|Title||Genesis and morphology of soils on the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Riley and Geary Counties, KS|
|Year of Publication||1996|
|Number of Pages||1 -166|
|University||Kansas State University|
|Thesis Type||M.S. Thesis|
The Konza Prairie Research Natural Area (KPRNA) is a 3487 ha tract of tallgrass prairie set aside for long-term ecological research. The purpose of this study is to describe the morphology of soils, investigate processes of soil genesis, and record the distribution of soils for one watershed (N4D) within KPRNA. The soils for the N4D watershed are mapped at a scale of 1:2,000. The soil map depicts the aerial distribution of soils in the study area. In the study area, there are four soil-landscape associations: (1) soils on the less sloping summits; (2) steeply sloping soils on side slopes; (3)soils on foot slopes; and (4) soils on terraces and flood plains. Parent material stratigraphy is much more complex than previous studies had shown. Soils on Summits developed in a thin mantle of loess overlying welded paleosols formed in hillslope sediment over residuum from Permian cherty limestone. The dominant pedogenic processes in the composite modern soil and paleosol formed in hillslope sediment are leaching of carbonate and translocation of clay resulting in formation of an argillic horizon. The extent of weathering observed in the paleosol suggests a longer period of soil formation than that of the composite modern soil and paleosol formed in hillslope sediment. Soils on side slopes have formed in hillslope sediment over residuum weathered from shale. On the steeply sloping side slopes, the soils exhibit no evidence of clay translocation. The lack of clay translocation and abundance of carbonates indicate that these soils are not highly weathered. Translocation and redistribution of carbonate was the dominant pedogenic process. In contrast, soils developed in similar parent materials on more gently sloping side slopes are leached more deeply and have argillic horizons. Soils on foot slopes have also formed in hillslope sediment over residuum. The depth to the lithologic discontinuity between the hillslope sediment and residuum is deeper for the soils on foot slopes compared to soils on side slopes. For soils on foot slopes, the dominant pedogenic process involves the translocation of clay and subsequent formation of an argillic horizon. There are multiple levels of terraces and flood plains in the study area. The parent material is alluvium. Buried soils on both terraces and flood plains suggest periods of stability and soil formation followed by periods of additional deposition. The dominant pedogenic processes have been organic matter accumulation and redistribution of carbonates.