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Once despised now desired: innovative land use and management of multilayered Pumice Soils in the Taupo and Galatea areas, central North Island, New Zealand

The tour brings together innovative land use change and management associated with dairy farming, and land-based effluent disposal, on weakly weathered and multi-layered, glass-rich, Pumice Soils (Vitrands) in the Taupo and Galatea areas. These changes and their effects, together with environmental and sustainability issues, form a central theme of the trip. Four main stops are planned, two before lunch and two after: (1) plantation pine-to-dairy farm conversion and impacts, the Taupo eruption deposits (AD 232 ± 10) and the Taupo soil, at Tahorakuri; (2) overview of the application of secondary-treated wastewater and nitrogen leaching and uptake, Rotokawa; (3) a sequence of five Holocene tephras and buried soils, including Kaharoa eruption deposits (AD 1314 ± 12) and the Galatea soil, Smeith Farm, Murupara; and (4) enhancing pasture production on ‘new’ soils formed by excavating and mixing (‘flipping’) buried soil horizons (paleosols) on Smeith’s farm. During the trip − which helps mark Waikato University’s 50th anniversary − we will see a spectacular range of volcanic and fluvial landscapes and deposits, together with impacts of tectonism, as we traverse the famous Taupo Volcanic Zone ((TVZ) in the central volcanic region. Landforms and soils dominated by tephras (volcanic ash) become generally younger towards the loci of volcanic activity. Extensive areas of soils have been formed repeatedly from the fragmental eruptive products of the two most frequently active and productive rhyolite (silica-rich) volcanic centres known, namely Taupo and Okataina. Thus soil stratigraphy and upbuilding pedogenesis form a second theme on the trip. The first part of the guidebook thus contains sections including (i) volcanism and its products, (ii) Quaternary volcanism in TVZ including deposits erupted recently from Taupo and Tarawera volcanoes from which Pumice Soils have been formed, (iii) tephra-derived soils including Pumice Soils, their classification, special problems, and (low) fertility, (iv) allophane and its formation, and (v) the interplay between geological and pedological processes relating to tephras (upbuilding pedogenesis). The second part then comprises notes and illustrations pertaining to each stop (note that figure and table numbers are self-contained at each stop, or not used). Broad overviews of the region’s geology are covered by Leonard et al. (2010), and the soils are outlined by Rijkse and Guinto (2010) and S-map. Further compilations of data are available in tour guides by Lowe (2008) and Lowe et al. (2010).
Type of thesis
Lowe, D.J., Balks, M.R., Laubscher, N. (2014). Once despised now desired: innovative land use and management of multilayered Pumice Soils in the Taupo and Galatea areas, central North Island, New Zealand. Guidebook for field trip “Hot volcanic soils”, New Zealand Society of Soil Science conference “Soil Science for Future Generations”, Hamilton (1-4 December), 85 pp.
New Zealand Society of Soil Science