The aim of the present study is a better understanding of the distribution and formation of salt efflorescences by mineralogical examination. Dominant sodium sulphate and sodium chloride surface efflorescences were selected for investigation. 24 samples were collected between 1999 and 2005 from 16 sites. The soil types were solonchak and meadow solonetz.Basic soil and groundwater analyses were performed according to the standard methods. Minerals were determined by X-ray diffractometry and SEM combined with microanalysis. The evaporation experiments were carried out in a Sanyo Versatile 350 HT environmental test chamber.It was concluded that common sulphate salts form rare and unique mineral associations on salt affected soils in Hungary.Comparing the groundwater compositions and the mineral associations of surface efflorescences or that of precipitated evaporites of groundwaters, the conclusion can be drawn that groundwater composition is reflected much better by the mineral association of experimentally precipitated evaporates of the groundwater than by the mineral associations of surface efflorescences. These differences suggest that the soil matrix may have an effect on the crystallization of minerals (e.g. gypsum, thenardite) in the efflorescences. The differences also suggest that in the surface efflorescences the precipitation process does not come to the end in all cases (minerals with high solubility are missing).Concerning the data on groundwater level depths in case of different (sodium carbonate versus sodium sulphate and sodium chloride) efflorescences, there is a tendency of declining groundwater table in the sequence of these soils. This difference can be explained by the difference (increase) in the solubility of various salt minerals.It was recognized that the change in the major component of surface efflorescenes in time (i.e. the sodium carbonate and sodium carbonate chloride versus sodium sulphate efflorescences before and after 1998) can be explained by the decline of the groundwater level and by the decreasing hydromorphic influence in the lowland area during the 19th and 20th century.Finally it can be stated that the presented research — which mainly focused on mineralogical aspects — has contributed to the earlier knowledge on surface salt efflorescences, which was based only on their chemical composition.
There is little data on the mineralogy of carbonate pedofeatures in the calcareous soils in Hungary which belong to the European prairie ecodivision. The aim of the present study is to enrich these data.
The mineralogical composition of the carbonate pedofeatures from characteristic profiles of the calcareous soils in Hungary was studied by X-ray diffractometry, thermal analysis, SEM combined with microanalysis, and stable isotope determination.
Regarding carbonate minerals only aragonite, calcite (+ magnesian calcite) and dolomite (+proto-dolomite) were identified in carbonate grains, skeletons and pedofeatures.
The values relating, respectively, to stable isotope compositions (C13, O18) of carbonates in chernozems and in salt-affected soils were in the same range as those for recent soils (latter data reported earlier). There were no considerable differences between the values for the carbonate nodules and tubules from the same horizons, nor were there significant variations between the values of the same pedofeatures from different horizons (BC-C) of the same profile. Thus it can be assumed that there were no considerable changes in conditions of formation.
Tendencies were recognized in the changes of (i) carbonate mineral associations, (ii) the MgCO3 content of calcites, (iii) the corrected decomposition temperatures, and (iv) the activation energies of carbonate thermal decompositions among the various substance-regimes of soils.
Differences were found in substance-regimes types of soils rather than in soil types.