Changes in Soil Composition and Floral Coverage on a Glacial Foreland Chronosequence in Southern Iceland


The land surface in front of the Skaftafellsj?kull in southern Iceland, exposed by ice recession commencing about the start of the twentieth century, constitutes a foreland with a maximum age of about 100 years and a more distal outwash plain. The ages of different surfaces within this sequence are constrained by moraines of known or estimated ages. Across this chronosequence, we measured at various sites the extent of floral coverage of the surface, the soil carbon and nitrogen contents of the substrate and the soil CO2 flux rate. All measured parameters exhibit values increasing with distance from the ice front, which correlates approximately with age. The strongest correlations are seen between distance and the carbon and nitrogen concentrations of the soil. Marked horizonation of the soil is observed only on the oldest surfaces (100+ years).

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L. Tanner, A. Walker, M. Nivison and D. Smith, "Changes in Soil Composition and Floral Coverage on a Glacial Foreland Chronosequence in Southern Iceland," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 191-198. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2013.34022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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