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Physical Geography of Northern Eurasia

Soils of Northern Eurasia

<<< Autonomous and Heteronomous Arid Soils | Physical Geography Index | The Holocene History of Soil Cover >>>

Azonal Soils

Peat swamp soils or histosols mostly occur in tundra, taiga, and forest-steppe zones. They cover about 1.5 million km2 or 6.7 per cent of the total FSU (Karavaeva, 1982). In the European territory, they occur in the north-west between Belarus in the south-west and the Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions in the northeast. They are widely distributed in the Asiatic part. Histosols develop under the conditions of waterlogging by both atmospheric and ground waters and moisture-demanding vegetation. The organic peat horizon forms as a result of plant decay. It may be divided into several subhorizons according to the degree of decomposition of plant remains and their botanical characteristics. Soils have very low pH, base saturation and contents of gross forms of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Alluvial soils occur on floodplains under meadow and wetland vegetation. Because of inundation by spring floods, ground water often occurs in the soil profiles. Soil properties vary greatly because of the layering of alluvial sediments. Gley processes and hydrogenic iron accumulation are typical.

Andosols develop in Kamchatka and the Kuril islands on ash sediments under herbaceous forests with Betula ermanii. Their profiles are characterized by intermingling dark humic horizons and weakly transformed volcanic sands and ashes (Sokolov, 1973). Andosols have high humus contents (5-10 per cent) in the upper subaerial humic horizons and a low pH. These soils are developed mostly on sands, silt, and sandy loams.

<<< Autonomous and Heteronomous Arid Soils | Physical Geography Index | The Holocene History of Soil Cover >>>

 

 

 


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