EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Soil thinning and thickening: the fate of soil organic carbon

Andrew Tye1 and Daniel Evans1,2
Andrew Tye and Daniel Evans
  • 1British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
  • 2Lancaster University, Lancashire, United Kingdom

The redistribution of soil by humans has been demonstrated to rival that of geologic events. Moreover, the impact of some conventional, agricultural techniques has been shown to redistribute a significant proportion of soil organic carbon. On the more erosive areas of hillslopes, the resulting thinning of soil could make deep soil carbon more accessible and, ultimately, more susceptible to destabilisation. However, downslope colluviation can thicken soil profiles such that subsoil carbon pools become inaccessible to microbial decomposition. The fate of soil thinning and thickening on soil organic carbon has not been studied in the UK until now. In this work, we studied the distribution of organic and inorganic carbon down profiles surveyed at three landscape positions (midslope, backslope, and toeslope) on Mountfield Farm, in Somerset, UK. In this poster, we present the results of thermogravimetric analysis and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy, both of which we used to investigate the stability of soil organic carbon down each profile. We explore the relationships between soil depth and the stocks and stability of soil organic carbon fractions at each position, and suggest the implications of continued upslope soil thinning and downslope soil thickening.

How to cite: Tye, A. and Evans, D.: Soil thinning and thickening: the fate of soil organic carbon, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-22639,, 2020