US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Herwitz, S. R., and Muhs, D. R., 1995, Bermuda solution pipe soils: A geochemical evaluation of eolian parent materials, in Curran, H. A., and White, B., Terrestrial and Shallow Marine Geology of the Bahamas and Bermuda: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Special Paper 300.


U.S. government work


Solution pipes found in the Quaternary eolian and marine carbonates of Bermuda are filled with reddish to reddish-brown soil material. The bulk of the soil is composed of clay and silt-sized quartz and aluminosilicate clay minerals. The carbonates are of high purity and, therefore, are not likely to have been the parent material. Previous workers have hypothesized that Saharan dust may have been the soil parent material. The fine-grained component of loess from the Mississippi River Valley of North America also could have contributed. Paleoclimate models indicate that both North Africa and North America could have been important source areas during both glacial and interglacial periods. Immobile element concentrations in Bermuda soil samples collected from the interiors of solution pipes were determined for the purpose of geochemical fingerprinting and comparisons with the hypothesized parent materials. Immobile element ratios using Al, Ti, Zr,Y, and Th suggest that neither Saharan dust nor lower Mississippi River Valley loess were the sole contributors to Bermuda soils. Eolian dust from at least one other source area such as the Great Plains may have contributed parent material to the soils of Bermuda.