On detailed field-based observations of laterite and laterization: a study in the Paschim Medinipur lateritic upland of India

Abstract

The term ‘laterite’ and the process ‘laterization’—both have raised perpetual scientific debates. The present study reviews the relevant scientific pieces of literature associated with tropical red lateritic and ferralitic soils and tries to justify them with the observations in the Paschim Medinipur Lateritic Upland. This particular area is practically the natural laboratory for observing the laterization process. The area exhibits a distinctive geomorphologic, hydrological, and climatic characteristic over an evolutionary geological setting. The favorable tropical climate, intense weathering, groundwater movement with seasons, and neo-tectonic upliftment exerts complex influences on the pedo-geomorphological distinctiveness of this area. Presence of planation surfaces, typical scarp development along the surface margins and exposure of deep lateritic profiles by basal sapping, accelerated erosion of the margin, and formation of rills and gullies with waxing slope development are worthy of being synced with available scientific understandings. The study is based on extensive field observations, profile studies, and soil sample analysis from different geomorphic units. The study reveals that the role of tectono-climatic evolution has had a massive influence on characteristics and development of the present lateritic formations. Transportation and deposition of Neogene ferruginous sediments over basin shelf region as paradeltaic formation, alternating wet (June–October), and dry (November–May) monsoonal climate with adequate rainfall and iron segregation and relative accumulation along with neo-tectonic modification are the important considerations regarding ferrugination process in the area under study. The justifications of the observed attributes of this particular tropical lateritic landscape may be used as a reference work for future scientific studies and model building processes on the same in this area as well as the other parts of the world.

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Source: The Geological Survey of India

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(Data source: India Water Portal 2020)

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Malabar A coastal area in southern India with latitudinal extension of 8°0′ N–13°0′ N and longitudinal extension of 74°50′ E to 77°50′ E flanked by the Western Ghats in the East and the Arabian Sea in the West. The westward sloping mountain slope and the presence of sand bars in the western coastal margin with backwaters and lagoons along the shore give the distinctiveness to this region.

  2. 2.

    Rarh Bengal The word ‘Rarh’ originated in the ancient Austric language and means 'a land of red soil'. It is a toponym for an area that lies between the Chhotanagpur Plateau on the West and the Ganges Delta on the East over the Indian subcontinent. The rolling transitionary surface with predominance of red and Laterites was believed to be originated from the soil from Deccan plateau.

  3. 3.

    Chhotanagpur plateau An extensive plateau in eastern India, which covers much of Jharkhand state as well as parts of the neighboring states of Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. The geographical boundary is delineated by Indo-Gangetic plain at the north and east, and the basin of the River Mahanadi at the south. The total area is approximately 65 K square km.

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Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

Table 6 Soil profile characteristics of Typic ustifluvents (Soil Taxonomic Sub-group)
Table 7 Soil profile characteristics of Ultic Paleustalfs (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)
Table 8 Soil profile characteristics of Aeric Endoaqualfs (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)
Table 9 Soil profile characteristics of Lithic Ustorthents: (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)
Table 10 Soil profile characteristics of Aquic Haplustalfs: (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)
Table 11 Soil profile characteristics of Aeric Endoaqualfs: (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)
Table 12 Soil profile characteristics of Rhodic Paleustalfs: (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)
Table 13 Soil profile characteristics of Typic Haplustalfs: (Soil Taxonomic Sub group)

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Sarkar, T., Mishra, M. & Chatterjee, S. On detailed field-based observations of laterite and laterization: a study in the Paschim Medinipur lateritic upland of India. J. Sediment. Environ. 5, 219–245 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43217-020-00017-4

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Keywords

  • Laterization
  • Tropical climate
  • Neo-tectonic upliftment
  • Planation surfaces
  • Pedogenesis