Deep weathering of calcareous sedimentary rock and the redistribution of iron and manganese in soil and saprolite

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Iron and Mn redistribute in soil and saprolite during weathering. The geological weathering fronts ofcalcareous sedimentary rock were investigated by examining the bulk density, porosity, and distribution ofCa, Fe, and Mn. Core samples were taken ofsoil, saprolite, and bedrock material from both summit (HHMS-4B) and sideslope (HHMS-5A) positions on an interbedded Nolichucky shale and Maryville limestone landform in Solid Waste Storage Area 6 (SWSA-6). This is a low-level radioactive solids waste disposal site on the Dept. ofEnergy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation in Roane County Tennessee. This work was initiated because data about the properties of highly weathered sedimentary rock on this site were limited. The core samples were analyzed for pH, calcium carbonate equivalence (CCE), hydroxylamine-extractable (HA) Mn, and dithionite-citrate (CBD)-extractable Fe and Mn. Low pH values occurred from the soil surface down to the depth of the oxidized and leached saprolite in both cores. The CCE and HA-extractable Mn results were also influenced by the weathering that has occurred in these zones. Extractable Mn oxide was higher at a lower depth in the oxidized and leached saprolite compared with the Fe oxide, which was higher in the overlying soil solum. Amounts of Mn oxides were higher in the sideslope core (HHMS-5A) than in the summit core (HHMS-4B). Iron was more abundant in the deeper weathered summit core, but the highest value, 39.4 g kg-1, was found at 1.8 to 2.4 m in the sideslope core. The zone encompassing the oxidized and partially leached saprolite down to the unoxidized and unleached bedrock had higher densities and larger quantities of CaCO3 than the soil solum and oxidized and leached saprolite. The overlying soil and oxidized and leached saprolite had lower pH and CCE values and were higher in Fe and Mn oxides than the oxidized and unleached saprolite. The distribution of Fe and Mn is important when evaluating soil and saprolite for hazardous waste disposal site assessment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-81
    Number of pages11
    JournalSoil Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Soil Science
    • Earth-Surface Processes


    Dive into the research topics of 'Deep weathering of calcareous sedimentary rock and the redistribution of iron and manganese in soil and saprolite'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this