The influence of clay mineralogy on disaggregation in some palygorskite-containing soils of the Jordan and Bet-She'an Valleys was examined. The disaggregation potential of different minerals in the soil clay fraction was investigated by establishing differences in the mineral suite between the original and disaggregated clay fractions. By shaking the soil with distilled water, calcite, dolomite, feldspar, and palygorskite were disaggregated preferentially. The pattern for quartz was inconsistent. Among phyllosilicates, palygorskite was the most strongly, disaggregated, while smectite was the least disaggregated mineral. The disaggregation potential of kaolinite was of intermediate value. By shaking the soil with 0.01 N NaCl, calcite and dolomite were released preferentially, and were the dominant minerals in the disaggregated clay fraction. Scanning electron microscopy observations indicate that palygorskite fibres do not associate into aggregates in soils and suspensions, even when saturated with calcium ions. The present findings are relevant for soils with low exchangeable sodium percentage. These soils can be expected under rain-fed agriculture or irrigation with high quality water which has a low sodium adsorption ratio.
- Disaggregation potential