What is Soil? Know types of soil in India
Soil is among the major natural resources we have like rather and air. The topmost layer of the earth’s crust, formed by the mixing of finely powdered rock, organic matter, liquids, myriad organisms and other minerals is called soil. It can also be seen as an interface between the microsphere, lithosphere atmosphere and the biosphere.
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The types of soil are determined by the portion and composition of the soil. Also, factors like the climatic condition, vegetation, human activities like farming, gardening, grazing etc impact the type and quality of the soil. Since India has diversity in the terrain and climatic conditions from top to bottom, hence, India has a great variety of soil available. The soil in India is influenced by the altitude, climate and unproportionate rainfall. In fact, different countries have different kinds of cool depending on the conditions of it.
Soil can be seen as a mixture of debris and organic material. The soil also has three layers –
Horizon A – This is the topmost layer with the organic material. Here, the minerals, nutrients and water are incorporated.
Horizon B – It is simply a zone of transition between Horizon A and C.
Horizon C – It is the base layer with parent material and hence, it is the first stage of soil formation. Hence, it is what forms A and B.
The conventional types of soil: Urvara and Utara
On the basis of fertility, conventionally, the soil is classified as Urvara and Utara. Rivers refers to fertile soil and Usara refers to non-fertile soil.
In the present context, this classification is not really substantial. Now, soil can be classified on the basis of its colour, moisture etc.
Note – In the year 1956, Soil survey of India was for men. It is an institution, established by the Government of India to study soil and its characteristics.
According to USDA soil taxonomy, the types of Soil in India are:
Soil type – per cent area covered in the country
Inceptisols – covers 39% area
Entisols – covers 28% area
Alfisols – 13 % area
Vertisols – 8% area
Aridisols 0.4% area
Ultisols – 2% area
Mollisols – 0.4% area
At present, the major types of soils found in India are:
1. Alluvial Soil
2. Red and yellow Soil
3. Laterite Soil
4. Saline Soil
5. Forest Soil
6. Black Soil
● Alluvial soil is formed due to silt deposits by Indo Gangetic Brahmaputra River. Also, considering the coastal region, alluvial deposits are also formed due to the action of waves.
● The parent material of the alluvial soil is from the rocks of Himalayans.
● This soil group covers a wide proportion of India i. e. 15 lakh sq. I’m or 46 per cent of the total area.
● Most of the oil is sandy and not clayey
● Kankar (calcareous concretions) beds are present in some regions of the soil along the river terraces.
● This soil is porous because of loamy proportion.
● Suitable for crops like rice, wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, jute, maize, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits.
2.Red and Yellow Soil
● This soil is formed from indigenous rock and red colour is because of the presence of iron and crystalline igneous and metamorphic rock.
● It consists of loose travels and highly coarse material.
● This soil is devoid of phosphoric acid, organic matter and nitrogenous material.
● It is fairly rich in potash.
● Main crops that can be grown on red and yellow soil are cotton, wheat, rice, pulses, millets etc.
● This soil is specifically found in regions like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and parts of Chota Nagpur plateau.
3. Laterite Soil
● It is developed in the area with high temperature and high rainfall.
● It is formed because of intense leaching during rainfall. Because of leaching, lime and silica leach away.
● This soil is rich in iron oxide and aluminium compounds.
● This soil lacks nitrogen, phosphate and calcium.
● Cashew nut and Tapioca is grown using fertilizer and manures and is used in bricks for construction.
4. Saline Soil
● It is one of the Usara Soil. The contents of sodium, potash and magnesium make it infertile.
● The soil lacks nitrogen and calcium and occurs in arid and semi-arid regions.
● The southwestern monsoon in Rann of Kachchh brings the salt which deposits as the crust. It is because of the seawater intrusion.
● To solve the problem of the extreme salinity of this soil, farmers add gypsum to it.
● This soil is located in the forest area that has appreciable rainfall.
● Generally found in the snowbound areas of Himalayas.
6. Black Soil
● Fine in texture and clayey in nature.
● Formed of weathered lava rock and hence, black rock.
● Because of 50% clayey contents in the soil, it is highly resistant to soil.
● This soil is highly fertile.
India is a land of diversity. The terrain and the climatic conditions change here every now and then. Knowing about the types of soil is quite important for your general awareness. Hope this article will help you in knowing the main properties of each type of soil.