Soil-Forming Factors and Processes

  • Farhad Khormali
  • Norair Toomanian
Part of the World Soils Book Series book series (WSBS)


Soil-forming processes and the formation of diagnostic horizons in different regions of Iran are mainly influenced by the overall semiarid and arid climate and high calcareous conditions of the soils. Calcium carbonate redistribution, gypsum accumulation, soil salinization, and alkalization are therefore the major processes in these climatic and soil conditions. Clay migration is also a possible process occurring in these highly calcareous conditions either through the decalcification of the upper sola and the subsequent clay migration as a commonly accepted model or by the effect of previous high exchangeable Na in soils. Clay-accumulated horizons of the extreme arid regions could be regarded, as paleo-features. Calcitic features are mainly associated with the soil water availability and the vegetation. These features vary from pendants in the skeletal soils, nodules, cemented petrocalcic, and mycelium mainly in the arid zones. In areas with higher vegetative growth and favorable precipitation and temperature, needle-shaped calcite and cytomorphic type, which are associated with the biological activity, are also observed. Formation of gypsum accumulation horizons is the result of dissolution of gypsum and formation of gypsic and hypergypsic horizons. Two sources are mainly responsible for the soils high in gypsum which are geologic formations outcropped in some areas and saline lakes high in sulfate. Salt-affected soils are widespread in Iran. The evolutionary sequence suggested for these soils is as follows: salinization and alkalization; desalinization; solonetzation; and dealkalization. Vertic features, organic matter accumulation, gleization, etc., are among other processes happening in different climate zones.


Soil formation Arid and Semi-arid region Carbonates Salinization Gypsum 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural ResourcesGorganIran
  2. 2.Soil and Water Research DepartmentIsfahan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEOIsfahanIran

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