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Factors Affecting Soil Formation

The major factors affecting the formation of soil are relief, parent material, climate, vegetation and other life-forms and time. Besides these....

The major factors affecting the formation of soil are relief, parent material, climate, vegetation and other life-forms and time. Besides these, human activities also influence it to a large extent.

Factors that influence soil formation in Indian Conditions
  • Parent Material
  • Relief
  • Climate
  • Natural Vegetation
Parent Material
  • The rocks from which soils are formed are called parent materials.
  • In most of the cases, the parent material determines the colouration, mineral composition and texture of the soil.
  • In some cases, the soil formed may or may not have the same physical properties of the parent rock.
  • Climatic factors induce chemical changes which also affect physical properties of the soil.
  • The surface rocks are exposed to the process of weathering. In this process, the rocks are converted into fine grains and provide a base for the soil formation.
  • On the plain surface, the soil is generally thick. On the steeper side of the land, very thin soil developed.
  • Temperature and precipitation are two active agents of climate that help in the soil formation processes such as weathering, erosion, and transportation.
  • High temperature and high precipitation enhance the weathering, biological, and erosional activities.

For example, 

  • there is a very thick weathered mantle present in the equatorial region due to high temperature and precipitation.
  • Soil is generally thin in the desert and polar regions due to the absence of sufficient rainfall and temperature respectively.
Biological activities:

Vegetation and animals release acids that enhance chemical weathering. Flora and fauna, both are favorable for soil formation.


The length of time determines the maturity of soil profile( thickness) development. 

For example,

  • Very thin soil is found in newly developed landforms.
  • Thick soil is found in old landforms.
    • Mainly climate plays an active role in soil formation and global distribution.
    • Laterite soils develop in the presence of high temperatures and heavy rainfall in the equatorial region.
    • Desert soil develops in presence of high temperature and very scanty rainfall in the desert areas.
    • Chestnut soil develops in presence of moderate temperature and rainfall in the Mediterranean region.
    • Taiga soil with low humus content develops in the presence of heavy rainfall and low temperature in the higher latitude.

Factors Affecting Soil Formation,Factors Affecting Soil Formation

Also Read : Significance of Weathering

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