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Wetland Symposium

Soils of Prairie Wetland Edges


North Dakota State University, Department of Soil Science, Walster Hall, P.O. Box 56388, Fargo, ND 58105

Our thesis is that soils are long-term indicators of the environmental conditions of their formation and that the interaction of three phenomena create edge soils and landscapes that reflect the edge of wetland hydrology overtime. These are (1) water on the soil surface, notably overland flow and wave activity during pluvial cycles; (2) flow of soil water and ground-water; and (3) the materials that are removed, translocated, or added to these soils. The most common outcome is addition of evaporation minerals such as calcite, gypsum, mirabilite, and epsomite. In terms of long-term monitoring, the soils have done the work for us over considerable lengths of time. We only have to determine if the processes are extent or relict to interpret the meaning.

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