Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8







Soil can be simply defined as a mixture of small rock particles/debris and organic materials/ humus which
develop on the earth surface and support growth of plants.


1. Alluvial soil [43%]

2. Red soil [18.5%]
3. Black / regur soil [15%]
4. Arid / desert soil
5. Laterite soil
6. Saline soil & Alkaline soil
7. Peaty / marshy soil
8. Forest soil
9. Sub-mountain soil
10. Snowfields
1. Alluvial Soils:
These are formed by the deposition of sediments by rivers.
They are rich in humus and very fertile. They are found in Great
Northern plain, lower valleys of Narmada and Tapti and
Northern Gujarat. These soils are renewed every year.

 Mostly available soil in India (about 43%) which covers an

area of 143 sq.km.
 Widespread in northern plains and river valleys.
 In peninsular-India, they are mostly found in deltas and estuaries.
 Humus, lime and organic matters are present.
 Highly fertile.
 Indus-Ganga-Brahmaputhra plain, Narmada-Tapi plain etc are examples.
 They are depositional soil – transported and deposited by rivers, streams etc.
 Sand content decreases from west to east of the country.
 New alluvium is termed as Khadar and old alluvium is termed as Bhangar.
 Colour: Light Grey to Ash Grey.
 Texture: Sandy to silty loam or clay.
 Rich in: potash
 Poor in: phosphorous.
 Wheat, rice, maize, sugarcane, pulses, oilseed etc are cultivated mainly

2.Red Soils:

.These are derived from weathering of ancient metamorphic

rocks of Deccan Plateau. Its redness is due to iron composition.
When iron content is lower it is yellow or brown. They cover
almost the whole of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,
Karnataka, Maharashtra and parts of Orissa.

 Seen mainly in low rainfall area.

 Also known as Omnibus group.

 Porous, friable structure.

 Absence of lime, kankar (impure calcium carbonate).
 Deficient in: lime, phosphate, manganese, nitrogen, humus and potash.
 Colour: Red because of Ferric oxide. The lower layer is reddish yellow or yellow.
 Texture: Sandy to clay and loamy.

 Wheat, cotton, pulses, tobacco, oilseeds, potato etc are cultivated.

3. Black Soils:

These soils are made up of volcanic rocks and lava-

flow. It is concentrated over Deccan Lava Tract which
includes parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya
Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It
consists of Lime, Iron, Magnesium and also Potash but
lacks in Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Organic matter.

 cultivation.
 Most of the Deccan is occupied by Black soil.
 Mature soil.
 High water retaining capacity.
 Swells and will become sticky when wet and shrink when dried.
 Self-ploughing is a characteristic of the black soil as it develops wide cracks when dried.
 Rich in: Iron, lime, calcium, potassium, aluminum and magnesium.
 Deficient in: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and organic matter.
 Colour: Deep black to light black.
 Texture: Clayey.

4. Desert Soils:

In the desert regions of Rajasthan, soils are not well

developed. As evaporation is in excess of rainfall, the soil has
a high salt content and saline layer forms a hard crust. These
soils are generally sandy and deficient in organic matter.

 Seen under Arid and Semi-Arid conditions.

 Deposited mainly by wind activities.
 High salt content.
 Lack of moisture and Humus.
 Kankar or Impure Calcium carbonate content is high which restricts the infiltration of water.
 Nitrogen is insufficient and Phosphate is normal.
 Texture: Sandy
 Colour: Red to Brown.
5. Laterite Soils:
These soils are formed due to intense leaching and are well
developed on the summits of hills and uplands. They are
commonly found in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra,
Chhattisgarh and hilly areas of Orissa and Assam.

 Name from Latin word ‘Later’ which means Brick.

 Become so soft when wet and so hard when dried.
 In the areas of high temperature and high rainfall.
 Formed as a result of high leaching.
 Lime and silica will be leached away from the soil.
 Organic matters of the soil will be removed fast by the bacteria as it is high temperature and
humus will be taken quickly by the trees and other plants. Thus, humus content is low.
 Rich in: Iron and Aluminum
 Deficient in: Nitrogen, Potash, Potassium, Lime, Humus
 Colour: Red colour due to iron oxide.
 Rice, Ragi, Sugarcane and Cashew nuts are cultivated mainly.

6. Saline and Alkaline Soils

They are also known as Usara soils. Various local names for saline soils are Reh, Kallar, and Chopan,
Rakar, Thur, Karl etc.These soils have developed in areas with dry climatic conditions (in areas having a
little more rainfall than the areas of desert soils) accompanied by lack of proper drainage. In this situation,
salts of sodium, calcium and magnesium are deposited on the upper layer of the soil by capillary action.

