Soil Micromorphology

  • Sayantani NeogiEmail author
  • Sean Taylor
Part of the World Soils Book Series book series (WSBS)


Soil micromorphology is a branch of Soil Science and its application is very relevant in pedology, soil classification and other fields including earth surface processes and archaeology. The thin section technique is commonly used in direct evaluation of soil structure in situ under the microscope. Soils observed under a microscope reveal many pedological features which are not visible with the naked eye. This chapter explores the kinds of information that soil micromorphology can advance for the better understanding of soils. The chapter highlights the micromorphological evidences with relevant examples from different parts of India for important thematic contemporary issues on advancement in Indian agriculture. It describes its applied usage in agriculture including Quaternary research (buried soils, palaeosols, palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironmetal issues, human-environmental relationship) and archaeology. This is because the soils can retain a whole range of information which provides the opportunity to investigate the complex interplay between natural and human agency. It is often very difficult to perceive many aspects of soil development when field studies are conducted. It is only through micromorphology that we can understand whether soil is formed in situ or it represents reworked alluvial or colluvial sedimentation that has been transported and then undergone further pedogenesis. The chapter highlights the micromorphological traits and features in soils of the Indo-Gangetic alluvium, Thar area of Rajasthan, Haryana, Eastern and western Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir valleys, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and other parts with reference to formation of soils in situ, horizontal orientation due to sedimentation, breakdown of organic matter, clay-rich argillic subsoil horizon, pedofeatures like clay and iron coatings, translocation of iron and calcium carbonate nodules, diagenesis of organic matter, passage features as a result of movement of soil fauna, polygenesis, pedogenic and non-pedogenic calcium carbonates including b-fabric in Vertisols.


Soil micromorphology Thin section studies Pedology and soil classification Quaternary research Palaeoclimate Palaeoenvironment Archaeology Indian agriculture 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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