Specificity of genetic nature and classification characteristics of Zmiiny Island chernozem soils

Keywords: Zmiiny Island, chernozem soils and their geographic and genetic features, classification characteristics


Even the first researchers of the nature of the small (20.5 hectares) rocky Zmiiny Island in the northwestern Black Sea region visually diagnosed the soil there with black earth. Since 2003, the staff of the Department of Soil Science and Soil Geography of the Odessa National University named by I.U.Mechnikov ONU began the study of factors and processes of soil formation, soils and soil cover of Zmiiny Island territory. It was found out that on the inter-rocky areas of the island un- der the steppe grassy vegetation on the gravelly-stony eluvium or eluvium-deluvium of dense rocks formed unusually high humus (up to 14-18%) undeveloped and short-profile chernozem soils. However, the diagnostic and classification of these soils remains unclear. The purpose is to characterize the specificity of the genetic nature of the island soils and to determine their diagnostic and classification affiliation, including the World Reference Base for Soil Resources WRB.The materials presented in this article are obtained as a result of our extensive fieldwork and laboratory analysis, research and mapping of soils and soil cover of Zmiiny Island with the application of methodological principles of the process-genetic paradigm.Chernozem soils on the island are formed on a low-strength (25-40, up to 50 cm) rocky-gravelly crust of weathering of dense acidic rocks under the cover of almost virgin steppe herbaceous vegetation and year-round salting from the sea, mainly chlorides and Na sulfates. The soils are short-profile, typical chernozem humus-accumulative type with typical for the chernozem profile genetic horizons, gravel-stony, non-carbonate, almost non-structural, acidic, varyingly saline and solonetinous, but without solonets-ileuvial profile differentiation. The humus content in the upper horizons is very high (10-12, up to 15-18%), it is typical of the chernozem composition of the Chumic acid : Сfulvic acid (2,5-3,3), but with a sharp dominance of the HA-1 fraction (70% and more) and very low content (1-2, up to 3-4%) or lack of typical chernozem HA-2fraction. It is established that there is a tendency to an irreversible constant increase of the chernozem properties and characteristics in soils as the bioproductivity of herbal vegetation increases.For the first time their diagnostic and classification dependence on the system of both domestic and World WRB soil classifications has been determined. The WRB system proposes to refer these soils to the Phaeozem abstract group, with clarification of the classifiers Leptic and Skeletic. The work is practically significant in terms of the integration the Ukrainian soil science in the system of the current international standard of soil classification WRB.

Author Biographies

Yaroslav M. Bilanchyn
Odessa Mechnikov National University
Irуna V. Leonidova
Odessa State Agrarian University
Darya V. Bulysheva
Odessa State Agrarian University


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How to Cite
Bilanchyn, Y., Leonidova, I., & Bulysheva, D. (2020). Specificity of genetic nature and classification characteristics of Zmiiny Island chernozem soils. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 29(1), 30-39. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/112003