Soil is a natural resource and a very valuable layer of earth’s crust. 
The soil formed the weathering and erosion of parent rock materials and the soil forming process is known as “Pedogenesis”. 
The soil is a mixture of rock debris and organic materials which depends upon the earth's surface.
Types of soil found in India

Types of soil found in India:

Indian council of research organization (ICAR) classified into eight categories on basis of texture, colour, time of genesis and composition etc.
  • Alluvial soil 
  • Black Soil 
  • Laterite Soil 
  • Red Soil 
  • Arid soil 
  • Saline Soil 
  • Peaty Soil
  •  Forest Soil

                              Alluvial soil

Types of soil found in India
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  • Alluvial soil is the most important soil in all types of soil. 
  • This soil develops from the deposition of sediments by the rivers and their tributaries.
Distribution: Alluvial types of soil found in India 

  • Great Northern plain of India: Sutlej-Ganga-Brahmaputra river plain. 
  • Deltas of East coast: Deltas of Mahanadi, Krishna, Cauvery and Godavari.
  •  Deltas of West coast: Narmada and Tapi rivers Plains mainly in Northern Gujarat.
  •  River valley of Peninsular India. The alluvial soil covers the 40% areas of India.
Physical characteristics: 

  • The alluvial soil develops due to deposition work of rivers and their tributaries. 
  • Alluvial soil consists of loamy to silts.
  •  The colour of soil varies from light grey to ash grey. 
  • The alluvial soil divides into two types:
  • Khadar soil:  the new alluvial deposit by rivers every year and low land soil. This is enriched by fresh soil silts and sandier than Bhanger soil. Khadar soil is more fertile than Bhanger soil.
  • Bhangar Soil: The Bhanger soil is old alluvial soil deposited by river and high land soil. The soil is well drained and drier than Khadar soil. Bhanger soil is less fertile.
Chemical composition: 

  • High content: Potash
  •  Low content: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Humus.
Crops: 

  • The alluvial soil is the most fertile soil.
  •  Canal and well irrigation systems develop into the plains areas for irrigation of crops which leads to intensive agriculture. 
  • Wheat, Rice, and Sugarcane are main crops.

                              Black Soil

Types of soil found in India


  • Black soil is also known as “Regur soil”, “Lava soil” or “Black cotton soil”
  •  The Black cotton soil is mainly used to cotton crop and made from admixture of humus and black component of parent rock materials.
  •  Black soil consists of two types of parent rock materials such as Basaltic Deccan and Rajmahal traps, and ferruginous genesis and Schist.
Distribution: Black types of soil found in India 

  • Western part of Deccan plateau: Maharashtra, Gujarat, North Karnataka, Western Madhya Pradesh and SE Rajasthan.
  •  Some parts of Tamilnadu.
  •  Black Soil is the main soil of Malwa plateau.
  •  The black soil covers 16% areas of India.
Physical Characteristics:

  • Black soil consists of two types of parent rock materials such as Basaltic Deccan and Rajmahal traps, and ferruginous genesis and Schist. 
  • The black soil colour varies from black to dark grey.
Chemical composition: 

  • High content: Lime, Iron, Magnesium and Aluminum and Clay   
  • Low content: Phosphorus and Organic matter.
Crops: 

  • The black soil is mainly used for “Dry land Farming”. 
  • Cotton and Sugarcane.

                              Red Soil

Types of soil found in India


  •   Red soil developed from weathering of Crystalline Igneous rocks and Metamorphic rocks during dry conditions.
Distribution: Red types of soil found in India 

  •  low rainfall areas of Eastern and Southern part of Deccan Plateau: Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  •  Piedmont areas of Western Ghats: Karnataka and Konkan.
  •  East Madhya Pradesh, South Bihar, West Orissa and Chotanagpur Plateau.
Physical Characteristics:

  • Red colour: presence of Iron oxide in old crystalline Igneous rocks and Metamorphic rocks.
  • Yellow colour: presence in old crystalline Igneous rocks and Metamorphic rocks in Hydrated forms.
  • Low water retention capacity.
Chemical Properties:

  •  High content:  Iron                
  •  low content: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Humus and Potash
Crops: 

  • Red soil is deep and fertile in low land and not fertile in highland.

                            Laterite Soil

Types of soil found in India


  •  Laterite Soil is generally present in high temperature and high rainfall areas ( more than 200 cm.). 
  •  The soil occurs in tropical areas of India.
  •  Leaching is a common feature of soil that means downwards movement of water compounding dissolved organic and inorganic matters.
Distribution: Laterite types of soil found in India 

  •  High latitude areas of the Peninsular plateau( Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats) includes Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Higher rainfall areas of North-East India( Assam and Meghalaya). 
  • Coastal Orissa, Madhya Pradesh.
Chemical composition: 

  • High content: Iron oxide, Potash  
  •   Low content: organic matter, Nitrogen, Phosphorus.
Crops:

  • Laterite Soil is not generally used for cultivation of  crops because a high amount of manures and fertilizers are required.
  •  The soil is suitable for the plantation crops such as tea and coffee. 
  • Laterite soils are also used for the tree crops like Cashew Nut.
Note: laterite soil is mainly used for making bricks.
                                Arid Soil
Types of soil found in India


  • Arid soil is also known as Desert soil
  • . The soil is covered by thick yellow materials which inhibits the soil growth.
Distribution: Arid types of soil found in India 

  • Westren Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab
Chemical composition: 

  • High content: Phosphate and Salt content  
  •  Low content: Nitrogen   
  • Absence: Moisture, Humus
Colour: Red to Brown
Crops: 

  • The soil is actually fertile but water being is only a limiting factor and limiting factor reclaimed through good irrigation. 
  • Coarse grains are main crops for this type of soil such as Bajara, Jowar, Ragi and oil seeds.

                              Saline Soil

Types of soil found in India


  •  Saline soil is also known as “ Alkaline soil” or “Usara soil”. 
  • The soil consists of a large amount of salts such as Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and this does not help to grow vegetation.
Distribution:  Saline types of soil found in India 

  •  Western Gujarat( Rann of Kucch).
  •  Deltas of East coast and Sundarbans due to sea water intrusion. 
  • Northern plains mainly Punjab and Haryana( excessive irrigation system and dry conditions leads to capillary action in soil that is the reason salinity of soil.).
Chemical composition:

  • High content of salts of Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium.
Crops: 

  • Saline soil does not support any type of crop growth.

                         Peaty Soil


  • Peat soil develops mainly in high temperature and humid areas which leads to the good growth of vegetation. This soil is also known as “ Organic soil”.
Distribution: Peaty types of soil found in India 

  • Northern Part of Bihar and South of Uttrakhand. Coast of West Bengal, Orissa, Tamilnadu.
Chemical composition:

  • High Humus and Organic matter upto 40% to 50%. Alkaline in nature.
Crops: 

  • To helpful to crops because accumulation of organic matter with large quantities of soluble salts.
               Forest and Mountain Soil
Types of soil found in India
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  • Soil texture and structure depends upon mountain environment. 
  • Valley side: loamy  to silts soil 
  • Slope sides; Coarse grained to well grained soil.
Crops: 

  • Slope of Forest and Mountain Soil: Horticulture and Plantations ( Tea, Apple, Peach etc.). 
  • Valley Of Forest and Mountain Soil: Rice and Wheat.    
More Information about Indian Geography:
India location 
Drainage system of India 
Types of forest found in India 

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