Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 125–131 | Cite as

Methodology for the diagnostics of soil polygenesis on the basis of macro- and micromorphological studies

  • T. V. TursinaEmail author


A methodology for studying soil polygenesis and lithological homogeneity of soil profiles is suggested. This methodology is particularly important for mountain soils, where the lithological heterogeneity of the soil profiles created by denudation and accumulation processes is often observed. The methodology includes several stages: (a) the study of the lithological homogeneity/heterogeneity of soil profiles by field and laboratory methods, (b) the stage-by-stage macro-, meso-, micro-, and submicromorphological analyses of soil profiles with additional use of the methods of neighboring sciences, and (c) the subdivision of soil features into the groups of recent and inherited (relict) features. In the latter group, the subgroups of lithorelict features inherited from the parent material and pedorelict features inherited from the previous stages of soil formation can be distinguished. Two major models of soil polygenesis are suggested. Simple models describe the soils, in which new features appear due to the changes in the environmental conditions in the course of soil evolution. Complex models describe the soils, in which such changes are combined with deposition of new portions of sediments onto the soil surface with the development of buried soil horizons (the synlithogenic pedogenesis). The models of continuous and discontinuous synlithogenic pedogenesis can be further distinguished. It is argued that the micromorphological method applied to the studies on soil microfabrics, microforms of soil humus, soil porosity, coatings, and various pedo- and lithorelict features yields valuable information on polygenetic soils.


Methodology micromorphological soil polygenesis 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science InstituteMoscowRussia

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