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CitationBecker-Heidmann, P., & Scharpenseel, H.-W. (1989). Carbon isotope dynamics in some tropical soils. Radiocarbon, 31(3), 672-679.
DescriptionFrom the 13th International Radiocarbon Conference held in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, June 20-25, 1988.
AbstractWe determined delta-13C and D14C in some agricultural soil profiles of the tropics: Ustaif from the semi-arid tropics (India), a Udult, an Aquoll and an Aquept from the humid tropics (Philippines). We used a thin-layer sampling, resulting in high-resolution depth-distribution patterns of natural 13C and 14C content of organic carbon. Regular plowing or puddling leads to uniform isotope concentrations in the topsoil. Decomposition of organic matter raises the delta-13C value, and vertical translocation raises the delta-13C value with depth. The change of cultivation from pulses (C3-type metabolism of photosynthesis) to sorghum (C4) results in a decrease of delta-13C with depth in the topsoil. Where the clay content in the subsoil is high, delta-13C remains constant, due to fixation of organic carbon to clay minerals, and D14C decreases with depth. Below the clay-enriched zone, delta-13C declines and D14C rises again, due to a chromatographic-like effect. At some horizon boundaries, inhomogeneities in texture delay percolation locally, thus preventing sorption and causing peak values of D14C.