Applied and Natural Science Foundation
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Journal of Applied and Natural Science
An International Journal | Print ISSN: 0974-9411 | Online ISSN: 2231-5209
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Journal of Applied and Natural Science 8 (1) : 196-207 (2016)
Geochemistry of some ferruginous soils of Kerala, India
P. N. Dubey1*, B. P. Bhaskar2, P. Chandran2, B. Singh1 and B. K. Mishra1
1National Research Centre on seed Spices, Ajmer-305206 (Rajasthan), INDIA
2Division of Soil Resource Studies, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Nagpur-440033 (Maharashtra), INDIA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Abstract : The four representative ferruginous soils on lateritic cover developed over Precambrian rocks in parts of Kottayam of Kerala were studied to understand the weathering pattern and genesis through geochemistry. These soils are strongly to moderately acidic, reddish brown with low Cation exchange capacity CEC and base saturation having SiO2 - 33 to 57%, Al2O3 - 16-31%, Fe2O3 - 8 to 15% and TiO2 -0.7 to 1.4%. Kanjirapalli (P3) and Athirampuzha (P4) soil series were more intensely weathered as compared to the Kinalur (P1) and Chingavanam series (P2) with silica to alumina -iron ratio less than 2 and had a significant negative relationship with Chemical index of alteration CIA ( -0.75**), Harnois index ( -0.678**), Richie index ( - 0.953**) and Plagioclase Index of Weathering ( -0.705**). The trace elemental concentration ranges were above the values of world soils having an enrichment index more than 1 in Kanjirapalli series (P3) and Ni contamination in genetic horizons (Ni > 200µgg -1 ). The cluster analysis showed similar major oxide concentration pattern in Group -1 and Group - 2 but varied in trace elemental pattern with Cr > Ba > Cu in Group - 1 and Cu > Cr > Ba in Group - 2 soils whereas Zr > Ni > Mn in Group - 3 to Ni > Mn > Zr in Group - 4 soils. The study further showed that differential rate of weathering in soils under tropical climate was further accelerated due to anthropogenic activities such as improper land use practices and deforestation on sleep slopes.

Keywords : Chemical index of weathering, Enrichment index, Index of laterization, Kerala, Trace elements
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