Grain size and mineralogical indicators of weathering in the Oberlaab loess-paleosol sequence, Upper Austria


Grain size analyses, bulk and clay mineralogical data were used to characterize weathering within the loess-paleosol-sequence of Oberlaab in Upper Austria. Soil horizons can be clearly identified by the calculation of weathering index Kd from granulometric parameters. The mineralogical composition of the bulk samples shows increasing weathering intensity from the top to the bottom. The weakest weathering stage 1 is not present in Oberlaab, because all samples are free of carbonate minerals. Weathering stage 2 can be found in the upper part of the profile, whereas stage 3 is mainly present in the lowermost horizons. The highest weathering stages 4 and 5 are not present in Oberlaab. The clay mineral distribution in the profile is dominated by the disappearance of primary chlorite in the upper part of the profile and the neoformation of vermiculites from illite by pedogenesis in the lower part. Two different types of mixed layer minerals were found in the pedocomplexes. An illite/chlorite mixed layer mineral occurs following the disappearance of chlorite and is present in the Eemian luvisol. The second mixed layer mineral consists of illite/vermiculite and is present in the whole profile. The weathering stages obtained from the clay mineral composition are slightly lower than that of bulk mineralogy, but reach as well stage 3 in the lower part of the profile.
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