• Post category:Geography
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Different Types of Soil In India: Soil is a mix of rock debris and organic matter which forms on the surface of the earth. Soils in India are classified into 8 categories, based on their color, depth, pH, productivity, texture, and process of formation.

Indian geography has different features like landforms, climatic regions, and vegetation types. These features have contributed to the development of different types of soils in India.

1. Alluvial soil

Alluvial Soils are the soil deposit formed by surface water like a river. In India alluvial soils are formed due to soil deposited by the Indo-Gangetic-Brahmaputra rivers found in the northern part of India. Due to its formation process, the soil is rich in potash but lacks phosphorous as it is loamy.

The alluvial soil’s color varies from ash grey to light grey. These types of soil support almost 40% of India’s population and they are highly fertile.

Alluvial Soils are good for crops like rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, jute, maize, oilseeds, vegetables, and various fruits. The soil suits well for the canal and well or tube-well irrigation systems.

Alluvial soils are divided into two types that are khadar and bhangar soils. Khadar soils are the new ones formed because of flood and the bhangar soils are the old ones found in non flooded areas.

2. Black soil

Black soils are formed from the parent material of volcanic rocks and found in the Decan plateaued, in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and some portions of Tamil Nadu. Generally, this type of soil is found in low rainfall and high-temperature region.

The black soils are rich in chemicals like alumina, iron oxide, lime, and magnesium carbonates while it is low on phosphates, nitrogen, and humus and so its color is also black. Often black soils of ridges are less fertile while those in the planes are very fertile as it is highly retentive of moisture.

Due to its chemical composition and structure cotton is the most suitable crop in this type of soil. Other crops include wheat, jowar, linseed, castor, sunflower, and millets grown in this type of soil.

3. Red soil

Red soils are formed on low rainfall areas, in the eastern and southern parts of the Decan Plateau. The soil is red because of the presence of iron oxide in metamorphic rocks that are acid granites, gneisses, and quartzites.

The texture of the soil varies from clay to sand but mostly they are found loamy. In the highland areas, red soils are poor and porous but in lower land areas, they are quite fertile.

Chemically Red soils are acidic with a fair amount of alkaline due to their formation and parent rocks. Other chemicals like potash and potassium are rich but lack lime magnesia, phosphates, nitrogen, and humus.

4. Laterite soil

Laterite soils are found in high rainfall and high-temperature area and the end products of weathering. Laterite comes from the Latin word ‘Later’ means brick. The soil is the direct result of intense leaching due to high tropical rains.

Chemically Laterite soils are rich in bauxite and ferric oxides and low in lime, magnesia, potash, and nitrogen. In some places, phosphate content may be high and humus contains depends on the surface.

The soil can be found in states like the Southern part of Maharashtra Karnataka, Kerala, TamilNadu, Madhya Pradesh, and some highland areas of Odisha and Assam. It is suitable for plantation crops like tea, coffee, rubber, cinchona, coconut, and areca nut.

5. Arid soil

Arid soil is also known as Desert soil and it is a mix of sand (around 95%) and clay (around 5%) depending upon the area. The soil can be found in high-temperature areas and states like Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana in India.

These soils are poor with substances like humus and organic chemicals. In some parts, these soils are alkaline, and phosphate and nitrate content are quite good. Arid soils cover around 4% of the total surface area of India.

Due to the presence of phosphate and nitrate, it is quite fertile for salt-tolerant crops like barley, cotton, millets, maize, and pulses if irrigation water is available.

6. Forest soil

As the name suggests, forest soils are the soil deposits found in forest areas where there is a good amount of rainfall. The soils are derived from organic matter from forests and their character changes with its parent rocks and climate conditions.

This kind of soil covers around 2.85 lakh km² or 8.67% total surface area of India. The soils deposit can be found in the Himalayas mountain range, the western ghats, and the eastern ghats.

Chemically these soils are rich in humus but low in potash, phosphorus, and lime. It requires a good amount of fertilizer to get a good yield. Forest soils are good for plantations of tea, coffee, spices, and other tropical fruits.

7. Saline and Alkaline soils

Saline and alkaline soils are rich in chemical substances like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium salts, and sulphurous acid, thus these kinds of soils are infertile.

Saline and Alkaline Soils cover around 68,000 km² of land in India in some parts of states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab

8. Peaty and Marshy soils

Found mostly in coastal areas of Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Sunderbans of West Bengal, the Peaty and Marshy soils are high with organic matters and soluble salts. These soils are heavy in nature and black in color. Organic matter in this soil deposit may reach up to 45% to 50%.

Due to organic matters and soluble salts, Peaty and Marshy soils are acidic. Most of the time these kinds of soils are underwater mostly during the monsoon season so growing paddy is the only option.

Reference: NCERT

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