho Cheng, Shih Hao Jien, Heng Tsai, Zeng Yei Hseu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Liuchiu Island is an uplifted coral-reef island located off southwestern Taiwan. A total of four soil pedons, labeled as LC-1 and LC-2 from the Holocene terraces and LC-3 and LC-4 from the Pleistocene terraces, were sampled on the island for this work. These soils were siliceous, and were characterized by enrichment of clay and free iron (Fed). According to Soil Taxonomy, pedons LC-3 and LC-4 were classified as Paleudults and pedons LC-1 and LC-2 were Dystrudepts. The soil properties showed progressive changes from pedon LC-1 to pedon LC-4 in morphology, physical and chemical properties, and clay mineralogy. The contents of total Fe and dithionite-citrate-bicarbonate extractable Fe were significantly higher in pedons LC-3 and LC-4 with high weathering degree than in pedons of LC-1 and LC-2 with less weathering degree. Enrichment of kaolinite and gibbsite in pedons LC-3 and LC-4 also suggested high chemical weathering degree of the soils. The estimated soil ages for all studied pedons were consistent with their degrees in pedogenesis, where pedons LC-3 and LC-4 were located at older terraces and pedons LC-1 and LC-2 were located at younger terraces. Namely, it complied with the geologic interpretation of the continuous and simultaneous uplift and tilt of the island over time. Instead of the in situ weathering from the underlying coral reef limestone, all soils developed from siliceous parent materials deposited onto the surfaces. The SiO2/Al2O3 ratios of soils indicated a component of loess may have been incorporated from continental China as part of the parent material, which confirmed a climate change of strong monsoons or severe dust storms occurred before the Holocene. However, soil development increased by the subsequent warm and humid climates of the interglacial stage over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-127
Number of pages14
JournalSoil Science and Plant Nutrition
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

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