Original Articles

Soil mineralogy research in South Africa, 1978 to 2002 - a review

Published in: South African Journal of Plant and Soil
Volume 21, issue 5, 2004, pages: 316–329
DOI: 10.1080/02571862.2004.10635067
Author(s): C. Bühmann, South Africa, B.J. EscottSoil Science, South Africa, J.C. HughesSoil Science, South Africa

Abstract

Over 160 publications that contain mineralogical information were produced in the last 25 years of which about half were published in national and international journals. In many articles mineralogical data were presented but not discussed. Most studies were concerned with the clay fraction and X-ray diffraction was the dominant technique used for mineral identification. The investigations covered a very wide range of topics such as inheritance of clays from parent materials, and broad regional studies at Lusikisiki and in the Western Cape Province. Studies of mineralogy in relation to soil properties such as erodibility, the susceptibility of minerals to dispersion, and the importance of the mineral fraction for K-fixation were undertaken. Pedological research Included the red-black sequences of the Springbok Flats and Kruger Park, podzols of the Cape Province and major mineralogical investigations of melanic, vertic and humic horizons. Other aspects reviewed are concerned with environmental history, engineering, rehabilitation and archaeology. The future of mineralogy in South Africa appears bleak due to the lack of mineralogical training being offered at tertiary education establishments. It is hoped that this. review will rekindle an interest in soil mineralogy as a topic that impacts on an ever-widening range of soilrelated topics.

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