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Rocks for crops: Assessment of the Quality of Adigudom Gypsum for crop production in the northern highlands of Ethiopia

Fassil Kebede
Department of Land Resource Management and Environmental Protection, Mekelle University; P.O.B-231, Mekelle, Ethiopia; E-mail:
Abstract :


Significant proportions of the landmasses of Ethiopia are covered by massive and continuous Rocky 
Mountains of different geological origin and composition, which can be useful even for organic farming. In the  last decade, in fight against the recurrent drought in the north Ethiopian State of Tigray more than 46 dams have  been constructed with a cumulative storage capacity and irrigable area of 49.91 million m3  and 3115 ha,  respectively. However, in the irrigated fields of these dams, salt minerals like  thenardite  (Na2SO4),  halite  (NaCl),  zincobloedite (Na2Zn(SO4)2.4H2O), and anorthoclase (Na,K)(Si3Al)O8 have been observed recently,  which can cause sodicity  thereby crop productivity can be impaired gradually. A list of management options  should be tabled urgently before the problem is aggravated. Large gypsum deposit was found in the localities of  the irrigated fields.  Thus, this study attempted to evaluate the quality of these minerals whether they can be  useful for agricultural purposes. Analysis revealed that up to 150 cm of the profile depth of the rock was mainly  composed of gypsum (95%) with the predominance of oxides of S (43.5-46.6% SO3 -2 ) and Ca (32.1-33.5%  CaO). The oxides in the sampled rock followed the order of: SO3 -2 >  CaO>SiO2>Al2O3>Fe2O3>MgO>Na2O>K2O>TiO2>MnO>P2O5 with the finest particle size (81.7-90%)  dominating over other sizes. This study has come to the conclusion that Adigudom gypsum deposit can be used  as rock for crops through enhancing sodicity management and sulphur nutrition. [Nature and Science 
2010;8(3):9-14]. (ISSN: 1545-0740).
Keywords :
Adigudom gypsum, agromineral, microdams, sodic soils, sulphur nutrition

Date Deposited : 12 Jan 2011 15:05

Last Modified : 12 Jan 2011 15:05

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Volume 8, Number 3, March 2010 , ISSN 1545-0740

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