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Characteristics and genesis of two strongly weathered soils in Samar, Philippines

Ian A. Navarrete A C , Victor B. Asio A D , Reinhold Jahn B and Kiyoshi Tsutsuki C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Agronomy and Soil Science, Leyte State University, Baybay, Leyte 6521-A, Philippines.

B Institute of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Weidenplan 14, D-06108 Halle (Saale), Germany.

C Laboratory of Environmental Soil Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Inada-cho 080-8555, Japan.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Soil Research 45(3) 153-163
Submitted: 3 August 2006  Accepted: 14 March 2007   Published: 18 May 2007


Very limited data have been published on the nature of strongly weathered soils in geologically young humid tropical islands. The study evaluated the characteristics and formation of 2 strongly weathered soils in the island of Samar, Philippines, one developed from slate (Bagacay soil) and the other from ultrabasic rock (Salcedo soil). Results revealed that the soils have generally similar morphological characteristics, particularly in terms of colour (2.5 YR-10 R), solum thickness (>5.0 m), and structure (granular to subangular blocky), although the Salcedo soil has much higher clay content than the Bagacay soil. Both soils have similar chemical properties (e.g. acidic, low exchangeable bases) except that the Salcedo soil has lower CEC values but higher exchangeable Na content, resulting in a higher base saturation. They also have high dithionite-extractable Fe contents and very low oxalate/dithionite ratios and are dominated by halloysite, kaolinite, gibbsite, goethite, hematite, and quartz in the clay fraction. Apparently as a result of its more weatherable ultrabasic parent rock and more stable geomorphic surface, the Salcedo soil shows more advanced weathering and soil development than the Bagacay soil. Salcedo soil is classified as Haplic Ferralsol (Dystric, Clayic, Rhodic) in the World Reference Base or very fine, sesquic, isohyperthermic, Rhodic Hapludox in the Soil Taxonomy. Bagacay soil is a Haplic Acrisol (Alumic, Hyperdystric, Clayic, Rhodic) or fine, kaolinitic, isohyperthermic, Typic Paleudult. The Salcedo soil has very high Ni and Cr contents inherited from its ultrabasic parent material. The study reveals that on the geologically young humid tropical island of Samar, the characteristics and genesis of strongly weathered soils are greatly affected by the geochemical characteristic of the parent rock material.

Additional keywords: Oxisols, Ultisols, tropical island soils, ultrabasic rocks, slate.


The senior author is grateful to the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), Bonn, Germany, for the research scholarship. Dr H. Tanneberg, G. Polcher, C. Krenkewitz, and G. von Koch at the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany, are thanked for their valuable help in the laboratory.


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