Skip to main content

Origin and distribution of clay minerals in calcareous arid and semi-arid soils of Fars Province, southern Iran

  • F. Khormali (a1) and A. Abtahi (a1)

The clay mineralogy of soils and of the main calcareous sedimentary parent rocks of southern Iran were investigated to determine their origin and factors controlling their distribution pattern in soils. The results revealed that the soil-available moisture plays the major role in the distribution pattern of palygorskite and smectite clay minerals in the arid and semi-arid areas studied. There is an inverse correlation between palygorskite and smectite with regard to the soil-available moisture as expressed by P/ETº (ratio of mean annual precipitation to mean annual reference crop evapotranspiration). At P/ETº values >0.4 palygorskite transforms to smectite. Smectite is thought to be mainly of ‘transformed’ origin. It is detected in trace amounts in soils of more arid areas and increases in soils having greater available moisture. The general decrease in illite content with depth is related mainly to its transformation to smectite under favourable moisture conditions of the deeper horizons. Palygorskite is considered to be inherited in plateau soils of the arid regions whereas in saline and alkaline soils and soils with high gypsum, it is mainly of authigenic origin. The P/ETº and gypsum content show a significant correlation with the palygorskite content. The occurrence of kaolinite in some soils is due to its inheritance from the surrounding kaolinite-bearing Cretaceous rocks. Illite and chlorite abundance in soils is also largely related to their presence in parent rocks. The rare occurrence of vermiculite in the studied calcareous soils is mainly related to its lower stability under high pH, low Al activity and the presence of large amounts of Si and Mg in soils.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Aba-Huseyn, M.M., Dixon, J.B. & Lee, S.Y. (1980) Mineralogy of Saudi Arabian soils: south western region. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 44, 643649.
Abtahi, A. (1977) Effect of a saline and alkaline ground water on soil genesis in semiarid southern Iran. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 41, 583588.
Abtahi, A. (1985) Synthesis of sepiolite at room temperature from SiO2 and MgCl2 solution. Clay Minerals, 20, 521 523.
Abtahi, A. & Khormali, F. (2001) Genesis and morphological characteristics of Mollisols formed in a catena under water Table influence in southern Iran. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 32, 16431658.
Al Ravi, A.H., Jackson, M.L. & Hole, F.D. (1969) Mineralogy of some arid and semiarid land soils of Iraq. Soil Science, 107, 480486.
Aoudjit, M., Robert, M., Elsass, F. & Curmi, P. (1995) Detailed study of smectite genesis in granitic saprolites by analytical electron microscopy. Clay Minerals, 30, 135 147.
Banaei, M.H. (1998) Soil Moisture and Temperature Regime Map of Iran. Soil and Water Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Tehran, Iran.
Boettinger, J.L. & Southard, R.J. (1995) Phyllosilicate distribution and origin in Aridisols on a granitic pediment, Western Mojave Desert. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 59, 11891198.
Borchardt, G. (1989) Smectites. Pp. 675727 in. Minerals in Soil Environment (Dixon, J.B. & Weed, S.B, editors.) Soil Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Bronger, A., Winter, R. & Sedov, S. (1998) Weathering and clay mineral formation in two Holocene soils and in buried paleosols in Tadjikestan: Towards a Quaternary paleoclimatic record in Central Asia. Catena, 34, 1934.
Burnett, A.D., Fookes, P.G. & Robertson, R.H.S. (1972) An engineer ing soil at Kermanshah, Zagros Mountains, Iran. Clay Minerals, 9, 329343.
Callen, R.A. (1984) Clays of palygorskite-sepiolite group: depositional environment, age and distribution. Pp. 138 in. Palygor skite- sepiol ite: Occurrences, Genesis and Uses (A. Singer & E. Galán, editors). Developments in Sedimentology, 37. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Chapman, H.D. (1965) Cation exchange capacity. Pp. 891900 in. Methods of Soil Analysis Part 2 (Black., C.A. editor). American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Curtis, C.D. (1983) Link between aluminium mobility and destruction of secondary porosity. American Association of Petroleum Geology Bulletin, 67, 380384.
