Friday, 14 July 2006

“Plinthitic Paleosols” in the Mediterranean Region: Examples from the Coast of Western Liguria (Northern Italy).

Luca Trombino, (1) University of Milano, Earth Sciences Department (2) CNR - IDPA, Via Mangiagalli 34, Milano, Italy and Ivano Rellini, University of Genova, DipTeRis, Corso Europa, 26, Genova, Italy.

In the framework of a larger study aimed at characterising the Quaternary evolution of several selected areas of the Ligurian Alps, two representative geomorphological units and their associated paleosols have been identified and characterised. The first unit is the High Plain of Manie, which shows a complex geological setting. The described paleosol is strictly associated with quartzites and shows morphological characteristics comparable to present-day tropical-area soils, being characterised by the presence of a deep and thick plinthitic horizon. The micromorphological evidence, supported by the bulk analyses, suggests a polygenetic origin for this paleosol. Furthermore, this paleosol is related to the top paleosurface, which shapes the plateau and which dates back to the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary; this hot and wet period is also responsible for the cockpit shape of the biggest karst sags and for the presence of "Terra Rossa" paleosols. The second unit is represented by relict terraced landforms of marine origin with very weathered marine and continental deposits on their preserved surfaces. The truncated top paleosol is characterised by a thick petroplinthitic horizon. In this case the geomorphological context also suggests a Late Pliocene-Lower Pleistocene age for the terrace and that the paleosol developed in a warm and humid tropical-like climate. Also in this case the micromorphological evidence, supported by the analyses, suggests a complex history for the paleosol.

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