Solonetzic soils of Canada: Genesis, distribution, and classification

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Solonetzic soils of Canada: Genesis, distribution,and classificationJ. J. Miller and J. A. BrierleyAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Centre, 5403 1st Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta,Canada T1J 4B1; and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, #206, 7000-113 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaT6H 5T6. Received 1 April 2010, accepted 3 November 2010.Miller, J. J. and Brierley, J. A. 2011. Solonetzic soils of Canada: Genesis, distribution, and classification. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91:889902. Soils of the Solonetzic order are defined as having a Solonetzic B horizon designated as a Bn or Bnt horizon. TheSolonetzic Order includes four great groups: Solonetz, Solodized Solonetz, Solod, and Vertic Solonetz. Solonetzic soils arethought to develop via the stepwise pedogenic processes of salinization, solonization (desalinzation and alkalization), andsolodization. Soluble salts are brought into the soil pedon of Solonetzic soils by capillary movement and evaporation fromspring to fall, and upward water flow from the water table to the freezing zone in the winter deposits salts upon freezing.Solonization proceeds when desalinization lowers the total salt content and alkalization is initiated by high exchangeableNa. Solodization occurs when anisotropic flow conditions or a change in vertical hydraulic gradients prevent capillary riseand replenishment of soluble Na in the Bn horizon. Two common Solonetzic catenas are found in the prairies. In the firstsequence, Gleyed Solonetz or Solonetz occur in the depressional areas of the landscape, and soils then grade throughSolodized Solonetz, Solods, and in some cases, Chernozems or normal zonal soils at higher elevations. In the secondsequence, Solods are found in the lowest topographic position, while Solodized Solonetz, Solonetz and Chernozems arefound at progressively higher slope positions. Solonetzic soils have unique properties that adversely affect their use foragriculture and other land uses (e.g., construction, septic systems). Further interdisciplinary research is required to betterunderstand the genesis of these soils at the meter scale or local landscape level because of the extreme spatial variabilityof these soils.Key words: Solonetzic soil, Natric soils, Canadian System of Soil Classification, soil taxonomy, grassland, salinityMiller, J. J. et Brierley, J. A. 2011. Les solonetz au Canada : genese, repartition et classification. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91: 889902.Les solonetz sont des sols qui presentent un horizon B solonetzique appele horizon Bn ou Bnt. Lordre comprend quatregrands groupes : les solonetz, les solonetz solodises, les solods et les solonetz vertiques. On pense que les solonetz deriventdun processus pedogenetique graduel de salinisation, de solonisation (desalinisation et alcalinisation) et de solodisation.Les sels solubles migrent dans le pedon des solonetz par capillarite et evaporation du printemps a lautomne, et remontentavec leau de la nappe phreatique dans la zone de gel pour former des depots de sel hivernaux lors du gel. La solonisationsurvient quand la desalinisation diminue la teneur totale en sel et quune concentration elevee dions Na echangeablesentrane lalcalinisation. Il y a solodisation quand un flux anisotrope ou une modification du gradient hydraulique verticalempeche la remontee capillaire et le renouvellement des ions Na solubles dans lhorizon Bn. Deux catenas de solonetz serencontrent couramment dans les Prairies. Dans la premiere sequence, les solonetz gleyifies ou les solonetz occupent lesdepressions du relief, avant de se transformer en solonetz solodises, en solods et, parfois, en tchernozems ou en sol zonalordinaire a plus haute altitude. Dans la deuxieme sequence, les solods occupent la position la plus basse du relief, tandisque les solonetz solodises, les solonetz et les tchernozems se retrouvent de plus en plus haut sur la pente. Les solssolonetziques possedent des proprietes uniques qui nuisent a leur exploitation agricole et a dautres vocations (par ex.,construction, systemes septiques). Il faudrait entreprendre dautres recherches interdisciplinaires pour mieux comprendrela genese de ces sols a lechelle metrique ou au niveau du relief local, car ils se caracterisent par une tres grandevariabilite dans lespace.Mots cles: Solonetz, systeme canadien de classification des sols, taxonomie des solsINTRODUCTIONIn Canada, Solonetzic or sodic soils are unique soilsfound only in the western provinces, and are character-ized by Bn horizons with high exchangeable Na,prismatic or columnar structure with dark coatings onpeds, and hard to very hard consistence when dry (SoilClassification Working Group 1998). The aerial extentof these soils is most prevalent in Alberta, followedby Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia.Solonetzic or sodic soils also occur worldwide and inmost continents, and the aerial extent is most prevalentin Australia, followed by the Russian Federation, andthen Argentina (Massoud 1977). The unique physicaland chemical properties of Solonetzic soils may limitcrop production and cause problems with other landuses such as metal corrosion, cement foundations androad construction. Solonetzic soils are also character-ized by extreme spatial variability within fields, whichCan. J. Soil Sci. (2011) 91: 889902 doi:10.4141/CJSS10040 889Can. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. makes management of these soils difficult. The termsolonetz was first introduced in the late 1800s by earlyRussian soil scientists to distinguish a unique kind ofsoil distributed in patches among chernozems andchestnut soils of eastern European plains (Pawluk1982). The Russians thought Solonetz soils developedfrom a structureless, often salt-encrusted, saline soil(Odynsky 1945).DISTRIBUTION OF SOLONETZIC SOILS INCANADAThere are 6 to 8 million ha of Solonetzic soils in westernCanada (Fig. 1), mainly in the grasslands and parklandregions (Cairns 1978b). In Alberta, the largest area ofSolonetzic soils is located in east-central Alberta run-ning south from Vegreville to Brooks. In addition,Solonetzic soils are found in southeastern Alberta nearManyberries, in the Peace River area from GrandPrairie to Fort Vermillion, and in northern Albertanear Fort McMurray. In Saskatchewan, the main areasof Solonetzic soils are in the following areas: Weyburnarea in the southeastern portion of the province, an areain the far southwestern corner, an area just south ofKerrobert in west-central region, and two small areassouth of Saskatoon. In Manitoba, the main area ofSolonetzic soils is an area near Winnipeg and south tothe international border, and there is a small areanorthwest of Brandon near the Saskatchewan border.In British Columbia, some Solonetzic soils occur inthe Peace River area near Dawson Creek and nearKamloops.EARLY RECOGNITION OF SOLONETZICSOILS IN CANADASystematic soil surveys in the 1920s and early 1930s firstidentified and recognized Solonetzic soils in Alberta,Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (McKeague and Stobbe1978). Solonetzic soils were also recognized in the 1930sin North Dakota (Kellogg 1934). In 1925, soil surveyReport No. 3 in Saskatchewan identified burn-outareas, and