Original paper

Relief-induced soil differentiation at the sandstone-mudstone contact in the Stołowe Mountains, SW Poland

Waroszewski, Jaroslaw; Kabala, Cezary; Jezierski, Pawel


Regolith translocation on mountain slopes composed of stratified rocks creates mixed or layered covers whose lithology does not reflect the underlying bedrock. The covers are seldom delineated on geological maps due to their insignificant thickness; however, they are thick enough to influence soil morphology and ecological functions. A toposequence of six soil sections situated at the contact of Cretaceous sandstone and mudstone was investigated to evaluate the influence of relief-position and morphological processes on slope cover formation, as well as soil and forest habitat arrangement. At least four distinct soil zones were distinguished in the 400 m long catena: (1) Arenosols and sandy Regosols zone, on active water-deposited sandy cones and blocky covers directly below sandstone cliffs; (2) upper mid-slope zone of Podzols developed from sandstone-derived materials with periglacial features (solifluction) in the subsoil; (3) lower mid-slope and foot-slope zone of Stagnosols and Planosols with prolonged water stagnation over the impermeable subsoil developed from mixed sandstone-mudstone regolith; and (4) toe-slope zone of Cambisols developed from mudstone regolith. Past and present-day morphological processes have broadened the area mantled by sandstone-derived materials from the upper slope and created transitional materials that enhanced soil variability and zonality over the presumably sharp contact of sandstone and mudstone bedrocks.


soil texturecover-bedssoil formationtoposequence