Tuesday, 11 July 2006 - 8:00 AM

Human Effects on Soils in Urban Areas.

John M. Galbraith, Virginia Tech, Dept. of Crop & Soil Env. Sci., 239 Smyth Hall (0404), Blacksburg, VA 24061

Over the last three hundred years, there have been major changes in large industrial city soils. The land area has increased through filling in lowlands and marshes and upland-extension into shallow water. Transported materials not covered by impervious surfaces were compacted during deposition or by recent traffic and vibration. Based on a new reconnaissance soil survey of New York City, the percentage of new land created and land that has been covered with impervious surfaces, transported materials, and landfills can be estimated. The percentage of compacted surface and subsurface areas can be estimated from the soil series descriptions and map unit composition, and linked to management implications. Inferences may be drawn concerning the processes active in urban areas including quantification of mass balance transfers, oxidation/reduction, and various gas transports. The range of morphological evidence used to prove human-alteration can be shown, and the change in classification of soils during the Anthrocene can be evaluated. The alteration of soils in New York City may represent other coastal cities of similar age surrounding active shipping ports.

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