Soil Mineralogy

  • S. P. IndraratneEmail author
Part of the World Soils Book Series book series (WSBS)


Sri Lanka has a humid tropical climate where year-round high temperatures and precipitation are the main features. Hot and humid climatic conditions result in highly weathered soils. Climatic factors, especially amount of rainfall, plays a significant role in the development and weathering of soils of Sri Lanka. Hence, Sri Lanka is divided into wet, intermediate, and dry zones based on the amount and distribution of rainfall. Oxisols, Aridisols, Alfisols, and Ultisols comprise major parts of the soils in the tropical belt and Alfisols and Ultisols cover large extent of soils in Sri Lanka. Ultisols, Inceptisols, Histosols, and Entisols are the soils in wet and semi-wet intermediate zone soils where dry and semi-dry intermediate soils comprising with Alfisols, Inceptisols, Vertisols, and Entisols. Clay mineralogy reflects the weathering stage of the soils and clay fraction of soils of Sri Lanka is dominantly kaolinitic. Clay minerals of kaolinite, illite, vermiculite, hydroxy-interlayered vermiculite, and gibbsite are present in Ultisols. The smectite, illite, vermiculite, and kaolinite are the clay minerals present in Alfisols. Soils from wet zone have kaolinite, illite gibbsite, hydroxy-interlayered vermiculite, and traces of boehmite with no evidence for smectites. Soils from the intermediate zone have kaolinite, smectites, vermiculites, and mica with no evidence of gibbsite or boehmite. Kaolinite, smectite, vermiculite, and mica without any highly weathered clay minerals such as gibbsite or boehmite are the mineralogical make-up for dry zone soils. Mineralogical make-up of the soils confirms dry zone and intermediate zone soils are younger or less weathered than soils of wet zone in relation to the stage of soil development.


Kaolinite Smectite Weathering stage Tropical soils 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Studies and SciencesWinnipegCanada

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