| Revised classification of the soils of Belize |
|Part 4: Soil subsuites|
The subdivision of the suites of the soils on limestones and siliceous limestones follows a common pattern, with variations, as shown in Table 7. The subsuites are differentiated on colour (in the non-siliceous limestone soils) or texture and stones (for the siliceous limestones). Most of the subsuites stretch from interfluve crests to the margins of swamps and have a range of depth, structure and drainage characteristics. The only distinction made on depth and/or topography is the separation of the very shallow Cabro soils on rugged karst terrain within Chacalte Suite.
For the dark coloured soils, this sub-quite structure is similar to the LRA reports (King et al., 1986, 1989, 1992). Previously however, deep, mottled and imperfectly drained soils on the lower slopes below the red and brown clays were separated at sub-quite level. Inclusion of these soils in the subsuites with the reddish clays upslope has led to the removal of the former Puluacax (now in Xaibe), Irish Creek (now in Chacluum) and San Lucas (now in Xpicilha) Subsuites. Another former sub-quite to be relegated is Concepcion, the brown clays of Corozal District. These have now been incorporated with the red soils of Xaibe Subsuite. Similarly the former Ramgoat Subsuite, the reddish soils with yellowish red fragic clay subsoils in the Hill Bank area have been incorporated into the reddish clays of Chacluum Subsuite.
All of these former subsuites are soils worth distinguishing, both pedologically and edaphically, in detailed studies and surveys. It is hoped that they will be used as series in future work.
Although these are designated as limestone soils and, although most of the parent materials are undoubtedly of calcareous origin, there is some question as to how many of the soils are actually sedentary. Many of the soils, especially the deeper profiles on lower slopes, appear to have developed in calcareous, smectitic transported materials. The extent to which these are of marine origin, deposited in shallow bays and lagoons when the relative sea levels were some metres higher than at present, or are just local hillwash accumulation, is still uncertain. This is an area where archaeological evidence may help.
The details of previous descriptions, location of profile data, and previous subsuites incorporated are summarized in Tables 8 to 12.