Fingerprinting of soil organic matter as a proxy for assessing climate and vegetation changes in last interglacial paleosols (Veldwezelt, Belgium)

K. Vancampenhout, K. Wouters, A. Caus, P. Buurman, R. Swennen, J. Deckers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil characteristics in palaeosols are an important source of information on past climate and vegetation. Fingerprinting of soil organic matter (SOM) by pyrolysis-GC/MS is assessed as a proxy for palaeo-reconstruction in the complex of humic layers on top of the Rocourt pedosequence in the Veldwezelt-Hezerwater outcrop (Belgian loess belt). The fingerprints of the extractable SOM of different soil units are related to total organic carbon content, ¿13C and grain-size analysis. Combined results indicate that the lower unit of the humic complex reflects a stable soil surface, allowing SOM build-up, intensive microbial activity and high decomposition. Higher in the profile, decomposition and microbial activity decrease. This is supported by a shift in the isotopic signal, an increased U ratio and evidence of wildfires. Although the chemical composition of the extracted SOM differed greatly from recent SOM, fingerprinting yielded detailed new information on SOM degree of decomposition and microbial contribution, allowing the reconstruction of palaeo-environmental conditions during pedogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-162
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • solid-state c-13
  • analytical pyrolysis
  • central-asia
  • humic substances/
  • loess belt
  • record
  • reconstruction
  • fractions
  • history
  • carbon

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Fingerprinting of soil organic matter as a proxy for assessing climate and vegetation changes in last interglacial paleosols (Veldwezelt, Belgium)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this