Day, P.R. (1965) Particle fractionation and particle-size analysis. Pp. 545 Methods of Soil Analysis Part 1 (Black., C.A. editor). American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Dixon, J.B. (1989) Kaolin and serpentine group minerals. Pp. 467525 in. Minerals in Soil Environment (Dixon, J.B. & Weed, S.B, editors). Soil Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Douglas, L.A. (1989) Vermiculites. Pp. 635674 in. Minerals in Soil Environment (Dixon, J.B. & Weed, S.B, editors). Soil Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Dregne, H.E. (1976) Soils of Arid Regions. Elsevier, New York.
Ducloux, J., Guero, Y. & Fallavier, P. (1998) Clay particle differentiation in Alluvial soils of Southwestern Niger (West Africa). Soil Science Society of America Journal, 62, 212222.
Eswaran, H. & Barzanji, A.F. (1974) Evidence for the neoformation of attapulgite in some soils of Iraq. Transactions of the 10th International Congress of Soil Science, Moscow, Russia, 7, 154 161.
Fanning, D.S., Keramidas, V.Z. & El-Desoky, M.A. (1989) Micas. Pp. 551634 in. Minerals in Soil Environment (Dixon, J.B. & Weed., S.B. editors). Soil Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Gharaee, H.A. & Mahjoory, R.A. (1984) Characteristics and geomorphic relationships of some representative Aridisols in southern Iran. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 48, 115119.
Givi, J. & Abtahi, A. (1985) Soil genesis as affected by topography and depth of saline and alkaline groundwater under semiarid conditions in southern Iran. Iran Agricultural Research, 4, 11 27.
Hassouba, H. & Shaw, H.F. (1980) The occurrence of palygorskite in Quaternary sediments of the coastal plain of northwest Egypt. Clay Minerals, 15, 77 83.
Henderson, S.G. & Robertson, R.H.S. (1958) A Mineralogical Reconnaissance in Western Iran. Resource Use Ltd., Glasgow, UK.
Ingles, M. & Anadon, P. (1991) Relationship of clay minerals to depositional environment in the nonmarine Eocene Pontils Group, SE Ebro Basin (Spain). Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 61, 926 939.
Jackson, M.L. (1975) Soil Chemical Analysis. Advanced Course. University of Wisconsin, College of Agricult ure, Department of Soils, Madison , Wisconsin, USA.
Johns, W.D., Grim, R.E. & Bradley, F. (1954) Quantitative estimation of clay minerals by diffraction methods. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 24, 242 251.
Khademi, H. & Mermut, A.R. (1998) Source of palygorskite in gypsiferous Aridisols and associated sediments from central Iran. Clay Minerals, 33, 561 575.
Khademi, H. & Mermut, A.R. (1999) Submicroscopy and stable isotope geochemistry of carbonates and associat ed palygorsk ite in Iranian Aridisol s. European Journal of Soil Science, 50, 207216.
Khormali, F. & Abtahi, A. (2001) Soil genesis and mineralogy of three selected regions of Fars, Bushehr and Khuzestan Provinces of Iran, formed under highly calcareous conditions. Iran Agricultural Research, 20, 6782.
Kittrick, J.A. & Hope, E.W. (1963) A procedure for the particle size separation of soils for X-ray diffraction analysis. Soil Science, 96, 312325.
Lopez-Galindo, A., Ben Aboud, A., Fenoll Hach-Ali, P. & Casas Ruiz, J. (1996) Mineralogical and geochemical characterization of palygorskite from Gabasa (NE Spain). Evidence of a detrital precursor. Clay Minerals, 31, 3344.
Mahjoory, R.A. (1975) Clay mineralogy, physical and chemical properties of some soils in arid regions of Iran. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings, 39, 11571164.
McFadden, L.D., Wells, S.G. & Dohrenwend, J.C. (1986) Influences of Quaternary climatic changes on the processes of soil development on desert loess deposits of the Cima volcanic field, California. Catena, 13, 361389.
Mehra, O.P. & Jackson, M.L. (1960) Iron oxide removal from soils and clays by a dithionite citrate system with sodium bicarbonate. Clays and Clay Minerals, 7, 317327.
