Ten years (1994-2004) of 'potential' weathering in Kärkevagge, Swedish Lapland

Colin E. Thorn, John C. Dixon, Robert G. Darmody, Charles E. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports the findings of a ten-year study of 'potential' weathering of machine-polished dolomite, granite and limestone discs buried in shallow pits beneath a variety of vegetation cover types in Kärkevagge and on an adjoining ridge in Swedish Lapland. The paper extends a previously published five-year (1994-1999) record by adding the period 1999-2004, comparing the two periods, and integrating results to provide a decadal record. The field and laboratory procedures of the first period were faithfully replicated during the second period with the notable modification that only a segment of each original disc was replaced in the field for the second portion of the study. A total of 48 dolomite, 36 granite and 19 limestone discs were buried at shallow depths (≤60 cm) beneath alpine tundra, birch forest, Dryas heath, heath, meadow, solifluction meadow and willow cover types. With the exception of the willow, which had only two, each cover type had three replicated pits. Relationships identified during Period 1 were generally repeated during Period 2. Salient results are the expected weathering rate order of limestone > dolomite > granite, and statistically distinguishable differences in weathering rate by vegetation cover type. Differentiation of the two heath categories from the other vegetation cover types is the most important spatial distinction in weathering rate. Statistical distinctions among other measures were variable, with soil horizon and burial depth being non-significant, pH variability being weakly distinguishable, and drainage variability being important. Granite mass losses were generally too low to be useful for statistical separation. Dolomite discs experienced a statically higher loss rate during Period 2 which had both a warmer and wetter air climate than Period 1. Minimum and maximum total decadal percentage losses from the discs were 0-2 and 25.7 for dolomite, 0.07 and 0.57 for granite, and 0.2 and 32.1 for limestone. In general, dolomite was the most useful material for monitoring mass loss, with limestone weathering tending to be too rapid and granite weathering being too slow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1002
Number of pages11
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Decadal mass loss
  • Potential weathering
  • Swedish Lapland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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