Mineralogical and physico-chemical characterization of gypsiferous semi-arid soils in the north of Urmia, Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Urmia University

2 Assistant Professor of Soil Science, Department of soil science, Faculty of agriculture, University of Urmia, Urmia, Iran


Gypsiferous soils contain sufficient gypsum to influence soil physico-chemical, mineralogical, mechanical properties and geotechnical conditions and as a consequence, affect plant growth and crop production. So physico-chemical and mineralogical properties of 6 soil profiles located on the gypsiferous parent material with semi-arid climate in north of Urmia, West Azerbaijan province, Iran, were investigated. Based on standard methods, morphological, physico-chemical and mineralogical properties of these soils were determined. Soils with higher gypsum content had lighter color, lighter texture, lower values of organic carbon and cation exchange capacity and higher values of electrical conductivity. These parameters were reversely changed with decreasing gypsum content of soils. Semi-quantitative analysis of clay minerals indicated the presence of smectite, illite, chlorite, kaolinite and palygorskite were as major clay minerals with decreasing order from smectite to palygorskite. The origin of illite, chlorite and kaolinite were related to the inheritance from parent material. Smectite group of clay minerals has been resulted from three origins of inheritance from parent material, transformation of illite and palygorskite and neoformation, but the transformation and neoformation are the main pathways for its formation. Palygorskite has pedogenic origin and has been formed via neoformation. The comparison of clay mineralogy of soils with different gypsum values revealed the presence of higher smectites in soils with higher gypsum. Palygorskite was identified just in soils with higher gypsum. In soils with lower values of gypsum, illite and chlorite were the predominant clay minerals and palygorskite did not identified.