Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 10, pp 2215–2228

The Chemistry and Mineralogy of Three Savanna Lick Soils

  • Peter W. Abrahams

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020861505138

Cite this article as:
Abrahams, P.W. J Chem Ecol (1999) 25: 2215. doi:10.1023/A:1020861505138


Three lick soils were sampled from the Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania, and subjected to geochemical and mineralogical analysis. Compared to 88 samples of topsoil collected for a reconnaissance geochemical soil survey, the lick soils are geochemically distinct, being either enriched in certain constituents (e.g., total and extractable Na) or depleted in others (e.g., the base cations) depending on the lick soil considered. There are notable differences in the geochemistry and mineralogy of the lick soils to the extent that no single characteristic of these soils can explain their exploitation. One lick soil, enriched in kaolinite, could act as a pharmaceutical agent by preventing or treating gastrointestinal upsets. Two lick soils are enriched in Na, which may explain their utilization, although both soils to a lesser or greater extent additionally contain constituents such as CaCO3 and smectite, which can alleviate acidosis (and smectite can act as a pharmaceutical agent, similar to kaolinite). One of these soils, an extremely alkaline, highly calcareous, and saline–sodic soil is particularly distinctive and may provide a range of benefits if consumed in appropriate amounts.

Geophagy salt lick soil geochemistry soil mineralogy Tanzania 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter W. Abrahams
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of WalesAberystwythUK

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