Coffee plantation soil characterization using a multi-method approach near the Volcano Nevado del Ruiz, Colombian Central Cordillera
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The presence of iron oxides may provide a sensitive indicator of the effects of cropping practices on coffee plantations. Authors characterized the mineral phases present in soil A horizons at three different farms located in the Department of Tolima within the regions of Líbano and Villahermosa. Our analysis includes X-ray diffraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy, and remote sensing to discriminate the distribution of the different magnetic mineral phases. X-ray diffraction was used to identify the mineralogical properties of iron oxide such as hematite, goethite, and ferrihydrite (Fh), as well as tectosilicate minerals such as albite and sanidine. Mössbauer spectroscopy results for samples taken at room temperature indicate the presence of Fe2+ and Fe3+ mineral phases, which possibly correspond to ilmenite or magnetite. Finally, Sentinel-2A multi-spectral imager (MSI) data was used to map the distribution of iron oxides and study the influence of their distribution throughout the study area. A high correlation between Mössbauer spectroscopy and Sentinel-2A MSI data exists throughout the study area. The results suggest that farms close to the main Nevado del Ruíz Volcano have a more significant mineralogical variability. In contrast, more distant farms are characterized by soils with more iron oxides, the product of weathering, erosion, and human activities.