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Soils of the Past: An Introduction to Paleopedology, 3rd Edition

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Soils of the Past: An Introduction to Paleopedology, 3rd Edition

Gregory J. Retallack

ISBN: 978-1-119-53045-9 July 2019 Wiley-Blackwell 552 Pages

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Description

A student-friendly textbook that describes ancient soils, how they may be identified, and their use in paleoenvironmental reconstruction

Ancient soils contain vital mineralogical, geochemical, textural, and paleontological information about the continental environments in which they formed. Advances in isotope geochemistry and sequence-stratigraphic models allow evermore detailed reconstructions of environmental change from paleosols, and new insights into such diverse topics as atmospheric chemistry, global change, paleoecology, geobiology and mass extinction. This book educates readers about the field of paleopedology and how it remains a key area of investigation for geologists and environmental scientists seeking to learn about, and reconstruct, the condition and evolution of paleoenvironments. 

Presented in three sections—Soils and Palesols; Factors in Soil Formation; and Fossil Record of Soils—Soils of the Past: An Introduction to Paleopedology describes the main types of ancient soil, procedures for identifying and studying them, their classification and, most significantly, a wide array of examples of how paleosols have been used for paleoenvironmental reconstruction. The book is an excellent reflection of the current state of knowledge and can be widely adopted over many disciplines.

  • All chapters have been revised and updated to reflect advances in soil science in the last two decades
  • New tables display a wealth of new data added since the 2nd edition published in 2001
  • New figures have been added and line art has been redrawn to improve clarity and promote understanding
  • References have been updated throughout

Soils of the Past, 3rd Edition is written for advanced undergraduates studying paleopedology as part of a degree in geology, environmental science, or physical geography, and for interested professional earth scientists.

Preface to the third edition vii

Preface to the second edition ix

Preface to the first edition xi

Acknowledgements xiii

Part I: Soils and paleosols

1 Paleopedology 3

2 Soils on and under the landscape 9

Soils and paleosols on the landscape 10

Quaternary paleosols 12

Paleosols at major unconformities 13

Paleosols in sedimentary and volcanic sequences 14

3 Features of fossil soils 17

Root traces 17

Soil horizons 24

Soil structure 31

4 Soil-forming processes 49

Indicators of physical weathering 49

Indicators of chemical weathering 54

Indicators of biological weathering 65

Common soil-forming processes 74

5 Soil classification 81

FAO world map 82

US soil taxonomy 83

A word of caution 96

6 Mapping and naming paleosols 97

Paleoenvironmental studies 98

Stratigraphic studies 103

Deeply weathered rocks 106

7 Alteration of paleosols after burial 109

Burial decomposition of organic matter 111

Burial gleization of organic matter 112

Burial reddening of iron oxides and hydroxides 113

Cementation of primary porosity 114

Compaction by overburden 116

Illitization of smectite 119

Zeolitization and celadonitization of volcanic rocks 121

Coalification of peat 122

Kerogen maturation and cracking 123

Neomorphism of carbonate 123

Metamorphism 124

Common patterns of alteration 125

Part II: Factors in soil formation

8 Models of soil formation 129

9 Climate 133

Classification of climate 134

Indicators of precipitation 137

Indications of temperature 145

Indicators of seasonality 152

Indicators of greenhouse atmospheres 156

10 Organisms 161

Traces of organisms 162

Traces of ecosystems 185

Fossil preservation in paleosols 194

11 Topographic relief as a factor 201

Indicators of past geomorphic setting 201

Indicators of past water table 207

Interpreting paleocatenae 210

12 Parent material as a factor 215

General properties of parent materials 217

Some common parent materials 221

A base line for soil formation 225

13 Time as a factor 231

Indicators of paleosol development 234

Accumulation of paleosol sequences 246

Part III: Fossil record of soils

14 A long-term natural experiment in pedogenesis 259

15 Soils of other worlds 263

Soils of the Moon 264

Soils of Venus 269

Soils of Mars 272

Meteorites 278

Relevance to early Earth 283

16 Earth’s earliest landscapes 287

Oxygenation of the Earth’s atmosphere 292

Differentiation of continental crust 303

Precambrian scenery 306

17 Early life on land 311

Did life originate in soil? 313

Evidence for early life in paleosols 324

Mother earth or heart of darkness? 334

18 Large plants and animals on land 337

Evidence of multicellular organisms in paleosols 340

How did multicellular land organisms arise? 349

19 Afforestation of the land 359

Early forest soils 361

A diversifying landscape 367

A finer web of life on land 373

The shape of evolution 384

20 Grasses in dry continental interiors 387

Early grassland soils 392

Evolutionary processes 401

How did grasslands arise? 404

21 Human impact on landscapes 409

Human origins 414

Early human ecology 418

A tamed landscape 422

Soil worship 428

Glossary 431

References 453

Index 519