MPB (Ministry of Programming and Budgeting) (1994) Economic and Social Status of Fars Province. Publication Center for Informatic and Development Studies (in Farsi).
Myriam, M. (1998) Structural and textural modifications of palygorskite and sepiolite under acid treatment. Clays and Clay Minerals, 46, 225231.
Nelson, R.E. (1982) Carbonate and gypsum. Pp. 181199 in: Methods of Soil Analysis part 2 (Page., A.L. editor). American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Nettleton, W.D. & Peterson, F.F. (1983) Aridisols. Pp. 165 –216 in. Pedogenesis and Soil Taxonomy : Part 2. The Soil Orders. (Wilding., L.P. Smeck, N.E. & Hall., G.F. editors). Elsevier Science Publishers, B.V., Amsterdam.
Nettleton, W.D., Nelson, R.E. & Flach, K.W. (1973) Formation of mica in surface horizons of dryland soils. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings, 37, 473478.
Niederbudde, E.A. & Kussmaul, H. (1978) Tonmineral eigenschaften und Umwandlungen in Parabraunerde- Profilpaeren unter Acker und Wald in Suddeutschland. Geoderma, 20, 239255.
Paquet, H. & Millot, G. (1972) Geochemical evolution of clay minerals in the weathered products and soils of Mediter ranean climates. Pp. 199 –202 in. Proceedings of the International Clay Conference, Madrid, Spain.
Pletsch, T., Daoudi, L., Chamley, H., Deconinck, J.F. & Charroud, M. (1996) Palaeogeographic controls on palygorskite occurrence in Mid-Cretaceous sediments of Morocco and adjacent basins. Clay Minerals, 31, 403416.
Roads, M., Luque, F.J., Mas, R. & Garzon, M.G. (1994) Calcretes, palycretes and silcretes in the Paleogene detrital sediments of the Duero and Tajo Basins, Central Spain. Clay Minerals, 29, 273285.
Sadeghi, A.R., Kamgar-Haghighi, A.A., Sepaskhah, A.R., Khalili, D. & Zand-Parsa, Sh. (2002) Regional classification for dryland agriculture in southern Iran. Journal of Arid Environments, 50, 333341.
Salinity Laboratory Staff (1954) Diagnosis and Improvement of Saline and Alkali Soils. USDA Handbook No. 60. Washington, D.C.
Sanchez, H.S. & Galán, E. (1995) An approach to the genesis of palygorskite II. A neogene-Quaternary continental basin using principle factor analysis. Clay Minerals, 30, 225238.
Sanguesa, F.J., Arostegui, J. & Suarez-Ruiz, I. (2000) Distribution and origin of clay minerals in the Lower Cretaceous of the Alava Block (Basque-Cantabrian Basin, Spain). Clay Minerals, 35, 393410.
Singer, A. (1989) Palygorskite and sepiolite group minerals. Pp. 829 Minerals in Soil Environment (Dixon, J.B. & Weed, S.B, editors.) Soil Science Society of America, Madison , Wisconsin, USA.
Singer, A., Kirsten, W. & Buhmaan, C. (1995) Fibrous clay minerals in the soils of Namaqualand, South Africa: Characteristics and formation. Geoderma, 66, 4370.
Soil Survey Staff (1993) Soil Survey Manual. Handbook No. 18. USDA, Washington, DC.
Soil Survey Staff (1998) Keys to Soil Taxonomy. USDA, NRCS, Washington, D.C.
Suarez, M. (1994) Evidence of a precursor in the neoformation of palygorskite: new data by analytical electron microscopy. Clay Minerals, 29, 255264.
Wilson, M.J. (1993) Pedologic factors influencing the distribution and properties of soil smectite. Trends in Agricultural Science, 1, 199 216.
Wilson, M.J. (1999) The origin and formation of clay minerals in soils: past, present and future perspectives. Clay Minerals, 34, 724.
Zahedi, M. (1976) Explanatory text of the Esfahan quadrangle map 1:250000. Geological Survey of Iran.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Clay Minerals
  • ISSN: 0009-8558
  • EISSN: 1471-8030
  • URL: /core/journals/clay-minerals
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *