The analysis of soil solutions generated by a large, isolated, summer rainstorm in the boreal forest of arctic Alaska has provided direct evidence for threshold-controlled subsurface translocation in soils. Intense leaching apparently initiates progressive weakening and eventual break-down of amorphous particle coatings in the Bs horizon. The result is a highly punctuated pulse of organometallic soil plasma that originates in the Bs and temporarily transports material at over 100 times normal rates. Episodic pulse mechanisms of this type have not been reported before; they may play a critical role in the formation of other young or unstable soil environments. In this case they help explain the unusual morphology of Spodosols in arctic Alaska.
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