Degrading Humification Mineralisation
3. PODZOLISATION / CHELUVIATION
This occurs in cool, humid climates where the bacterial activity is low. Inthese regions, a thick, dark organic surface (having organic compounds or“chelating agents”) is left behind which is translocated downwards by heavyrainfall. The chelating agents are the organic compounds thriving in acidic soils of conifers and health plat regions whose leaves release acids on decomposition.During podzolisation or cheluviation, because of differential solubility of materials, the upper horizons become rich in silica (tending to pure quartz) and thelower horizons rich in sesquioxides – mainly of iron. At times, even an iron pan isformed. Horizon-A, just below the humus-rich upper layer, has an ashy-greyappearance.
The process of gleying takes place under water-logged and anaerobicconditions. Under such conditions, some specialised bacterial flourish which useup the organic matter. Reduction of iron compounds laves behind a thick, bluish-grey gley horizon. Sometimes, intermittent oxidation of iron compounds gives redspots and the surface gets a characteristic ‘blotched’ lock. Leaching is absent dueto ground water saturation.
5. DESILICATION / LATERISATION
Such processes are common in hot-wet tropical and equatorial climates.High temperature leaves little or no hummus on the surface. Desilication orlaterisation contrasts with podzolisation when iron and aluminium compounds aremore mobile. In desilication, silica is more mobile and gets washed out with otherbases. Thus, we get horizon-A with red oxides (which are insoluble) of iron andaluminium –also called ‘ferralsols’. Such soils, being poor in organic compounds,are normally infertile. Where there is an abundance of iron and aluminium, thesesoils are suitable for mining.