A Microscopic Study of Iron and Manganese Oxide Distribution in Soils from East Tennessee (U.S.A.)

S. Y. Lee*, D. H. Phillips, J. T. Ammons, D. A. Lietzke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Soils and saprolites developed from interbedded shales and limestones of the Conasauga Group are widespread in the Valley and Ridge Province of East Tennessee. Thin sections from four soil profiles were examined by petrographic and scanning electron microscopy including backscatter electron and energy-dispersive X-ray analyses. Iron and manganese released by weathering had migrated differentially downward and precipitated as crystalline and noncrystalline oxides. Oxides were observed as nodules, granular particulates, pore fillings, and coatings on other minerals, packing voids, vesicles, channels, and chambers. Iron oxides formed predominantly as coatings on packing-void walls and on laminated clays in vesicles and channels. Manganese oxides occurred as an early replacement phase of packing voids and of fracture-filling carbonate minerals. Iron oxides were dominant in moderately well-drained and oxidized horizons of the soil solum, whereas manganese oxides were abundant in the oxidized and moderately leached saprolite zone where the water table fluctuates seasonally. Therefore, a manganese enrichment zone, on a bulk soil basis, occurred generally below the iron oxide zone in the soil profile. Such differential migration and accumulation of iron and manganese have been controlled by localized soil microenvironments. Micromorphologic features observed in this study are important in land-use evaluation for hazardous waste disposal.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)511-517
    Number of pages7
    JournalDevelopments in Soil Science
    Issue numberC
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1990

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Soil Science
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Earth-Surface Processes

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