these areas were first mistakenly attributedto burn-out of the prairie sod (McKeague and Stobbe1978). A blowout phase of silt loam soils was mappedin the Medicine Hat and Sounding Creek map sheets in1926 and 1927 (Wyatt and Newton 1926, 1927). The soilswere identified as blow-out rather than burnoutsoils since it was thought that wind erosion rather thanburning of prairie sod was the cause. The soils weredescribed as having an impervious subsurface layer, lowinfiltration, poor fertility and crop growth, and wereoften associated with alkali salts, but the soils were notclassified as Solonetzic, and the term Solonetz was notused in the reports. However, in 1937, Wyatt et al. (1937)referred to these blow-out soils in the soil survey of theRainy Hills map sheet of east-central Alberta as having . . . a hard B solonetz-like horizon . . . Ellis and Shafer(1940) conducted a reconnaissance soil survey of south-western Manitoba in 1940, and identified Solonetzicsoils. In 1944, Mitchell et al. (1944) mapped soils in muchof southern Saskatchewan, and classified Solonetzicsoils as hard columnar (alkali-structured) profiles,saline (alkali or solonchack) profiles, Solonetz profiles,Solodized-Solonetz (degraded Solonetz) profiles, andSolodi or Solod (strongly degraded Solonetz) profiles.Fig. 1. Major areas of Solonetzic soils in western Canada.890 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL SCIENCECan. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. research on Solonetzic soils in the Great PlainsRegion was conducted in the 1930s and 1940s in Alberta(MacGregor 1938; MacGregor and Wyatt 1945;Odynsky 1945), Saskatchewan (Mitchell and Riecken1937; Bentley and Rost 1947), Manitoba (Ellis andCaldwell 1935), and North Dakota (Kellogg 1934).Pawluk (1982) developed a conceptual model for genesisof Solonetzic soils based on groundwater discharge(Solonetz) and recharge (Solodized Solonetz andSolods). Many of the early published papers discussedthe merits of classifying Solonetzic soils based onmorphology, chemistry, or both, as well as the issue ofMg- versus Na-Solonetzic soils, or those soils that havethe morphology of true Solonetz, but have greaterexchangeable Mg than Na.Historical field separations of Solonetzic and Cher-nozemic soils at the Order level in Canada have beenpersistently difficult due to the wide range in soilchemical and physical properties encountered, evolvingclassification criteria, and separation of these soils basedon field versus chemical criteria (Ballantyne and Clayton1964; Bennett 1988). For example, various chemicalcriteria such as ESP or ESR (exchangeable Na percen-tage or ratio), SAR (Na adsorption ratio), water-solubleNa, and exchangeable Ca:Na ratios have historicallybeen used to classify sodic or Solonetzic soils in NorthAmerica. In addition, different values have been usedfor each of these criteria, and this has caused confusionin trying to separate Solonetzic and Chernozemic soils(Bennett 1988). However, exchangeable Ca:Na ratios of10 or less in the Bn horizon are currently used to classifySolonetzic soils at the order level in Canada. In practice,soil surveyors generally classify Solonetzic soils based onmorphological criteria and periodically check their fieldclassification by measuring the exchangeable Ca:Naratios in the B horizon. In the US soil taxonomy,Solonetz and Solodized Solonetz are equivalent toNatric great groups of the Mollisol and Alfisol Orders,Solods are equivalent to Glossic Natriborolls andNatralbolls, and Vertic Solonetz are equivalent toHaplocryerts (Soil Classification Working Group 1998).SOIL FORMING FACTORSThe five general factors of soil formation are parentmaterial, relief, climate, organisms, and time (Jenny1941). The interaction of saline and sodic parentmaterial, low relief, groundwater discharge of salinegroundwater and shallow water tables, high evapotran-spiration, and grasses and forbs over time has likelycontributed to the genesis of Solonetzic soils withinareas generally dominated by Chernozemic soils.Solonetzic soils are found mainly on morainal, lacus-trine, alluvial, aeolian, or residual parent materials,particularly where there is thin glacial material overlyingshallow bedrock (Cairns 1978b; Toogood 1978). Theunderlying bedrock is typically saline and alkalinemarine shales, and occurs close to the surface (Cairns1978b). Solonetzic soils are thought to have developedfrom parent materials that were uniformly salinizedby salts high in Na (Soil Classification Working Group1998). Ballantyne (1968) reported that 88% of Solo-netzic soils developed on saline parent material(C horizon). High salt concentrations in glacial driftmay be related to the shallow underlying marine bed-rock (Peters 1978) and groundwater discharge (Pawlukand Bayrock 1969).Glacial deposits generally contain more evaporiteminerals (water soluble minerals that result fromevaporation) than the underlying bedrock (Pawluk andBayrock 1969). In addition, the latter authors reportedthat the principal soluble salts in glacial deposits aregenerally Na and SO4, although high Mg and SO4are found in some areas. The most likely source ofsoluble Na and SO4 in the glacial drift are the evaporiteminerals mirabilite (Na2SO4 10H2O) and thenardite(Na2SO4), which are generally the most commonNaSO4-type evaporite minerals found in soils of salineareas (Timpson et al. 1986; Skarie et al. 1987; Kohut andDudas 1993). Other Na-Mg-SO4 type evaporite miner-als, such as konyaite, bloedite, and loeweite, have alsobeen identified in saline soils. Sodium in bedrock mayoriginate from high exchangeable Na associated withsmectite, montmorillonite, or bentonite clay minerals(Kelly and Holmden 2001), and SO4 may originate frompyrite (FeS2) or sulfide oxidation and hydrolysis ofnatrojarosite or NaFe33 (SO4)2(OH)6 (Mermut andArshad 1987).Solonetzic soils generally occur on topographic reliefthat is level to undulating, especially on lowlands withrestricted drainage and that are adjacent to upland areas(Cairns 1978b; Pawluk 1982). Solonetzic soils aregenerally found in areas of regional or local ground-water discharge where the water table and capillaryfringe are close to the soil surface (MacLean andPawluk, 1975; Pawluk 1978, 1982; Fullerton and Pawluk1987; Seelig and Richardson 1994). In addition, micro-stratigraphy (e.g., coarse-textured lenses or impermeablelayers), slope position, and seasonal dynamics greatlyinfluence their occurrence (MacLean and Pawluk, 1975;Fullerton and Pawluk 1987; Miller and Pawluk 1994;Seelig and Richardson 1994).Solonetzic soils generally occur in the semiarid tosubhumid climatic zones of the Interior Plains region(Soil Classification Working Group 1998) where evapo-transpiration exceeds precipitation. Most Solonetzicsoils are associated with grasses and forbs (Wilkinsonand Johnson 1983; Soil Classification Working Group1998). Although some Solonetzic soils occur under treecover, the trees likely did not become established onSolonetz soils, but rather at a later stage when solodiza-tion was dominant. In the Peace River district ofnortheastern Alberta, Solonetzic soils appear to supportgrasslands and not forests because of the unfavourablechemical and physical properties of its Bn horizon(Wilkinson and Johnson 1983).MILLER AND BRIERLEY * SOLONETZIC SOILS OF CANADA 891Can. