Amorphous clays

Amorphous clays are young, and commonly found in volcanic ash. They are mixtures of alumina and silica which have not formed the ordered crystal shape of alumino-silica clays which time would provide. The majority of their negative charges originates from hydroxyl ions, which can gain or lose a hydrogen ion (H+) in response to soil pH, and hence buffer the soil pH. They may have either a negative charge provided by the attached hydroxyl ion (OH-), which can attract a cation, or lose the hydrogen of the hydroxyl to solution and display a positive charge which can attract anions. As a result they may display either high CEC, in an acid soil solution, or high anion exchange capacity, in a basic soil solution.

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