Antarctic Soils

  1. J. C. F. Tedrow
  1. J. C. F. Tedrow and
  2. F. C. Ugolini

Published Online: 14 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/AR008p0161

Antarctic Soils and Soil Forming Processes

Antarctic Soils and Soil Forming Processes

How to Cite

Tedrow, J. C. F. and Ugolini, F. C. (1966) Antarctic Soils, in Antarctic Soils and Soil Forming Processes (ed J. C. F. Tedrow), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/AR008p0161

Author Information

  1. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1966

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118655801

Online ISBN: 9781118668719



  • Ahumic and evaporite soils;
  • Antarctic soils;
  • Biotic factors and ice-free areas;
  • Climate and soil formation;
  • Geology;
  • Ornithogenic and protoranker soils;
  • Regosols and lithosols;
  • Weathering processes


Much of the ice-free surficial mantle of Antarctica, particularly the older deposits, has been subjected to intensive weathering, and, with this weathering, the products in the soil become redistributed. When iron-bearing minerals weather, they become brown in color, and lime and gypsum layers may form and genetic horizonation may develop. Antarctic soils are alkaline and are usually well supplied with potentially available nutrients, particularly K, Na, Ca, and Mg. N and P occur in very low amounts. Soil-forming processes take place in a virtual ahumic system. of the conventional soil-forming factors, the biotic element scarcely enters the system.

The following subdivisions of the soils of Antarctica, referred to collectively as soils of the cold desert, are tentatively proposed: (1) ahumic soils; (2) evaporite soils; (3) protoranker soils; (4) ornithogenic soils; (5) regosols; and (6) lithosols (rockland). Although the soils should be referred to as varieties of desert soils, the conditions in the deserts of Antarctica are quite different from those in the deserts of temperate and warm climates. Unless the term ‘polar desert soil of the north' is redefined, its use should not be extended to include Antarctica.