 In the Rann of Kuchchh, the Southwest Monsoon brings salt particles and deposits there as a crust.
 These soils are also formed when saline water spreads on the land at the time of high tide in coastal
areas. Also, seawater intrusions in the deltas promote the occurrence of saline soils.
 Salinization also occurs because of over-irrigation (canal irrigation/groundwater use) and in areas of
high water table (as in the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu).Salinity from irrigation can
occur over time wherever irrigation occurs. This is because almost all water (even natural rainfall)
contains some dissolved salts. When the plants use the water, the salts are left behind in the soil
and eventually begin to accumulate. Also, excessive irrigation with dry climatic conditions promotes
capillary action, which results in the deposition of salt on the top layer of the soil (See the following

 Areas: They occur in arid and semi-arid regions, and in waterlogged and swampy areas. These are
more widespread in western Gujarat, deltas of the eastern coast and in Sunderban areas of West
 Soil Texture: Their texture ranges from sandy to loamy.
 Other characteristic features:
 Because of capillary action, the salts are sucked up in solution to the surface and form white
encrustations on the surface (See the picture below).
 The salt efflorescence of calcium, magnesium and sodium makes these soils infertile.
 Saline soils contain an excess of neutral soluble salts of chlorides and sulphates whereas sodic or
alkali soils contain sodium carbonates/ sodium bicarbonates.
 They lack in nitrogen and calcium and have low water bearing capacity.
 These soils can be reclaimed by improving drainage, by applying gypsum and/or lime, and by
cultivating salt resistant crops like barseem, dhaincha and other leguminous crops.
 The saline and alkaline soils may occur in any group of soils.
 Crops grown: In coastal areas, coconut trees are found in plenty in these soils. As discussed
above, cultivating salt resistant crops like barseem, dhaincha and other leguminous crops can help
in reclaiming these soils.
 Note: In the areas of intensive cultivation with excessive use of irrigation, especially in areas of
green revolution, the fertile alluvial soils are becoming saline. In such areas, especially in Punjab
and Haryana, farmers are advised to add gypsum to solve the problem of salinity in the soil.


 These soils are locally called Kari in Kottayam and Alleppey districts of Kerala.
 Formation: These are marshy soils and are a result of water logging and anaerobic conditions (which
leads to partial decomposition of organic matter).
 Areas: They are found in the areas of heavy rainfall and high humidity, where there is a good growth of
vegetation. It occurs widely in the northern part of Bihar, the southern part of Uttaranchal and the coastal
areas of West Bengal, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
 Soil Colour and Texture: These soils are normally heavy and black in colour
 Other characteristic features:
 These soils are characterised by a rich humus and organic content.
 There is a presence of iron and varying amounts of organic matter (10-40%). The organic matter in
these soils may go even up to 40-50 per cent.
 These soils are generally acidic in nature. But at many places, they are alkaline also.
 Suitable crops: These are generally submerged during the rainy season and utilised for the cultivation of
8. Forest Soils

 Formation: As the name suggests, forest soils are formed in the forest areas where sufficient rainfall is
 Areas: These are found in the forest areas of Himalayas, Sahyadris, Eastern Ghats and terai region.
 Soil colour and texture: The soils vary in structure and texture depending on the mountain environment
where they are formed. They are loamy and silty on valley sides and coarse-grained in the upper slopes.
Their colour is dark brown.
 Other Characteristics:
 In the snow-bound areas of the Himalayas, they are acidic with low humus content. This is because
humus is rawer at higher levels. Also, these soils are subjected to denudation due to landslides and
 The soils found in the lower valleys are fertile and rich in organic content.
 Owing to sharp differences of hill slopes and climates, these soils may differ greatly even when in
proximity. [Recall here the discussion on the impact of topography on soils!]
 Also, these soils exist in thin layers because of their development on the mountain slopes.
 These soils are poor in potash, phosphorus and lime.
 Soil erosion is a major problem in these areas.

 Crops grown: The slopes are used for horticulture and plantations crops like tea, coffee, spices, apple,
peach etc. Rice and wheat are grown in valleys. Potatoes are grown in mostly all areas.

9. Mountain Soils:
These soils are formed as a result of the accumulation of
organic matter derived from forest growth. They are found in
Himalayan region and vary in different regions according to
altitude. Tea is grown in those areas which receive sufficient

 In the mountain regions of the country.

 Immature soil with low humus and acidic.

10. Snowfield
 The area under snow and glaciers is about 4 million hectares. The high peaks of the Greater Himalayas,
Karakoram, Ladakh, and Zaskar {Zanskar} are covered by ice and glaciers.
 The soils in these areas is immature, generally without soil erosion, It remains frozen and is unsuitable
for the cultivation of crops.