Termites are ecosystem engineers who transform soil and sediments and make mounds. They transport and mix large quantities of sediments across the horizons of the mounds, modify their immediate environment at different depths. We have tried to understand the role of termites in weathering and geochemical transformations of homogeneous sediments of termite mounds of Delhi ridge area. The samples and respective parent sediments were collected from the seven locations of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. It has been observed that bioturbation of termites caused fining of the mound samples compared to the parent sediments. The mound samples show higher weathering than the parent sediments. Carbonate precipitation in the alkaline conditions imposed by termites could have enriched Ca and Mg. Whereas, the clay enrichment caused K, Al enrichment. Fe got enriched in the oxic condition of mounds. Ti and Zr got enriched by the enrichment of finer grains of their minerals already present in the parent material. The enrichment of Co, Ni, Cu, Cr, and V show the biogeochemical role of the termites. The organic carbon brought by the termites, and iron oxides, both enriched phosphorus in the mounds. It has found that the termite mounds also have potential in sequestering CO2 by accumulating organic matter, precipitating carbonate minerals, and increasing chemical weathering of silicate minerals.
Termite, Bioturbation, Geochemistry, Weathering, Trace elements
Swati Singh, Anurag Chaudhary, Sumi Handique, Singh S.K., Tripathi J.K. (2017): Biological Weathering and Geochemical Fractionation by Termites: A Case Study of Loessic Sediments. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Earth Science India. Vol. 10 (III): 94 -107