Multi-Scale Pedologic Investigation of Manganiferous Soils in the Maryland Piedmont
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Manganese oxides are usually found in trace quantities in soils, but they are important due to their effects on soil chemistry and morphology. There are rare soils in the Maryland Piedmont that have extremely high amounts of manganese oxides that have not been previously studied. These manganiferous soils were examined at multiple scales in order to determine their spatial extent, to characterize their fundamental morphology, mineralogy, and chemical and physical properties, and to better understand their pedogenesis. The soils occupy areas of 1-2 ha in size, within 200 km2 in eastern Frederick County and western Carroll County. The soils can have as much as 140 g kg-1 Mn as oxides, which pigments the entire soil matrix black in subsoil horizons. It appears that the black, porous, Mn-rich material is derived directly from the dissolution of marble bedrock and accumulation of silicate residues plus Mn and Fe from within the rock.