Cemented Horizons and Hardpans in the Coastal Tablelands of Northeastern Brazil
Horizons with varying degrees of cementation are a common feature of the soils from the coastal tablelands of Northeastern Brazil. In most cases, these horizons are represented by the following subsurface horizons: fragipan, duripan, ortstein, and placic. The aims of this study were to analyze differences regarding the development and the degree of expression of cementation in soils from the coastal tablelands of Northeastern Brazil: Planossolo Háplico (p-SX), Espodossolo Humilúvico (p-EK), Espodossolo Ferrihumilúvico (p-ESK), and Argissolo Acinzentado (p-PAC) pedons. The pedons studied displayed features related to drainage impediments. The cemented horizons from p-SX and p-EK had the same designation (Btgm), displaying a duric character that coincided with gleization features and are under podzolized horizons. In the p-ESK, the podzolization process is of such magnitude that it leads to the cementation of its own spodic horizons, which were both of the ortstein type (Bhsx and Bsm). In the p-PAC cementation is observed in two placic horizons and in the Btx/Bt horizon, as well as in the upper parts of the Bt/Btx horizon. Analysis of the micrographies from the cemented horizons showed predominance of a low porosity matrix. Such porosity is relatively greater in the horizons of “x” subscript than in the horizons with duric character. The Fe segregation lines were notable in the cemented horizons from p-EK and p-PAC, which corroborates the presence of placic horizons in such pedons. The preponderance of kaolinite in the clay fraction was widely verified in all the cemented horizons analyzed. Water immersion tests were the criteria adopted to define the duric character of the Btgm horizons from p-SX and p-EK, and in the Bsm horizon from the p-ESK. These tests were also used to confirm field morphology. In most cases, the maximum values of Fe, Al, and Si, determined by different extractions, occurred in positions overlaying the cemented horizons, whether they were spodic or not. The extracts of the aqueous solution displayed a noticeable accumulation of Si in the cemented horizons, except in the p-PAC. The presence of argillans in all cemented horizons allows them to be defined as illuvial, with the exception of the placic horizons, regardless of the presence of podzolization processes. The cemented horizons were preponderantly apedal, with a matrix of little porosity. The Fe, Al, and Si contents extracted by acid ammonium oxalate were effective at highlighting the influence of compounds with a low degree of crystallinity in the morphology of cemented horizons.