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Properties and mineralogy of topsoil in the town of Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen, Norway)

  • Wojciech Szymański (a1), Janusz Siwek (a2), Michał Skiba (a3), Bronisław Wojtuń (a4), Aleksandra Samecka-Cymerman (a4), Paweł Pech (a4), Ludmiła Polechońska (a4) and Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora (a5)...


Soil is one of the most important constituents of an ecosystem, playing a crucial role in many environmental reactions and processes. Despite the fact that many environmental studies were conducted in the vicinity of Longyearbyen, very little is known about the physical and chemical properties as well as mineralogy of soils occurring in this town. Thus, the main aims of this study were: (1) to determine the texture, chemical properties and mineralogy of the topsoil horizons of urban soils occurring in the Longyearbyen area (Spitsbergen, Norway); and (2) to determine and explain their spatial distribution within the area of Longyearbyen. In general, the topsoils are characterised by loamy texture; acidic reaction; quite high content of total organic carbon (TOC); high content of Si, Al and Fe; and low content of K, Na, Ca, Mg and P. Quartz, K-feldspar, plagioclase, mica and chlorite are the prevailing minerals. Differences in the concentration of TOC, total nitrogen and elements in the topsoils are mainly related to the diversity of texture and mineralogy of the local parent material and the development of vegetation cover. The results indicate that topsoils in Longyearbyen are characterised by the natural properties and are not strongly transformed by human activity. However, pollution of soil with trace elements related to coal mining should be checked.


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Author for correspondence: Wojciech Szymański, Email:


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Properties and mineralogy of topsoil in the town of Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen, Norway)

  • Wojciech Szymański (a1), Janusz Siwek (a2), Michał Skiba (a3), Bronisław Wojtuń (a4), Aleksandra Samecka-Cymerman (a4), Paweł Pech (a4), Ludmiła Polechońska (a4) and Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora (a5)...


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