Characterization of Iron- and Manganese-cemented Redoximorphic aggregates in wetland soils contaminated with mine wastes

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In wetlands, translocation of Fe and Mn from reducing to oxidizing zones creates localized enrichments and depletions of oxide minerals. In zones of enrichment, oxides cement matrix particles together into aggregates. In this paper, we describe the various Fe- and Mn-cemented features present in the 1 to 2-mm size fraction of mine-waste contaminated wetland soils of the Coeur d'Alene (CDA) River Basin in northern Idaho. These aggregates are categorized based on color and morphology. Total Fe and Mn concentrations are also reported. Distribution of the aggregates in soil profiles along an elevation transect with varying water table heights was investigated. Six distinct categories of aggregates were characterized in the 1 to 2-mm size fraction. The two most predominant categories were aggregates cemented by only Fe oxides and aggregates cemented by a mixture of Fe and Mn oxides. Iron-depleted aggregates, Fe and Mn-cemented sand aggregates, and root channel linings were also identified. The remaining aggregates were categorized into a catch-all category that consisted of primarily charcoal particles. The highest Fe content was in the root channel linings, and the highest Mn content was in the Fe/Mn cemented particles. Iron-cemented aggregates were most common in surface horizons at all sites, and root channels were most common in the 30 to 45-cm core at the lowland point, reflecting the presence of deep rooting vegetation at this site. Spatial distributions of other aggregates at the site were not significant.

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