EGU General Assembly 2007
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  Information - SSS2 Soil as a record of the past

Event Information
During the EGU 2006 General Assembly, a twist of fate brought together, within session SSS20, people and contributions originally intended for rather different purposes.
The session was a success, becoming a forum for exchange of information between specialist groups that usually do not communicate, or do so sporadically. Of course, this means these fellows had something to share, something not entirely appraised beforehand.
What is to share between specialists studying Devonian shales, 17th century settlements, early 20th century wildfires and Late Quaternary Palaeosols?
Well, all of them are actually digging a kind of record of the past, in search for an information seen with ever increasing interest by the society at large. We should add the fact that such record relates to, formed in, partly evolved within, and sometimes was actually made of, much the same system and environment.
Such environment is Earth’s very surface, where Biota, atmosphere, Earth’s crust and man interact in enormously intricate ways, making actual study complex, and at times even daunting. But it is just this complexity that makes the uppermost layer of Earth a most precious source of information about the past of our own living environment. So, efforts to break experimental barriers are ever growing and more successful, a success most often coming from integration of widely different disciplines.
The success of EGU 2006 SSS20 session demonstrates that there is a present need for increased communication between such diverse disciplines ad Archaeology, Palaeobotany, Pedology, Stratigraphy and Sedimentology, Geomorphology, and likely others.
This 2007 session proposal is intended, then, to pursue the path open in 2006, possibly further widening the floor, especially to the more strictly geological disciplines.
The nature of the session is thought to be basically methodological, so there is no real priority, and any contribution is welcome.
We would just throw a couple of stones in the pond, only to stir the waters.
A most important “looking direction” includes human impact on soils. Past land management systems, effects of manuring practices, tillage systems, drainage, irrigation, waste disposal and human settlement, are all part of the past record, formed and found in the uppermost upper crust.
Other open problems are “soil taphonomy” (OK, this is carried on from 2006), the contribution of field pedology skills to record retrieval, the widening of the Palaeobotany record base, new and old issues in dating.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers


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