Periodic sedimentation and soil formation on an alluvial-fan piedmont in southern New Mexico

TitlePeriodic sedimentation and soil formation on an alluvial-fan piedmont in southern New Mexico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1966
AuthorsGile L.H, Hawley J.
JournalSoil Science Society of America Proceedings
Date Published1966
Call Number00085
Keywordsarticle, articles, geomorphology, alluvial-fan piedmont, geomorphology,sedimentation, geomorphology,soil formation, journal, journals, soil formation
AbstractGullies cut in alluvial-fan piedmont deposits at the southern end of the Jornada del Muerto basin, New Mexico, reveal evidence of periodic sedimentation and soil formation. The gullies show a succession of four major sediments, each of which has a distinct soil, indicating that each period of sediment deposition was followed by a period of stability and soil formation. The two youngest sediments are restricted primarily to a broad drainageway position and have soils with relatively weak B and carbonate horizons. The next older sediment, buried in the broad drainageway, has a soil that has prominent textural B and carbonate horizons and that emerges at the land surface on either side of the drainageway. Towards the basin axis the sediments thin and there is mergence of the land-surface soil with the oldest soil exposed in the gullies. The land-surface soils overlie much older soils and in places are so thin that the buried soils must be considered in classification of the land-surface soils. Gradual mergence zones of major sediments can conceal complexities greater than might be suggested by the generally smooth relief. Filling of channels in old sediments by younger sediments can cause prominent and abrupt soil changes no suggested by the smooth relief and uniform slope which crosses the soil boundaries. These phenomena are especially prevalent in and adjacent to drainageways an din areas of thinning of major sediments.