Original paper

Stratification of the Regolith Continuum - a Key Property for Processes and Functions of Landscapes

Lorz, Carsten; Heller, Katja; Kleber, Arno


Regolith may be regarded as a continuum, but has a pronounced internal structure (stratification). It is thus a key element controlling processes, properties, and functions of landscapes. However, so far research has focused mainly on regolith genesis and only few investigations explicitly deal with the relationship between regolith structure and site/landscape properties. The need to deal with environmental problems at landscape scale has increased substantially the demand for the investigation of the regolith continuum and its internal structure.Stratification of regolith is a ubiquitous phenomenon not only affecting properties of soils and sites, but also of landscapes. The effects of regolith structure on (i) depth functions of soil properties, (ii) slope hydrology, and (iii) vulnerability against erosion will be shown.The aim of this contribution is to point out the vital position of regolith within landscape ecosystems and to stress the need for an interdisciplinary regolith science emphasizing a geo-hydro-ecological approach.


lithological discontinuityregolith continuumlandscape functionsslope hydrologyerosion