Soil development on Late Quaternary river terraces in a high montane valley in Bhutan, Eastern Himalayas

Tshering Dorji, T. Caspari, R. Bäumler, A. Veldkamp, A.G. Jongmans, Kado Tshering, Tsheten Dorji, I. Baillie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the geochemistry and micromorphology of the soils on a suite of morphologically well-defined and visually distinct fluvial terraces, up to 40 m elevation above the current riverbed, at Thangbi in the upper Bumthang Valley, Bhutan. The alluvia forming each of the terraces are lithologically and structurally similar, with shallow or moderately deep, clast-free sandy loam overbank deposits capping deep clast-supported beds of rounded boulders and interstitial sand. The topsoils on the 40 m terrace have more silt than those on the lower terraces. The soils are interpreted mainly as a monoclinal post-incisive chronosequence. Features that indicate progressive pedogenesis with increasing elevation include subsoil rubefaction, crystallinity of free Fe sesquioxides, and weathering of susceptible primary minerals, such as biotite and hornblende. However other soil attributes show no systematic trends and the overall impression is of limited pedogenesis, even in the soils on the higher terraces. We examine possibilities that the immaturity of the soils is due to pedogenic rejuvenation by post-incision additions to the soil parent materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • forest soils
  • climate
  • history
  • chronosequences
  • evolution
  • cations
  • fungi

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