Original paper

The role of flysch sandstones in forming the properties of cover deposits and soils – examples from the Carpathians

Kacprzak, Andrzej; Szymański, Wojciech; Wójcik-Tabol, Patrycja


The role of lithologic discontinuities in forming soil properties is getting increasing recognition, following the allochthonistic approach to soil formation. This approach may be particularly useful in the mountainous areas of Central Europe, where slopes are mantled by layers of cover materials of complex genesis and predominantly Pleistocene age (cover beds). This study uses results obtained in two areas typified by the middle mountains landscape type, located in different parts of the Carpathians but sharing a similar pattern of slope geology, with sandstones dominating the upper slope sections and shales underlying the lower parts. The differences in soil morphology as well as physical and chemical properties allow two main layers within the soil material to be distinguished – the upper layer and lower (basal) layer, separated by a lithologic discontiuity. This is confirmed by the analysis of the mineral composition of the upper layer of soil material, which shows significant uniformity along the slope despite the large variety in types of flysch bedrock. The data indicate that cover deposits (cover beds) – transported and transformed by geomorphic processes, with apparent aeolian admixture – constitute the solum parent material of soils occupying most of the investigated slopes. The properties of these deposits, particularly texture and mineral composition, are to a large extent controlled by the properties of sandstones even though they only found in the uppermost parts of the investigated slopes.


flyschsoil formationcover bedslithologic discontinuitiesmineral composition