In this article, I will discuss the soil types of India. We all know that soil is the most important layer of the earth. Soil is the uppermost weathered layer of the earth’s crust. The study of soil is known as Pedology. On the other hand, Pedogenesis refers to the formation of soils due to various factors. These factors are relief, parent material, climate, vegetation and other factors. Moreover, the anthropogenic factors (human activities) also involved in the formation of soil. It is a dynamic entity which always undergoes physical, chemical and biological changes.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The soil is composed of both organic and inorganic material. For example, the weathering of rocks is an inorganic component of soil which provides the volume and weight to the soil. On the other hand, decayed plants and animals, roots of plants, fungi, bacteria, insects etc. constitute the organic component of the soil.
The liquid portion of soil is known as soil solution which is a complex solution necessary for the development of plants. The open spaces (pores) in the soil contains the gases existing in the atmosphere. Thus, the soil is made up of the substances existing in all three states. However, the amount of each component of soil varies according to the type of soil.
The vertical cross-section of the soil is called soil horizons. Soil horizons are the different horizontal layers present in the soil profile. These horizons have their own physical and chemical composition. The following are the different types of horizons of soil.
It is formed of accumulation of organic matters which are derived from the plants and animals. It also contains surface litters, fallen leaves and partially decomposed organic matter.
It is the uppermost mineral horizon of the soil profile. It is rich in both the humus and inorganic minerals. A horizon is also known as the topsoil of the soil profile.
It mainly constitutes grains of sand or coarse silt which are left behind due to seeping of water.
It is rich in clay, oxides of aluminium and iron. Subsoil receives the aforesaid minerals from the A and E horizons.
It consists of weathered parent minerals matter of the soil. C horizon is also known as Saprolite.
R horizon composed of the cemented rocks of granite, basalt and limestone.
Parent material mainly supplies the bases and nutrients to the soil. The parent material determines the colour, mineral composition and texture of the soil. For instance, calcareous rocks tend to give rise to base-rich soils due to calcification.
It is one of the most deciding factors of the types of soil formation in India. For instance, temperature influences the rate of chemical and biological reactions. On the other hand, precipitation decides the amount of moisture, and the rate of leaching of minerals in the soils types.
It constitutes both the flora and fauna of a region. For example, vegetation checks the soil erosion by binding the soil into their roots.
Topography decides the depth of soil formation. For example, the steep slopes have thinner soil than the gentle slopes.
It is also one of the most significant factors of soil formation as time decides the cycle of recycling of soil and weathering of rocks. For instance, it takes hundreds of years to form a thin layer of soil due to breaking of rocks.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has classified the soil types in India based on their nature and character as per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Soil Taxonomy.
|Sr. No.||Order of Soils in India||Percentage|
Based on the genesis, colour, composition and location, Indian soils have been classified into the following types.
|Sr.No||Types of soils in India|
|3.||Red and yellow soils|
It is found in the low-lying areas. It is deposited by annual floods and called new alluvium. Moreover, it is rich in fine silt deposits. They are more sandy but deficient in calcium and clay.
It is known as the older alluvium soils as found above the flood plains. They are more calcareous and clayey. Bhangar soils are mainly dark in colour.
Chemically, it is rich in organic matter and nitrogen but deficient in phosphates. Due to high moisture content, it is suitable for the plantation of rice, sugarcane and jute.
|Sr. No.||Types of forest soils||Characteristics|
|1.||Brown forest soil||1. Found between 900-1800m.|
2. Rich in humus.
3. Slightly acidic.
4. Mostly has deciduous forest.
|2.||Podzol||1. Found above an elevation of 1800m.|
2. Has thick coniferous forests.
3. Has thick forest cover.
|3.||Alpine Meadow soil||1. Found in the Himalayan’s Alpine.|
2. Has decomposed plants.
3. Either sandy-clay or sandy-loam.
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