Soil development at Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen

  • D. H. Mann
  • R. S . Sletten
  • F. C. Ugolini


Soils at well-drained sites near Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen, are described in terms of morphology as well as solid and solution phase chemistry. Decarbonation is the dominant soil process and results in high Mg and Ca concentrations in soil solutions, in negative enrichment of Fe, Al, and non-carbonate clasts in nearsurface horizons, and in the accumulation of dolomitic silt horizons at depth. Coatings of reprecipitated carbonates extend into the C horizon. Several developmental pathways are suggested for well-drained carbonate soils at Kongsfjorden. In vegetation-rich areas, with calcite-rich parent material, relatively rapid (= 10,000 years) carbonate dissolution precedes silicate mineral weathering. In areas of Polar Desert climate and dolomitic parent material, decarbonation is slower and the continued accumulation of dolomite silt may eventually transform the soil system to a periglacial one.


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How to Cite
Mann, D. H., Sletten, R. S. ., & Ugolini, F. C. (1986). Soil development at Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen. Polar Research, 4(1), 1-16.
Research/review articles