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. Little information exists on how much time it takesfor a Solonetzic soil to develop. Solonetz are consideredthe early evolutionary stages of development, SolodizedSolonetz the mid-stage, and then Solods the latter stagesof development (Fig. 2). It may be possible for manage-ment practices, such as deep plowing, deep ripping orsubsoiling, or application of chemical amendments, toaccelerate the soil-forming processes from AlkalineSolonetz to Solonetzic Chernozem (i.e., left to rightin Fig. 2).DIAGNOSTIC GENETIC PROCESSESSolonetzic soils are thought to develop via the stepwisepedogenic processes of salinization, solonization (desa-linzation and alkalization), and solodization (Gedroiz1927; Kellogg 1934; De Sigmond 1938; Kovda 1939;Bentley and Rost 1947; Nikiforoff 1947; Varallyay 1971;Pawluk 1982) (Fig. 2). It was not until 1894 that thepresence of the columnar horizons in alkali soils wasfirst pointed out by Zemiatchensky in Russia, and manyof the early theories on genesis of Solonetz soils camefrom Russian soil scientists (MacGregor and Wyatt1945).The areas where Solonetzic soils are recognized wereonce saline (Fig. 2). The presence of soluble salts inglacial till of Alberta coincides closely with the majorregions of Solonetzic soils (Pawluk and Bayrock 1969).Salinization is the process by which soluble saltsaccumulate at or near the landscape surface by evapo-transpiration (Pawluk 1982). To initiate Solonetzicgenesis in the western Canadian landscapes, a dom-inance of sodium salts must be concentrated andmaintained at the pedon surface or within the uppersection of the pedon by a shallow water table orgroundwater discharge (Whittig and Janitzky 1963;Arshad and Pawluk 1966; MacLean and Pawluk,1975; Pawluk 1982; Fullerton and Pawluk 1987).Discharge of saline groundwater from deep regionalconfined flow systems is thought to be the primary causeof Solonetzic soils in the extensive flat areas of theCanadian prairies (Pawluk 1982). These flat areas alsooften have restricted internal drainage caused by apermanently or temporarily perched water table andshallow bedrock, and this may play a major role ingenesis of Solonetzic soils (Arshad and Pawluk 1966).Artesian discharge from deep, confined aquifers is amajor cause of soil salinization in the Canadian prairies,particularly in closed drainage basins (Henry et al. 1985;Miller et al. 1993). In addition, groundwater dischargemay occur from bedrock outcrops (MacLean, 1974;Brown et al. 1982; Hendry and Buckland 1990), slope,or texture change seeps (Brown et al. 1982), potholeseeps (Brown et al. 1982), from fractured near-surfacebedrock and overlying thin drift (Stein and SchwartzFig. 2. Major genetic or pedogenic processes in the genesis of Solonetzic soils in Canada (modified after Pawluk 1982).892 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL SCIENCECan. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only., or from highly porous lenses (Toth 1962). Surfacerunoff at lower slope positions in closed basins may alsoinfiltrate the soil and be a source of water contributing toshallow water tables and soil salinization (Sommerfeldtand MacKay 1982). Relatively thin ground moraine(generallyB3 m thick) along with lack of any markedrelief provide ideal conditions for concentrating NaSO4salts along the capillary fringe of water discharging to thesurface from the underlying bedrock.Topography or relief can create complex systems ofgroundwater flow, and the only immutable law is thathighlands are recharge areas and lowlands are dischargeareas (Freeze and Cherry 1979). In addition, dis-charge areas commonly constitute only 5 to 30% ofthe surface area of the watershed. Where local relief isnegligible, only a general slope is evident in the land-scape, internal drainage is restricted, and regional flowsystems dominate (Toth 1963; Freeze and Witherspoon1967). However, recent research in the Interior Plainshas shown that local flow systems with recharge anddischarge can occur in level (B0.4% slopes) landscapeswith elevation differences of less than 3 cm (Schuh et al.1993). The flow paths for intermediate and local flowsystems are thought to be too short to allow sufficientmineralization of soluble salts such as Na (Chebotarev1955; Rozkowski 1967; Freeze and Cherry 1979).However, in landscapes with sufficient topographicrelief, soils of upper slopes show little salt influence,while salinization may still dominate at the mid andlower slope positions (Bentley and Rost 1947). AlthoughSolonetzic soils are generally found in areas wheregroundwater discharge is currently occurring (activeSolonetz), they may also be found where groundwaterdischarge is no longer dominant (relict Solonetz)(MacLean and Pawluk, 1975; Anderson, 1987).Sufficient quantities of soluble salts were likely notpresent in the glacial drift or the underlying bedrock toinitiate extensive salinization (Pawluk 1982). Rather, theorigin of the salts was likely the pure NaSO4 and othersalt deposits that occur sporadically throughout theGreat Plains. Pawluk (1982) proposed that regionalconfined groundwater flowed from its recharge area inthe Rocky Mountains, dissolved soluble salts from theElk Point Formation of Devonian age, leaked upwardby artesian flow through fractures and faults, and thendischarged in flat areas adjacent to the Canadian Shield.However, other workers have proposed that the originof NaSO4 deposits was glacial till, Cretaceous or oldermarine bedrock, connate water from marine rocks, ordissolution of deeply buried (1000 m) Paleozoicevaporates (McIlveen and Cheek 1994). In addition,other researchers have proposed that these NaSO4 saltswere dissolved and transported by surface runoff, orshallow, intermediate, or deep groundwater flow sys-tems. As noted by Kelly and Holmden (2001), thesedifferent explanations on the origin of NaSO4 and howthey were transported have not been tested.Soluble salts are brought into the soil pedon ofSolonetzic soils by capillary movement and evaporationfrom spring to fall, and upward water flow from thewater table to the freezing zone in the winter depositssalts upon freezing (Fullerton and Pawluk 1987). Sincecapillary rise from a shallow water table will be higherfor a clay than a sandy soil, the risk of soil salinizationby capillary rise is greater for finer- than coarser-textured soils, and salinization can occur from capillaryrise from deeper water tables in clay soils (Hillel 1998).This suggests that soil salinization will be more pre-valent on finer- than coarser-textured soils.Soluble salts move upward to the soil surface duringsoil salinization following the Hardie-Eugster model ofevolution of closed-basin brines (Timpson et al. 1986;Skarie et al. 1987; Miller et al. 1989). In this model ofsoil salinization, less soluble evaporate minerals such ascalcite and gypsum precipitate in the subsoil, whereasmore soluble Na-Mg-SO4 evaporates (e.g., mirabilite)precipitate on the soil surface as efflorescence or whitesalt crusts (Keller et al. 1986a, b). The sequence ofpreferential mineral precipitation in saline soils resultsin the high concentrations of Na and SO4 salts in theupper pedon, and these salts are required to initiatesolonization.For solonization to proceed from salinization (Fig. 2),three conditions must be met: (1) gradual desalinizationmust occur to lower the total concentration of solublesalts to initiate alkalization or accumulation of Na ionson the exchange complex of clay minerals; (2) there mustbe a high concentration of Na ions to initiate alkaliza-tion; and (3) there must