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Soil formation on coastal beach and dune sands at Magilligan Point Nature Reserve, Co. Londonderry

Peter Wilson


The degree and areal extent of soil formation has been assessed on a sequence of marine beach ridges and aeolian dunes at Magilligan Point Nature Reserve, Co. Londonderry. These landforms span a period of c. 35 years and show significant pedological changes and trends. Profile morphology and chemistry classify the initial dune soils as raw sands and the beach soils as raw alluvial soils. After c. 16 years these have developed into sand-pararendzinas and rendzina-like alluvial soils respectively. Surface soil samples from successive dune ridges show a rapid build-up of organic matter to >7% after 31 years and a decline in CaC03 content from >11% to 5.5% over the same period. These data are compared with the results of previous dune soil studies and the differences considered to be due in part to differences between other soil forming factors as well as variations in sampling depths and/or the possible overestimation of dune age by earlier workers.

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