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Weathering of volcanic ash in the cryogenic zone of Kamchatka, eastern Russia

  • E. Kuznetsova (a1) and R. Motenko (a2)

The nature of the alteration of basaltic, andesitic and rhyolitic glass of Holocene and Pleistocene age and their physical and chemical environments have been investigated in the ash layers within the cryogenic soils associated with the volcanoes in the central depression of Kamchatka. One of the main factors controlling the alteration of the volcanic glass is their initial chemistry with those of andesitic (SiO2 = 53–65 wt.%) and basaltic (SiO2 < 53 wt.%) compositions being characterized by the presence of allophane, whereas volcanic glass of rhyolitic composition (SiO2>65 wt.%) are characterized by opal. Variations in the age of eruption of individual ashes, the amount and nature of the soil water, the depth of the active annual freeze-thawing layer, the thermal conductivity of the weathering soils, do not play a controlling role in the type of weathering products of the ashes but may affect their rates of alteration.

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Clay Minerals
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