be significant expandableclay minerals to initiate clay dispersion (Pawluk 1982).Desalinization is thought to have occurred in theInterior Plains because a change in climate (increasedprecipitation) and lower water tables resulted in leachingof soluble salts or desalinization (Pawluk 1982).A reduction in electrolyte content (EC or electricalconductivity) following desalinization increases the dis-persive properties of soil colloids containing adsorbedexchangeable Na ions (Gedroiz 1927; Curtin et al.1994a, b, c; Curtin et al. 1995). Clay dispersion occurswhen the total salt content is 50.10 to 0.15% (11.5g kg1 soil) and Na ions occupy at least 1015% of theexchange complex (De Sigmond 1938). More recentresearch in western Canada has shown that clay disper-sion in Chernozemic soils in Saskatchewan occurredwhen the total salt concentration was 520 mmolc L1and the exchangeable Na percentage exceeded about 10(Curtin et al. 1994b). Solonetzic soils are also dominatedby 50% water-soluble Na determined from saturatedpaste extracts (Ballantyne and Clayton 1963), or whenthe Solonetzic B horizon has ]4% exchangeable Naand has a ratio of exchangeable Ca to Na 510(Ballantyne and Clayton 1964). Solonetz and SolodizedSolonetz were found to have B horizons with exchange-able Na values 15 (Bowser et al. 1962).MILLER AND BRIERLEY * SOLONETZIC SOILS OF CANADA 893Can. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. The unique columnar structure of the Solonetzic Bnhorizon likely develops from a combination of wettingand drying forming prismatic structure (White 1966,1967; Redmond and Omodt 1967), and eluviation of soilmaterial from the top corners of the prisms results in therounded tops or columnar shape (Troeh and Thompson2005). Preferential flow through the planar macroporesbetween the columns may also accentuate and preservethe columnar structure.Repeated cycles of salinization and desalinizationcaused by changes in precipitation and evapotranspira-tion enhance alkalization, and are essential to counter-act the inputs of Ca from biocycling (plants), whichwould inhibit dispersion (Pawluk 1982). Upward flow ofNa ions occurs by capillary flow through fine pores anddesalinization occurs by gravity flow through largerpores (Pawluk 1982). The high exchangeable Na and wetsoil moisture conditions during salinization result inhydrolysis of Na-clays during alkalization. Weak dis-sociation and hydrolysis reactions cause an alkalinecondition (high pH values) whereby humic materialsundergo decomposition to form highly mobile Na-humates (Pawluk 1982). Organic matter in soil is solubleand easily dispersed in NaOH solutions at high pH(Russell 1973). Dispersion of Na-clays and Na-humatesand percolation downward eventually results in forma-tion of a dark highly colloidal layer or horizon (Bn) witha chisel-shaped upper boundary (Alkaline Solonetz).Further desalinization of the Alkaline Solonetz results information of the Solonetzic soil that has a lower pH andlower total concentration of soluble salts.Solonization will prevail as long as cycles of saliniza-tion and desalinization occur in the B horizon (Pawluk1982; Anderson 1987). However, sufficient dispersedclay eventually eluviates from the A to the B horizonto form a dense and impermeable Bnt horizon. Aniso-tropic flow conditions or a change in vertical hydraulicflow gradients may prevent capillary rise of Na-salts intothe A horizon and disconnect the soil pedon from thegroundwater. The lack of capillary rise of Na, hydrolysisof Na-clays, and gradual displacement of Na by Al-hydroxy ions and Ca and Mg by biocycling (White 1971)eventually result in intense chemical weathering at theA-B interface. This results in a mildly weathered andacidic A horizon (Ae) overlying a dense Na-dominatedB horizon (Pawluk 1982; Anderson 1987). This process iscalled solodization (Fig. 2). It is thought that a slowdisconnection of the capillary fringe from the A horizonhas to occur for the Ae horizon to form, and that if thewater table drops quickly, the Ae horizon may notdevelop (Pawluk 1982). This is the upper pathway shownon Fig. 2. In contrast, if the water table drops slowly overtime, an Ae may form (lower pathway in Fig. 2). It isthought that this latter pathway is more common.The depth of soil drying is closely related to the degreeof solodization (Cairns 1962). The eluvial Ae horizonhas a coarse texture, platy structure, and an ashy graycolor that is indicative of strong weathering conditionsand eluviation (Pawluk 1982). Strong weathering con-ditions in the Ah and Ae horizons are indicated by thepresence of amorphous Al-silicates and the mineralclinoptilolite (Ca-Al silicate) (Spiers et al. 1984). Fulvicacids make up the greatest portion of the organic matterpresent in the most severely weathered horizons ofSolonetzic soils (Arshad 1977). The proportion ofthermodynamically active cations in saturation extractsalso increases in more leached soil profiles such asSolodized Solonetz (Heck and Mermut 1992a). Max-imum concentration of Na salts are maintained at thetop of the B horizon as long as capillary rise reaches theupper surface of the B horizon (Pawluk 1982). Ifhydrological conditions change so the Bnt horizon isno longer replenished by capillary rise to the top of the Bhorizon, the B horizon will break down rather quickly,allowing deeper eluviation, making the upper solummore acidic, and allowing development of a moreproductive soil such as a Chernozem (Anderson 1987).Some soils in the Canadian prairies have the mor-phological properties to classify them as Solonetz, butthey may not meet the chemical criteria (Reeder andOdynsky 1964) or the exchangeable cation is dominantlyMg rather than Na (Bentley and Rost 1947). The latterauthors have given various theories to explain thegenesis of these Mg-Solonetz, and suggested thatSolonetzic soils should be classified based on theirmorphology rather than chemical properties. However,Mg is only about 5% as dispersive on clays as Na(Curtin et al. 1994c). Seelig et al. (1990a) have alsoreported sodic soils in North Dakota that had natricmorphology but did not meet the requirement of Naadsorption ratio of ]13. Some researchers have pro-posed that Solonetzic soils should be classified based ontheir morphology (Bentley and Rost 1947), exchange-able Na and Mg, or on water-soluble Na (Ballantyneand Clayton 1963). The current Canadian system of soilclassification specifies that Solonetzic soils must beclassified based on both morphology and exchangeableCa to Na ratios of 510 in the Bn horizon. In practice,most soil surveys classify Solonetzic soils based on theirmorphology observed in the field, and their fieldclassification is periodically checked by analyzing ex-changeable Ca:Na ratios of the Bn horizon in thelaboratory.Secondary pedogenic processes that occur in Solo-netzic soils are melanization, gleying, and illuviation.The former two are used to separate subgroups withineach of the four Solonetzic Great Groups. Melanizationis the darkening of light-colored unconsolidated mate-rial by additions of organic matter (Buol et al. 1980),and is dependent on climate and vegetation (Moss1965). In the Canadian prairies, increased additions oforganic matter from vegetation that are caused by a shiftfrom arid to more humid climate results in Brown, DarkBrown, Black, Gray, or Dark Gray soils as one movesfrom south to north within the provinces. Brown andDark Brown soils generally occur in the grassland894 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL SCIENCECan. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. prairie region, Black soils occur in the prairie andparkland (wooded prairie) region, and Gray and DarkGray soils generally occur under deciduous vegetation.Gleying or gleization is the reduction of iron underanaerobic waterlogged soil conditions (Buol et al. 1980).It produces bluish to greenish gray matrix colors, withor without yellowish brown, brown, and black mottles,and Fe and Mn concretions. In Solonetzic soils, the flattopography, restricted drainage, shallow water tables,and groundwater discharge all may contribute to gley-ing. Gleying is generally restricted to the B or Chorizons in the Solonetz Great Group, the Ae, B, or Chorizons in the Solodized Solonetz Great Group, theAe, AB, B, or C horizons in the Solods, and in the B orC horizons for the Vertic Solonetz. Illuviation of clayfrom the A to B horizons (Buol et al. 1980) is alsoprevalent in most Solonetzic soils, results in the forma-tion of the Bnt horizon, and is generally more prevalentin the more humid soils of the Black, Gray, and DarkGray soil zones where greater precipitation eluviatesmore clay downward into the B horizon (Brunelle et al.1976).CLASSIFICATION OF THE SOLONETZIC ORDERThe Solonetzic Order was first officially recognized inthe Canadian System of Soil Classification in the firstedition published in 1974 (Canada Department ofAgriculture 1974). Currently, soils of the Solonetzicorder are defined as having a Solonetzic B horizondesignated as a Bn or Bnt (Soil Classification WorkingGroup 1998). This horizon has columnar or prismaticstructure, is hard to extremely hard when dry, and has aratio of exchangeable Ca to Na510. The macro-structural units usually break to form hard to extremelyhard blocky peds with dark coatings.Solonetzic soils do not have permafrost within 1 mof the surface (Cryosolic Order), a surface organic layer60 cm or more in thickness if fibric or 40 cm or more ifmesic or humic (Organic Order), a podzolic B horizon(Podzolic Order), or evidence of strong gleying (Gley-solic Order) (Soil Classification Working Group 1998).Various criteria are used to distinguish Solonetzicsoils from soils of other orders (Soil ClassificationWorking Group 1998). Soils with a Chernozemic Ahorizon and a Solonetzic B horizon are classified asSolonetzic. In borderline cases, where the Bnt horizon issimilar to Btnj horizons of some Solonetzic subgroups ofChernozemic soils, the ratio of exchangeable Ca to Nadetermines the classification. Some Luvisolic soils aresimilar to the Gray and Dark Gray Solods and in thesecases, soils having a Btnj are classified as Luvisols andthose having a Bnt horizon are classified as Solonetzic.Soil that have a Solonetzic B horizon but have dullcolors (low chroma) and mottling indicating stronggleying within 50 cm of the mineral soil surface areclassified as Gleysolic. Some Solonetzic soils have aslickenside horizon but Vertisolic soils have both a vertic(v suffix) and a slickenside horizon (ss suffix), whereasSolonetzic soils do not.Saline soils in Canada are currently classified as aphase of other soil orders such as Chernozemic,Gleysolic, Regosolic, or Solonetzic (Soil ClassificationWorking Group 1998). To qualify as a saline phase (e.g.,saline Calcareous Dark Brown Chernozem), the soilhorizon should have a sa suffix (e.g., Bmksa) in theA or B horizon. The sa horizon has a secondaryenrichment of soluble salts more soluble than Ca andMg carbonates (e.g., gypsum), the horizon is at least10 cm thick, the conductivity (EC) of the saturationextract must be ]4 dS m1, and the EC must exceedthat of the C horizon by at least one-third.SOLONETZIC GREAT GROUPSThe Solonetzic Order includes four great groups:Solonetz, Solodized Solonetz, Solod, and Vertic Solo-netz (Soil Classification Working Group 1998). TheVertic Solonetz great group was added in the thirdedition of the Canadian System of Soil Classificationpublished in 1998. The great groups are separated basedon the degree of expression of the Ae horizon, thebreakdown of the upper part of the Bn or Bnt horizon,and the occurrence of vertic features. The Solonetz greatgroup does not have an Ae horizon that is continuousand ]2 cm thick and has a Solonetzic Bn or Bnthorizon. The Solonetz great group is subdivided intoseven subgroups with common horizon designationsamong the subgroups. The Solodized Solonetz greatgroup has an Ae ]2 cm thick, and an intact, columnarBnt or Bn horizon, and is subdivided into 10 subgroups.The Solod great group have an Ae ]2 cm thick, adistinct AB or BA horizon (disintegration of top of Bnt),and a Solonetzic B horizon. The Solod great group issubdivided into 10 subgroups.The Vertic Solonetz great group has any features ofthe previous three great groups, and the presence of aslickenside horizon whose upper boundary is within 1 mof the mineral soil surface. Slickensides are stress cutanshaving smoothed ped surfaces with parallel striae andgrooves (Buol et al. 1980). They are recognized in thefield as polished or smooth surfaces along ped fractureplanes. They form when peds press against each otherduring soil wetting, and are found in fine-textured soilswith high clay content, particularly expanding claysilicates. The Vertic Solonetzic great group is subdividedinto six subgroups.SOLONETZIC SUB-GROUPSThe thirty-three subgroups of the Solonetzic Order aresubdivided within the great groups based on threecriteria: color of the A horizon, whether the A horizonis alkaline, and whether there is gleying within 50 cm ofthe mineral soil surface. The seven subgroups of theSolonetz great group are subdivided based on the colorof the A horizon (Brown, Dark Brown and BlackSolonetz), whether the Ah horizon is alkaline or has aMILLER AND BRIERLEY * SOLONETZIC SOILS OF CANADA 895Can. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. pH]8.5 (Alkaline Solonetz), and whether there isgleying within 50 cm of the mineral soil surface (GleyedBrown, Gleyed Dark Brown, or Gleyed Black Solonetz).The 10 subgroups of the Solodized Solonetz and Solodgreat groups are subdivided based on the color of theAh, Ahe, or Ap horizon (Brown, Dark Brown, Black,Dark Gray, or Gray Solodized Solonetz), and gleying(Gleyed Brown, Gleyed Dark Brown, Gleyed Black,Gleyed Dark Gray, or Gleyed Gray Solodized Solo-netz). The six subgroups of the Vertic Solonetz greatgroup are subdivided based on color of the A horizon(Brown, Dark Brown, or Black Vertic Solonetz) or thepresence of gleying (Gleyed Brown, Gleyed DarkBrown, or Gleyed Black Vertic Solonetz).SOLONETZIC SOIL CATENAS IN THELOCAL LANDSCAPESolonetzic soils occur in the local landscape in associa-tion with soils of other orders (i.e., soil catenas).Solonetzic soils generally occur in landscapes mostcommonly in association with soils of the ChernozemicOrder and to a lesser extent with Gleysolic and Luvisolicsoils (Soil Classification Working Group 1998). Thesignificance of the distance of the soil surface above thewater table and the role of leaching to counterbalanceupward fluxes of soluble salts makes topography ofconsiderable importance to the genetic development ofSolonetzic soils (Anderson 1987).Two common Solonetzic catenas are found in theprairies (Bentley and Rost 1947; Pennock et al. 1999). Inthe first sequence, Gleyed Solonetz or Solonetz occur inthe depressional areas of the landscape, and soils thengrade through Solodized Solonetz, Solods, and in somecases, Chernozems or normal zonal soils at higherelevations. Catenary sequences similar to this firstsequence, but with slight variations, has been reportedin Saskatchewan (Heck and Mermut 1992b) and centralAlberta (Miller and Pawluk 1994). The depressions aretypically areas with shallow water tables and ground-water discharge that bring soluble salts upward into thesoil solum, and the groundwater effect becomes lessdominant moving upslope.In the second sequence, Solods are found in the lowesttopographic position, while Solodized Solonetz, Solo-netz and Chernozems are found at progressively higherslope positions. This catenary sequence has been de-scribed for soils in Saskatchewan (Bentley and Rost1947; Anderson, 1987; Pennock et al. 1999). Surfacerunoff occurs from the upper to lower slope positions,and a deep water table and groundwater recharge at thelowest slope position allows leaching of soluble salts tooccur in the Solod.Other catenary sequences with Solonetzic soils arealso found in the Great Plains Region. In the glacialLake Edmonton basin, Black Solodized Solonetz werefound at lower slope positions, with Black Solonetz,Eluviated Black Chernozems, and saline Black Cherno-zems found at progressively higher slope positions(Arshad and Pawluk 1966). In the Vegreville area ofAlberta, carbonated saline Gleysols were found at thefootslope position, with thin Black Solonetz and BlackSolonetz occurring at higher elevations (Leskiw 1971).In North Dakota, Solonetzic soils were found at theintermediate and upland landform positions adjacent torecharge or discharge wetlands (Seelig et al. 1990a, 1991;Richardson et al. 1992; Seelig and Richardson 1994).Seelig et al. (1990b) also reported Solonetzic soils(Natriborolls or NatriAquolls) at upland, intermediate,and wetland slope positions in a closed till landscape.In the Parkland ecoregion of Alberta, Dark BrownSolodized Solonetz soils were found to occur most oftenat the lower slope position (MacMillan et al. 2005).In the Brown soil zone of southwestern Saskatchewan,Pennock et al. (1999) reported that Solonzetic soils weremainly in depressional positions with catchments greaterthan 250 m2. The Solonetzic soils were most commonlyassociated with major depressions at the base of thedominant slope, but were also found in minor depres-sions at 3 to 4 m above the local minimum elevation. Thecatenary sequence for the major depressions was thatSolonetz and Solodized Solonetz occurred at the concavebreak in slope, whereas the Solod and Solonetz BrownChernozems occurred at higher slope positions. For theminor depressions in the upland area, Brown Solonetzoccurred at the lowest point in the depression, andSolodized Solonetz and Solods at slightly higher eleva-tions. They postulated that the occurrence of Solonetzand Solodized Solonetz soils at the edge of the depressionand in the convergent footslope positions may be due tolateral redistribution of saline groundwater to theperimeter of the depression, similar to the bathtub-ring effect reported for saline and carbonated soilsaround willow-ring depressions (Richardson et al. 1992).Pennock et al. (1999) also reported that all of the originaltopsoil was lost from this landscape by wind erosion,resulting in a surface soil layer that showed little ofthe catenary variation typical of most Saskatchewanlandscapes.AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT ISSUESASSOCIATED WITH SOLONETZIC ORDERSolonetzic soils have unique properties that adverselyaffect their use for agriculture and other land uses (e.g.,construction, septic systems). Solonetzic soils adverselyaffect crop production by affecting physical and chemi-cal properties (Peters 1978; Toogood, 1978; Cairns1978a, b). The high Na concentration in the Bn horizonadversely affects soil structure and management prac-tices such as seedbed preparation (Cairns 1978b). Highexchangeable Na and low salinity cause dispersion ofclay and poor soil structure (Curtin et al. 1994a, b). Thelow organic matter and poor structure (platy) of the Aehorizon make this horizon very susceptible to crustingwhen this horizon is brought to the surface by cultiva-tion, and this restricts the emergence of seedlings.896 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL SCIENCECan. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. The compact and impermeable B horizon limitswater, air, and root penetration so that these soilscannot withstand long periods of drought. Since infil-tration is low on Solonetzic soils, precipitation pondson the surface, is lost by evaporation, and contributeslittle to plant-available water. The roots also concentrateon the soil surface. The B horizon is slowly to veryslowly impermeable to water. Consequently, salts in thesoil profile cannot be removed by tile drainage. The highsalinity of the subsoil may limit water absorption bycrops because the osmotic pressure of the soil solutionmay be greater than of the plants solution.The unique chemical composition of Solonetzic soilsmay adversely affect the uptake of plant nutrients by theroots (Peters 1978). For example, even though thesesoils may be well supplied with nitrogen, they requiremuch greater average amounts of nitrogen fertilizer tocompensate for their poor physical condition. Solonetzicsoils generally contain less nitrogen and release lessnitrogen to the growing crop than do associated non-Solonetzic soils (Cairns 1978b). The variable thicknessof the Ap horizon results in extreme variability inSolonetzic soils, patchy crop growth and extremelyvariable responses to fertilizer (Cairns 1978b; Toogood1978).Extreme variability of soil chemical and physicalproperties in fields with Solonetzic soils is also consis-tent with the variable recharge and discharge that canoccur in relatively level landscapes with elevationdifferences of less than 3 cm (Schuh et al. 1993).Available phosphorus or potassium may also be defi-cient on some Solonetzic soils. The low pH values of theAp horizon may adversely affect the growth of sensitivecrops such as alfalfa. The extreme variability in thephysical and chemical properties of these soils makesgood crop management extremely difficult, and cropgrowth on these soils is patchy. Calcium deficienciesmay also occur on Solonetzic soils because of the highNa to Ca ratio (Carter and Webster 1979).AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY OFSOLONETZIC SOILSCrop growth on Solonetzic soils is generally lower thanChernozemic soils (Moss 1965; Cairns 1978b; Toogood1978). However, if adequate precipitation occurs at theright time and the Solonetzic soil has a deep A horizon oris Solodic, crop yields may be nearly as high as forChernozems. Research suggests that the fertilizer re-quirements of crops grown on Solonetzic soils are similarto those grown on associated non-Solonetzic soils, butthat the optimum rates of fertilizer application will belower because of lower yield potential (Lickacz 1993).Solonetzic soils with A horizons15 cm should bystraight grain farmed, those with A horizons from 7.5to 15 cm should be farmed in a grain-grass system, andthose withB7.5 cm of A horizon are best used forproduction of fertilized grass (Cairns 1978b). Thepotential productivity of Solonetzic soils is very differentfor the Great Groups. The rating for agricultural pro-ductivity from poorest to highest are: Alkaline Solonetzand Alkaline-saline SolonetzBSolodized SolonetzBSolodBSolonetz with low alkalinity and solublesaltsBChernozems (Moss 1965).Strongly alkaline and strongly saline-alkaline Solo-netz profiles are among the poorest agricultural soilsbecause of high pH values and electrical conductivitywhich can restrict crop growth (Moss 1965). However,the strongly alkaline Solonetz does not occupy largeareas of agricultural land in the Canadian prairies.Costs of production and yields of crops on SolodizedSolonetz soils are adversely affected by high tillage-draftrequirements, difficulty in maintaining good soil tilth,the hummocky nature of the surface, and the toughcompact nature of the subsoil. This is particularlyevident where the eroded pits occupy a large proportionof a cultivated area. The agricultural rating of SolodizedSolonetz soils depends on the following factors: depth orthickness of A horizons above compact B horizons; theposition and amount of soluble salts, the proportion oferoded pits, and the proportion of more desirableSolonetz and Solod profiles.The Solod profile is a better agricultural soil than theSolodized Solonetz, but is somewhat poorer than thebest Solonetz (Moss 1965). The agricultural rating ofSolods depends on the following factors: soil texture,zonal location, depth to B horizon and the degree ofdisintegration of the B, proportion of depression Solodicsoils, and proportion of other soils such as SolodizedSolonetz and associated eroded pits. In some cases,Solod soils may be acidic enough to affect the growth ofcrops that are sensitive to low pH. The Solod is moredesirable for plant growth because the B horizon ispartially broken up and usually occurs well belowthe cultivated layer, and salts are leached to lowerdepths. Solods are more likely to show fertilizerresponses similar to those on adjacent non-Solonetzicsoils (Toogood 1978).The agricultural productivity of the Vertic SolonetzGreat Group has not been adequately studied inCanada, but the agricultural productivity of these soilsis likely similar to the Solonetz Great Group soils withlow alkalinity and soluble salts. In many regions of theworld, Vertisols are highly productive for various cropproduction systems (Coulombe et al. 2000). However,the intrinsic shrink-swell behavior is the dominantprocess in Vertisols and results in significantly greaterspatial and temporal variability of soil properties than inany other soil order (Coulombe et al. 2000).The productivity of Solonetzic soils can be related tothe proportion of the Great Groups in the region(Toogood 1978). For example, in the Vegreville-Brooksarea of east-central Alberta, 79% of Solonetz soils are inthe Solodized Solonetz Great Group and 18% areSolods. In the Peace River area of northeastern Alberta,29% of the Solonetzic soils are Solodized Solonetz and69% are Solods. Therefore, the production potential ofMILLER AND BRIERLEY * SOLONETZIC SOILS OF CANADA 897Can. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. Solonetzic soils is greater in the Peace River area than inthe Vegreville-Brooks area. Carter (1983) reported thatbarley and wheat growth, and root penetration weregreater on Solod compared with Solonetz soils.IRRIGATION OF SOLONETZIC SOILSLarge areas of Solonetzic soils in the irrigation districtsof Alberta have been considered nonirrigable because ofthe potential for soil salinization (Cairns 1978b).Although flood irrigation is generally unsuccessful onSolonetzic soils, there is a potential for successfulsprinkler irrigation of Solonetzic soils with carefulmanagement. The soils that are best suited for irrigationare low in soluble salts, well-drained, and have ade-quate water intake rates and moisture storage capacity(Krogman 1978; Lickacz 1993). In Alberta, the areawhere Solonetzic soils are most likely to be consideredfor irrigation is within the Brown soil zone (Krogman1978). Solonetzic soils are often high in salts (especiallyNa) and have low water intake rates. The productivecapability of an entire field diminishes as the proportionof less productive Solonetzic soils increases. Solonetzicsoils are considered less suitable for irrigation thanChernozemic soils due to the undesirable properties ofthe Bn or Bnt horizon, moderate to high levels of subsoilsalinity, and extreme variability of soils within Solo-netzic landscapes (Bennett 1988; Bennett and Entz1990). Land units containing]30% Solonetzic soilsare rated non-irrigable under existing land classificationstandards, and irrigation is not recommended if theSAR is12 within the upper meter of the soil profile(Alberta Agriculture 1983).Careful sprinkler irrigation management is requiredfor irrigated land that hasB30% Solonetzic soils. Watershould be applied at low rates to avoid surface ponding,runoff, a rise in the water table, and deep ruts from pivottires. For example, a 5-yr study was conducted of theirrigation suitability of Solonetzic soils in the County ofNewell in Alberta (Bennett and Entz 1990). Althoughthere was no detectable deterioration of land over 5 yr ofsprinkler irrigation under local management practices,the low productivity levels and high degree of variabilityin yield resulted in a recommendation to not irrigatethese Solonetzic soils. Soils may also become sodic orSolonetzic if irrigation water with high Na is applied tofields (Curtin et al. 1994a, b, 1995; Buckland et al. 2002).OTHER LAND USE ISSUES WITHSOLONETZIC SOILSThe undesirable properties of Solonetzic (and saline)soils may also affect other land uses besides agriculture(Peters 1978; Cairns 1978b; Naeth et al. 1987). Salts inthese soils may corrode metal surfaces and sulfate maycause deterioration of ordinary cement, requiring specialconstruction techniques for foundations and basements(Lindsay et al. 1973). Soils with 0.10% (1 g kg1)sulfate in the soil may cause degradation of concrete(United States Bureau of Reclamation 1966). Saline soilsand subsoils of Solonetzic soils are often high in sulfatesalts. Special precautions may need to be taken whereconcrete structures are placed in soils with high sulfates.These measures include use of sulfate-resisting cement,a low water-cement ratio, high cement content, air-entrapment, waterproof coatings, drainage facilities,and special reinforcing covers (Swenson 1971).Reclamation of borrow pits or excavations used forroad construction that are located on Solonetzic soilsrequire special reclamation procedures (Alberta Trans-portation 2002). The high Na content of these soils alsocauses unstable soil aggregates and increases watererosion, and may affect road building and construc-tion of earthern structures. The low permeability ofSolonetzic soils also makes them unsuitable for sewagedisposal using septic systems. Tree growth on Solonetzicsoils in the Parkland region of western Canada may alsobe stunted. Soils having Vertic properties such as VerticSolonetz soils may limit civil engineering applicationsfor construction of buildings, roads, pipelines and utilitycorridors (Coulombe et al. 2000). Naeth et al. (1987)reported that 50 yr would be required to restore half thelost organic matter after pipeline installation in Solo-netzic mixed prairie of southern Alberta.MANAGEMENT OF SOLONETZIC SOILSManagement of Solonetzic soils generally involves useof deep plowing, subsoiling (ripping), and often applica-tion of Ca amendments such as gypsum and lime(Cairns and Hermans 1978; Webster and Cairns 1978;Cairns 1978b; Lickacz 1993). Deep plowing was firstattempted in Alberta in the 1950s, but is generally notpracticed today because it is too expensive. Deepplowing to ]40 cm mixes the A (topsoil), B (hardpan),and C (lime-salt layer) horizons in nearly equal propor-tions. The deep plowing breaks up the compact Bn orBnt horizon, and lime and Ca-salts from the C horizonare mixed into the B horizon to reduce the proportion ofexchangeable Na. Although deep plowing may improvecrop yields (Cairns and Hermans 1978; Cairns 1978b;Lickacz 1993), some studies have reported no beneficialeffect under dryland or irrigated conditions (Changet al. 1986). Deep plowing is expensive because ofadditional horsepower (and gasoline) required tobreak-up the B horizon, so determining the precise areasin fields to reclaim is important (Faechner et al. 2000).In addition, continuous cropping for at least 3 yr afterdeep plowing, and the selection of higher-revenue cropsin the second and third crop years, helps recover the costof deep plowing (Grevers and Taylor 1995). Applicationof gypsum, and to a lesser extent lime, to Solonetzicsoils, particularly in combination with deep plowing,will cause the Ca in gypsum to exchange for Na, therebyimproving the soils physical and chemical condition.Subsoiling or deep ripping has generated considerableinterested in the past few years as an alternative to deepplowing because it is less expensive (Lickacz 1993).Subsoiling or deep ripping uses special plows to shatter898 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL SCIENCECan. J. Soil. Sci. Downloaded from by on 11/07/14For personal use only. the compact Bn horizon and allow increased water androot penetration with limited mixing of soil horizons(Mathison et al. 2002). However, research has shownthat soil and crop yield improvement from deep rippinghas been inconsistent (Lavado and Cairns 1980; Bole1986; Webster and Nyborg 1986; Wetter et al. 1987;Riddell et al. 1988; Grevers and de Jong 1993; Lickacz1993; Mathison et al. 2002).ISSUES AND RESEARCH GAPS ONSOLONETZIC SOILSThere is increasing interest in linking soil genesis orpedology with hydrology to understand the soil body inits natural position within an open system of thelandscape or the critical zone (Narashimhan 2005;Schoeneberger and Wysocki 2005; Brantley et al.2006), particularly in the new emerging discipline ofhydropedology (Linn 2003). Hydropedology acts abridge connecting pedology, soil physics, hydrology,and hydrogeology to further our understanding of thecritical zone (root zone, deep vadose zone, and ground-water zone). This emerging discipline is positioned tostudy the genesis of Solonetzic soils. Hydropedologyalso integrates disciplines across microscopic (e.g.,pores, aggregates), mesoscopic (e.g., pedons, catenas),and macroscopic (e.g., watersheds, regional, global)scales (Linn 2003, 2009; Linn et al. 2005). Interdisci-plinary research in the 1970s already integrated pedol-ogy, soil physics, and hydrogeology in the study of soilgenesis with a focus on Solonetzic soils (Eilers 1973;MacLean, 1974; MacLean and Pawluk, 1975), but it wasnot officially recognized as hydropedology at the time.An example of a hydropedology scale issue applicableto understanding genesis of Solonetzic soils is theimportant discovery by Schuh et al. (1993) that dramaticdifferences in recharge and discharge may occur oversmall areas (1212 m) of level landscapes with eleva-tion differences of less than 3 cm. Previous research onthe genesis of Solonetzic soils in relation to hydrologyhave generally been over much larger areas, butSolonetzic soils are extremely variable over shortdistances. Therefore, we may need to study Solonetziclandscapes at the level of detail examined by Schuh et al.(1993) to fully understand their genesis.ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe map showing distribution of soils of the SolonetzicOrder in Canada was constructed by Arnie Waddell ofAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Winnipeg. Thesenior author thanks Dr. Dan Pennock (University ofSaskatchewan) for the invitation to write this reviewpaper. The senior author would like to dedicate thispaper to the following pedologists: Dr. Steve Pawluk(retired, University of Alberta), Dr. Roly St. Arnaud(deceased, University of Saskatchewan), and Dr. DonActon (retired, University of Saskatchewan).Alberta Agriculture. 1983. Standards for the classification ofland for irrigation in the province of Alberta. IrrigationCouncil, Lethbridge, AB.Alberta Transportation. 2002. Alberta transportation guide toreclaiming borrow excavations used for road construction.[Online] Available:, D. W. 1987. Pedogenesis in the grassland andadjacent forests of the Great Plains. Adv. Soil Sci. 7: 5493.Arshad, M. A. 1977. Characteristics of organic matter ex-tracted from some Solonetzic soils. Z. Pflanzenernaehr.Bodenkd. 140: 7178.Arshad, M. A. and Pawluk, S. 1966. Characteristics of someSolonetzic soils in the glacial Lake Edmonton basin of Alberta.I. Physical and chemical. J. Soil Sci. 17: 3647.Ballantyne, A. K. 1968. Water-soluble salts in the parentmaterial of Solonetzic and Chernozemic soils in Saskatchewan.Can. J. Soil Sci. 48: 4348.Ballantyne, A. K. and Clayton, J. S. 1963. The relation-ship of water-soluble cations to field separations ofChernozemic and Solonetzic soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 43:359369.Ballantyne, A. K. and Clayton, J. S. 1964. The relationships ofexchangeable cations in the B horizons to the field separationsof Solonetzic and Chernozemic soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 44:4349.Bennett, D. R. 1988. Soil chemical criteria for irrigationsuitability classification of Brown Solonetzic soils. Can. J.Soil Sci. 68: 703714.Bennett, D. R. and Entz, T. 1990. Irrigation suitability ofSolonetzic soils in the county of Newell, Alberta. Can. J. SoilSci. 70: 705715.Bentley, C. F. and Rost, C. O. 1947. A study of someSolonetzic soil complexes in Saskatchewan. Sci. Agric. 27:293313.Bole, J. B. 1986. Amelioration of a calcareous Solonetizc soilby irrigation, deep ripping, and acidification with elementalsulfur. Can. J. Soil Sci. 66: 347356.Bowser, W. E., Milne, R. A. and Cairns, R. R. 1962.Characteristics of the major soil groups in an area dominatedby Solonetzic soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 42: 165179.Brantley, S. I., White, T. S., White, A. F., Sparks, D., Richter,D., Pregitzer, K., Derry, L., Chorover, J., Chadwick, O., April,R., Anderson, S. and Amundson, R. 2006. Frontiers inexploration of the critical zone: report of a workshopsponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Oct.2426, 2005, Newark, DE. 30 pp.Brown, P. L., Halvorson, A. D., Siddoway, F. H., Mayland,H. F. and Miller, M. R. 1982. Saline-seep diagnosis, control,and reclamation. US Dept. Agric. Conserv. Res. Rep. No. 30,22 pp.Brunelle, A., Pawluk, S. and Peters, T. 1976. Evaluation ofprofile development of some Solonetzic soils of south centralAlberta. Can. J. Soil Sci. 56: 149158.Buckland, G. D., Bennett, D. R., Mikalson, D. E., de Jong, E.and Chang, C. 2002. Soil salinization and sodication fromalternate irrigations with saline-sodic water and simulatedrain. Can. J. Soil Sci. 82: 297309.Buol, S. W., Hole, F. D. and McCracken, R. J. 1980. Soilgenesis and classification. The Iowa State University Press,Ames, IA.Cairns, R. R. 1962. Some moisture relations in a Solonetzic soilcomplex. Can. J. Soil Sci. 42: 1722.MILLER AND BRIERLEY * SOLONETZIC SOILS OF CANADA 899Can. J. Soil. 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