The first mention of Antarctic soils dates back to 1916, when Jensen reported on analyses of samples collected in the McMurdo area during the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909. With the advent of the International Geophysical Year in 1958, and the establishment on the continent of permanent bases by many nations, an era dedicated to scientific investigations was inaugurated. New Zealand and American field parties explored the soils of the McMurdo Dry Valleys region and published their findings in the early 1960s. Questions about the legitimacy of calling soils a loose, sandy, grayish material devoid of plants and of an organic layer were often raised but also answered. A number of soil-forming processes were identified and also verified was the role of the soil- forming factors such as time, lithology, and exposure. In continental Antarctica the biota, except for microorganisms, was only present in small areas occupied by Bryophyta. An organic cover, in the form of guano, was also restricted to penguin rookeries. Chemical weathering and the origin and distribution of salts were topics investigated by pedologists, geologists and geochemists.
Keywords: Antarctic soils;Soil formation; Weathering; Permafrost monitoring; Soil history』
2. History of soil investigations in Antarctica
3. Climate change in Antarctica
4. Environmental issues
6. Key results of this issue