Types of Soils | Sandy, Clayey, Loamy & Silt

Study the different types of soil and its uses. The four types of soil discussed here are Sandy, Clayey, Loamy, and Silt. Also, read the difference between sandy and clayey soil.

By Mohit ChauhanPublished : July 20, 2020 , 19:06 IST
Types of Soils | Sandy, Clayey, Loamy & Silt

The land on which we live is made up of several layers, one of which is the soil. When you look around, you will notice different types of soil and its uses. Soil is characterized by a thin layer covering the earth’s surface, which is formed due to weathering of rocks. 

The soil is composed of minerals, gases, liquids, dead-decaying matter, and organic matter. It serves as a medium to grow crops, habitat for organisms, and a means of water storage, supply, and purification. In this article, we will discuss different types of soil, its uses, and soil profile. 

Different Types of Soil

Based on the properties, size, shape, and components, there are four types of soil- Sandy, Clayey, Loamy, and Silt. 

1. Sandy Soil

Sandy soil particles are the largest among other soil particles. These particles can also be seen with the help of the naked eye. Know about the properties, size, shape, and uses of sandy soil in the table shown below. 

Features

Details

Properties

Poor water retention capacity, high permeability, and weak structure. 

Size 

The size of particles is large enough to be seen by the naked eye. The size of sand particles ranges between 0.425 - 4.75 mm. 

Shape

The shape of a sand particle is angular, flat, and rounded. 

Components

It is made up of rock and hard minerals, such as silicon dioxide. 

Uses

Sandy soil is used in agricultural practices, constructional activities, drainage management, etc. 

2. Clayey Soil

The size of clayey soil particles is least among all types of soil. These particles are cohesive i.e. they stick together readily to form a gluey texture when wet or dry. Explore more features of clayey soil in the tabular data given below. 

Features

Details

Properties

High water and nutrient retention capacity, fertile, and provide good drainage

Size 

Clayey particles are the smallest of all the soil particles; each particle having a measurement of 0.002 mm. 

Shape

These are thin, elongated, and have tiny coverings. 

Components

Clayey particles are composed of microscopic and sub-microscopic particles and formed from the decomposition of rocks. 

Uses

Clayey soil is used in constructional activities, ceramics, pottery, and medicinal purposes. 

3. Loamy Soil

Loamy soil is widely known as ‘gardening soil’ as it has optimal water holding capacity, air circulation, and fertility. Loam soil is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt soil particles. It can be labelled as as ‘clay loam’, ‘sand loam’ or ‘silt loam’ based on their predominant composition. Below we have tabulated the properties, size, shape, and uses of loamy soil. 

Features

Details

Properties

It has favourable water retention, provides good drainage, fertile, and support healthy air circulation

Size 

The size of loam particles ranges between 0.002 - 0.05 mm. 

Shape

Small pore spaces and a few irregularities in comparison to sandy soil

Components

Clayey soil is a mixture of clayey, sandy, and silt particles. Loamy soil can be labelled as ‘clay loam’, ‘sand loam’ or ‘silt loam’ based on their predominant composition. 

Uses

Most favourable for growing crops

4. Silt Soil

Sil soil particles have a fine texture and blends easily with water to form smooth mud. It has low plasticity and optimal water retention capacity. Know about its size, shape, and other key features. 

Features

Details

Properties

Low to moderate permeability, optimal water holding capacity

Size 

The size of a silt particle ranges between 0.002 and 0.06 mm

Shape

When silt is wet, it becomes smooth in texture and can be changed into any shape

Components

Consists of rock and mineral particles

Difference between Clayey soil and Sandy soil

Let us know the key differences between clayey and sandy soil. 

Sandy Soil

Clayey Soil

1

Sandy soil has poor water holding capacity due to its large pore size. 

1

The clay particles have favourable water retention capacity due to its small pores. 

2

The size of sand particles ranges between 0.425 - 4.75 mm. 

2

The size of loam particles ranges between 0.002 - 0.05 mm. 

3

It is made up of rock and hard minerals, such as silicon dioxide. 

3

Clayey particles are composed of microscopic and sub-microscopic particles and formed from the decomposition of rocks.

4

Sandy soil is used in agricultural practices, constructional activities, drainage management, etc.

4

Clayey soil is used in constructional activities, ceramics, pottery, and medicinal purposes. 

It is clear that each soil type has its own significance and applications. Having studied the major types of soil, you can easily point out key differences between them.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is sandy soil?

    Sandy soil has the largest particles among all types of soil. The particles of sandy soil can be seen with the naked eye. Due to the size of their small pores, these particles are poor at holding the water for long periods of time. Sandy soil is mainly used in constructional activities, agricultural practices, and drainage management.

  • What is loamy soil?

    Loam soil is regarded as the best soil for gardening or growing crops. Its particles can store the water for a long duration which helps certain crops to reach their full growth. Loam soil is a mixture of sand, clay, and silt particles.

  • What is clayey soil?

    The size of clayey soil particles is least among all types of soil. These particles are cohesive i.e. they stick together readily to form a gluey texture when wet or dry.

  • What are the uses of sandy soil?

    Sandy soil is used in various activities including agriculture, construction, drainage management, etc.

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Class 10thSocial Science

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Mohit Chauhan

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