We see different varieties of soil throughout the country. Alluvial soil, Black soil, Sandy soil, Laterite soil, Silt soil, Loamy soil, Clay soil are the soil we find. Let us know about Laterite soil in this article.
This is one of the soil rich with vital nutrients and is widely used.
Origin of the word and it’s meaning
The word Laterite is derived from the Latin word ‘later’ which means ‘brick’.Laterite is a soil and rock type rich in iron and aluminium and is commonly considered to have formed in hot and wet tropical areas. Nearly all laterites are of rusty-red colouration, because of high iron oxide content. They develop by intensive and long-lasting weathering of the underlying parent rock.
Laterite soil is reddish to yellow in colour with a lower content of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, lime, and magnesia with 90 to 100% of aluminium, iron, titanium, & manganese oxides.
Laterite soil is formed under conditions of heavy rainfall with alternate wet and dry periods, and high temperature which leads to leaching of soil, leaving only oxides of aluminium and iron. The lacks fertility because of the lower base-exchanging capacity and a lower content of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
- Irrigation and proper use of fertilizers make it suitable for growing crops, like coffee, tea, rubber, coconut, cinchona, etc.
- The soil is one of the important sources for building material, because it can be efficiently cut with a spade but hardens like iron when exposed to air.
- In laterite areas where a high level of culture once prevailed, ruins often disclose laterite used as a building stone.
- Open cisterns, headwalls, sewers, flagstones, culverts, moles and quays, of laterite have functioned successfully for hundreds of years.