Geology and Geomorphology

Chapter
Part of the World Soils Book Series book series (WSBS)

Abstract

The main geological and morphological features of Italy are outlined, with the aim to examine the role of parent rocks and landforms in soil genesis and evolution. In the western and central part of the Alpine region, crystalline rocks prevail over sedimentary ones (mainly limestone and dolostone), which are widespread in the eastern part. Leptosols, Cambisols, Podzols, Chernozems and Phaeozems form the main soilscapes in these mountain areas. Sedimentary detrital rocks are widespread in the pre-Alpine fringe, on gently undulating slopes; scarcely developed soils (mainly Cambisols) form at these sites. Alluvial soils form in the Po plain and in main river valleys, in strict correlation to corresponding landforms: Luvisols on terraces and the high plain, Cambisols and Fluvisols in the low plain, with Gleysols in depressed areas. Three main domains may be recognised in peninsular Italy: Northern Apennine with large sandstone outcrops, Central Apennine dominated by calcareous formations and Southern Apennine with prevailing clayey flysch formations. Cambisols, Leptosols and Regosols are the prevailing soils of these soilscapes. Luvisols (Terra rossa) from limestone and Umbrisols or Cambisols from granite rocks are the typical soils of Apulia and Calabria, respectively, while variable soilscapes form in Sicily and Sardinia, strictly related to different parent rock weathering. Peculiar soilscapes are related to particular lithotypes such as ophiolite and volcanic rocks, which outcrop disseminated in various parts of the peninsula, the former with general steep slopes and thin soils (Leptosols), and the latter with andic properties (Andosols).

Keywords

Alluvial Plain Parent Rock Soil Parent Material Sheet Silicate Alpine Belt 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Informatica e StatisticaUniversità Ca’ Foscari di VeneziaVeneziaItaly

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