Assessment of sesquioxides status of some uplands soils in humid southwest Nigeria

Authors: Julius Olayinka Ojetade1*, Ruth Oluwakemi Adegbenro1, Emmanuel Adeboye Adesemuyi2, Sikiru Adekoya Muda1 and Alani Adeagbo1


Assessment of some sesquioxides in the upland soils in southwestern Nigeria was undertaken to evaluate their degree of weathering under humid tropical conditions. Samples were taken from genetic horizons of eight soil profile pits sited at different physiographic positions along two toposequences in southwestern Nigeria. The samples were analyzed for gravel content, particle size distribution, bulk density, pH, organic carbon, total nitrogen, available P, exchangeable bases, crystalline and amorphous forms of Fe and Al, using standard procedures. Sand fraction ranged from 31–76% (54.49±11.34), silt from 3–19% (10.21±3.61) and clay from 10–55% (35.3±9.7). Bulk density increased with profile depth, ranging between 1.12 and 1.64g cm-3 (1.39±0.13). The pH was low (4.2–6.1; 5.0±0.55), organic carbon content ranged from 0.75–15.99g kg-1 (5.79±3.49) with higher values in the surface horizons. Total nitrogen content ranged from low to medium (0.13–2.75g kg-1; 1.16±0.49) while available phosphorus ranged from 0.49–11.63mg kg-1 (4.30±3.57) across the horizons. Crystalline forms of Fe (Fed) and Al (Ald) ranged from 10.26–39.82g kg-1 and 0.41–1.80g kg-1, respectively while the amorphous forms (Feo and Alo) ranged from 0.41–2.60g kg-1 and 0.83–1.64g kg-1, respectively. The crystalline forms of Fed and Ald were more dominant over the amorphous forms of Feo and Alo. The argillic (Bt) horizons of pedons had significant accumulation of clay particles and free iron. The weathering indices of clay and free iron accumulation in argillic (Bt) horizons of the pedons indicated that the soils of the study area were well-drained, deeply weathered and intensely leached with few weatherable minerals available for plant uptake.

Keywords: Sesquioxides, Upland Soils, Nigeria