Soil production and the soil geomorphology legacy of Grove Karl Gilbert
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© 2019 The Authors. Soil Science Society of America published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Soil Science Society of America Geomorphologists are quantifying the rates of an important component of bedrock's weathering in research that needs wide discussion among soil scientists. By using cosmogenic nuclides, geomorphologists estimate landscapes’ physical lowering, which, in a steady landscape, equates to upward transfers of weathered rock into slowly moving hillslope-soil creep. Since the 1990s, these processes have been called “soil production” or “mobile regolith production”. In this paper, we assert the importance of a fully integrated pedological and geomorphological approach not only to soil creep but to soil, regolith, and landscape evolution; we clarify terms to facilitate soil geomorphology collaboration; and we seek a greater understanding of our sciences’ history. We show how the legacy of Grove Karl Gilbert extend across soil geomorphology. We interpret three contrasting soils and regoliths in the USA's Southern Piedmont in the context of a Gilbert-inspired model of weathering and transport, a model of regolith evolution and of nonsteady systems that liberate particles and solutes from bedrock and transport them across the landscape. This exercise leads us to conclude that the Southern Piedmont is a region with soils and regoliths derived directly from weathering bedrock below (a regional paradigm for more than a century) but that the Piedmont also has significant areas in which regoliths are at least partly formed from paleo-colluvia that may be massive in volume and overlie organic-enriched layers, peat, and paleo-saprolite. An explicitly integrated study of soil geomorphology can accelerate our understanding of soil, regoliths, and landscape evolution in all physiographic regions.
SubjectScience & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1002/saj2.20030
Publication InfoRichter, DD; Eppes, MC; Austin, JC; Bacon, AR; Billings, SA; Brecheisen, Z; ... Wade, AM (2020). Soil production and the soil geomorphology legacy of Grove Karl Gilbert. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 84(1). pp. 1-20. 10.1002/saj2.20030. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21227.
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Professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Richter’s research and teaching links soils with ecosystems and the wider environment, most recently Earth scientists’ Critical Zone. He focuses on how humanity is transforming Earth’s soils from natural to human-natural systems, specifically how land-uses alter soil processes and properties on time scales of decades, centuries, and millennia. Richter's book, Understanding Soil Change (Cambridge University Press), co-authored with his former PhD
I am a PhD candidate in the Environment program, advised by Dr. Dan Richter. I am a soil biogeochemist that studies soil development and change to understand how historic land use impacts contemporary environments.
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