Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

Volumen 72, núm. 2, A220819, 2020


Soils in extreme conditions: the case of the catenas karst-marsh-coastline in the Mexican Caribbean


Suelos en condiciones extremas: el caso de las catenas karst-pantano-costa en el Caribe mexicano


Patricia Fragoso-Servón1, Alberto Pereira Corona1,*, Francisco Bautista Zúñiga2, Benito Prezas Hernández1, Nina A. Reyes1


División de Ciencias e Ingeniería. Universidad de Quintana Roo. Boulevard Bahía esq. Ignacio Comonfort s/n. Colonia del Bosque. 77019, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Centro de Investigación en Geografía Ambiental. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Antiguo camino a Pátzcuaro no. 8701. Colonia Ex Hacienda de San José de la Huerta. 58190, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.

* Corresponding author: (A. Pereira) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How to cite this article:

Fragoso-Servón, P., Pereira Corona, A., Bautista Zúñiga, F., Prezas Hernández, B., Reyes, N. A., 2020, Soils in extreme conditions: the case of the catenas karst-marsh-coastline in the Mexican Caribbean: Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana, 72 (2), A040619.



This work is a contribution to the knowledge of marshy and coastal karstic environments, which show great spatial variability of landforms, soil, and plant formations. The aim of this study is to describe the interactions between different combinations of relief, soil, water availability, and vegetation in the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula using four toposequences to generate basic information for rational use and more effective conservation of resources in that area. The relief is plain with a slight slope and undulations that tend to form flooded areas during the rainy season. To characterize transects, stratified sampling was used in 38 points. Landforms that dominate the area are karst depressions, sandy beach, sandy dune ridges, and geological steps. The vegetation types are coastal dune vegetation, coastal scrub, three types of mangrove (red, white, and buttonwood), semiperennial and subdeciduous low forest, disturbed low forest, and natural and induced palm forests. According to the World Reference Base for Soil Resources, soils identified were Leptosol, Phaeozem, Solonchak, Gleysol, Arenosol, and Histosol. Soil groups have a wide variety of primary and secondary qualifiers due to extreme conditions that change often. The sequence of soil along the catenas is related to the distance to the beach and landforms. Thus, their presence and sequencing in each of them is not the same. Near the waterfront are the Arenosols; Leptosols lie in the far west. The distribution of the remaining soil groups between these two points varies with depressions, temporary or seasonal flooding areas, proximity to the sea, and depth of the water table. Diversity of these soil groups show the great heterogeneity of the karstic relief. Results of this study are worth using to prepare the management plan of the natural protected area and to be applied in nearby zones with similar characteristics.

Keywords: Karst, toposequence, soil, Quintana Roo, coastal environment.