Soil Map of India

India Soil Map

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Soil Map of India
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Soil is one of the major natural resources, like air and water. It is the topmost layer of the earth's crust and is a mixture of fine powdered rocks, organic matter, liquids, myriad organisms and other minerals. It acts as an interface between hydrosphere, lithosphere, earth's atmosphere and biosphere. The proportion of the key ingredients determines the type of soil. But, factors such as vegetation, climatic conditions, human activities for e.g. grazing, farming, gardening etc also influence soil formation. In India, various types of soils are found and their formations are influenced by certain factors such as altitude, climate disproportionate rainfall and many others. The type of soil differs in different areas of the country. The major types of soils found in India are:

  • Laterite Soil: The laterite soil is found in those regions of the country which receive heavy rainfall with alternate dry and wet period. In these climatic conditions, leaching of soil takes place which is a process in which fertile portion of the soil gets washed away by heavy rains. They are formed from the decomposition of rocks and contain iron oxide which gives them red or pink colour. This type of soil is normally deficient in nitrogen and is poor in lime content. This type of soil is found in several parts of the country mainly Western and Eastern Ghats, Vindhyas, Malwa plateau and Satpuras. The states where this type of soil can be found are West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Meghalaya, Assam, Odisha to name a few.

  • Mountain Soils: Mountain soils are formed due to the accumulation of organic matter which is derived from the forest growth. This type of soil is rich in humus but has poor lime, potash and phosphorus content. It is generally sandy and has gravels. It is mainly found in Himalayan region of the country. Maize, barley, wheat and temperate fruits are grown in this soil in the Himalayan region. Plantation of crops like tropical fruits, coffee, tea or spices in states of south India like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are undertaken in this type of soil.

  • Black Soil: This type of soil is made up of volcanic rocks and lava. Black soil is also known as 'regur' which is derived from a Telugu word 'reguda'. Black soil is also known as Black Cotton Soil as cotton is an important crop which is grown in this type of soil. The soil content is rich in calcium carbonate, potash, lime and magnesium carbonate but has poor phosphorus content. It is mostly found in areas such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. It is also found in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

  • Red Soil: This type of soil is formed as a result of weathering of metamorphic and igneous rocks. The red colour of the soil comes from the high percentage of iron content. The soil's texture varies from being sandy to clayey, but it is mainly loamy. It is rich in potash content but lacks phosphate, humus and nitrogen content. The red soil is found in regions such as Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, some parts of Karnataka and southeast Maharashtra.

  • Alluvial Soil: Alluvial soils are formed by the deposits of the sediments brought by rivers. Most of the rivers originate from the Himalayas and bring along high amount of sediments with them. The soil is made up of particles like silt, sand and clay. It has adequate amount of phosphoric acid, potash and lime. Alluvial soil is of two types - (i) old alluvium known as bangar, and (ii) new alluvium called khaddar. It is the most important type of soil found in the country as it covers about 40% of the total land. It is found in the areas of northern plains beginning from Punjab to West Bengal and Assam. It is also found in deltas of different rivers such as Krishna, Godavari, Kaveri and Mahanadi in peninsular India.

  • Desert Soil: The desert soil is found in regions with low rainfall. The sand in the desert areas is partly original and partly blown from Indus Valley. The soil content has 90-95% of sand and 5-10% of clay. The phosphate content in the soil is high while the nitrogen content is low. The water content in the soil is fulfilled through irrigation. This type of soil is found in arid and semi-arid areas. Desert soil is found mostly in areas of Rajasthan, and also in Haryana and Punjab.

  • Saline and Alkaline Soil: There are many mineral based and undecomposed contents inside the earth. Due to weathering, they release certain minerals such as magnesium, sodium, sulphurous acid and calcium salts. Some of the released salts get carried in solution by rivers and mix in sub-soils of the plains making the soils saline and alkaline. This type of soil can be found in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and also in some parts of Gujarat.

  • Peat Soil: Accumulation of high amount of organic matters in the soil in humid regions results in the formation of peaty soils. These types of soils constitute about 10 to 40% of the organic matter and also a reasonable amount of soluble salts. Peaty soils are heavy, black in colour and have high acidic content. They are low in phosphate and potash content. Peaty and marshy soils are found in a few districts of Kerala. On the other hand, marshy soils are found in coastal areas of some states such as Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Almora district of Uttaranchal and Sunderbans of West Bengal.


Last Updated on : June 10, 2015

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