Abstract

Studies on the occurrence and effects of specular reflection in midinfrared spectra of soils have shown that distortions due to specular reflection occur for both organic (humic acid) and non-organic fractions (carbonates, silica, ashed fraction of soil). The results explain why the spectra of CaCO<sub>3</sub> in limed soils do not match published spectra and offer an explanation as to why the presence of inorganic C interferes with the development of calibrations for organic C. These results may also have implications for the use of mid-infrared spectra for quantitative and qualitative analysis of soils. For example, libraries of spectra collected by means other than diffuse reflectance would be largely useless for comparing mineral spectra to soil spectra. To obtain the best results with forages and grains, it is necessary to develop separate calibrations for different products, but this has not seemed to be a problem for diverse sets of soil samples with C contents of 0 to 5%. Mid-infrared calibrations have also appeared to be more robust than the corresponding near-infrared calibrations in that fewer outliers are found. However, the results discussed here indicate that at least for some soil types (e. g., large differences in mineralogy or C contents), separate calibrations may be necessary.

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