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Professor David Manning
Ritz, K; Young, IM
The Architecture and Biology of Soils: Life in Inner Space
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Normal 0 false false false EN-GB JA X-NONE Minerals within soils provide a number of functions. In addition to acting as part of the physical framework of the soil system, they are chemically reactive. In abundance within continental crust, feldspars are the dominant mineral species. By virtue of their ability to accommodate N (as ammonium) and P within their crystal structure, feldspars have the potential to play a major role in soil nutrient cycles as they are inherently unstable is soil conditions. Prone to accelerated corrosion in the presence of low molecular weight organic acids, feldspars break down to give highly complex 3-dimensional relic masses, within which clay minerals can form. The clays themselves are dynamic in their chemical reactions within soils; kaolinite forms at the expense of illite/muscovite, inheriting morphological characteristics that give rise to its characteristic vermiform shape. Clays with high cation exchange capacity buffer not only soil solution alkali contents, but ammonium in solution. Oxalate minerals are widespread in their occurrence within litter and fungal hyphae, yet do not persist to depth within the profile. Calcite does, occurring at greater depths with increasing rainfall, and preserving C isotope systematics of vegetation. Using examples such as these, this chapter illustrates the dynamic nature of minerals, in response to biological processes, within soil systems.
An invited paper, covering mineralogical aspects of interactions between the biosphere and the geosphere. The book is aimed at senior undergraduates and postgraduate students.
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