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Title: Rock fragment distributions and regolith evolution in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, USA

Author: Phillips, Jonathan D.; Luckow, Ken; Marion, Daniel A.; Adams, Kristin R.;

Date: 2005

Source: Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 30, 429–442 (2005)

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Rock fragments in the regolith are a persistent property that reflects the combined influences of geologic controls, erosion, deposition, bioturbation, and weathering. The distribution of rock fragments in regoliths of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, shows that sandstone fragments are common in all layers, even if sandstone is absent in parent material. Shale and sandstone fragments are produced at the bedrock weathering front, but the shale weathers rapidly and intact fragments are rare in the solum. Sandstone is weathered from ridgetop outcrops and transported downslope. Some of these fragments are moved downward, by faunalturbation and by transport into pits associated with rotting tree stumps. Upward movement by treethrow is common, resulting in a net concentration of rocks near the surface. However, the highest fragment concentrations are in the lower regolith, indicating active production at the weathering front. The regolith is a dynamic feature, reflecting the influences of vertical and horizontal processes, of active weathering at the bedrock interface, and of surficial sediment movements. The role of trees in redistributing rock fragments suggests that significant regolith mixing occurs over time scales associated with forest vegetation communities, and that forest soils have likely been extensively mixed within Holocene and historic time.

Keywords: regolith, rock fragments, bioturbation, soils, weathering, Ouachita mountains

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Phillips, Jonathan D.; Luckow, Ken; Marion, Daniel A.; Adams, Kristin R. 2005. Rock fragment distributions and regolith evolution in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, USA. Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 30, 429–442 (2005)


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