Response of pedogenic magnetite to changing vegetation in soils developed under uniform climate, topography, and parent material

Daniel P. Maxbauer, Joshua M Feinberg, David L Fox, Ed Nater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pedogenesis produces fine-grained magnetic minerals that record important information about the ambient climatic conditions present during soil formation. Yet, differentiating the compounding effects of non-climate soil forming factors is a nontrivial challenge that must be overcome to establish soil magnetism as a trusted paleoenvironmental tool. Here, we isolate the influence of vegetation by investigating magnetic properties of soils developing under uniform climate, topography, and parent material but changing vegetation along the forest-prairie ecotone in NW Minnesota. Greater absolute magnetic enhancement in prairie soils is related to some combination of increased production of pedogenic magnetite in prairie soils, increased deposition of detrital magnetite in prairies from eolian processes, or increased dissolution of fine-grained magnetite in forest soils due to increased soil moisture and lower pH. Yet, grain-size specific magnetic properties associated with pedogenesis, for example relative frequency dependence of susceptibility and the ratio of anhysteretic to isothermal remanent magnetization, are insensitive to changing vegetation. Further, quantitative unmixing methods support a fraction of fine-grained pedogenic magnetite that is highly consistent. Together, our findings support climate as a primary control on magnetite production in soils, while demonstrating how careful decomposition of bulk magnetic properties is necessary for proper interpretation of environmental magnetic data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17575
JournalScientific reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

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