Which of the following statements regarding laterite soils of India are correct?
- They are generally red in colour.
- They are rich in nitrogen and potash.
- They are well-developed in Rajasthan and UP.
- Tapioca and cashew nuts grow well on these soils
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2013 Prelims]
(a) 1, 2 and 3
(b) 2, 3 and 4
(c) 1 and 4
(d) 2 and 3 only
- Laterite soils are the result of weathering under high temperature and heavy rainfall with alternate wet and dry periods.
- They harden greatly on losing moisture, hence the name “laterite” meaning brick in Latin.
- They are rich in oxides of iron and aluminium compounds, making them red in colour due to little clay and more gravel of red sand-stones.
- Laterite soils are rich in bauxite or ferric oxides, but very poor in lime, magnesia, potash, and nitrogen.
- Sometimes, iron phosphate may be present in high amounts. The presence of humus may be higher in wetter places.
- Laterite soils are found on the summits of Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, the Rajmahal Hills, Vindhyan, Satpuras, and Malwa Plateau.
- They also occur at lower levels and in valleys in several other parts of the country. They are well developed in south Maharashtra, parts of Karnataka, and widely scattered in other regions.
- Laterite soils lack fertility due to intensive leaching but can be suitable for growing plantation crops like tea, coffee, rubber, cinchona, coconut, arecanut, etc., when manured and irrigated.
- They also support grazing grounds and scrub forests in some areas.
Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.