River soils are forms of clay that are carried/moved and retained by the sole action of rivers, as disputed to wind, ocean and rain-based clay. While the common soil type that is known consists of the mixture of sand, clay and loam, this is mainly a universal description that does not involve the intricacy of development and layering. As you read further, you will have a better understanding of what River clay is, its various types, importance and some facts/trivia about clay.

Two growing plants soil                                                                                                               Watering of plant using a watering can

  • Clay is what everyone knows, more or less because it is around us and it is very vital as it is used for the cultivation of crops.
  • It generally contains a mixture of sand, clay, and loam which are some of the types of clay that is known generally around the world.
  • River clay is formed by the layered deposition of sand and silt.
  • Compared to the ocean, river clay is majorly wind and water-based.
  • The complexity of the river clay depends on what the river brings(composition) from different areas.

Types of River Soil

  • Young Alluvial: It is the top layer of clay and is colored grey. It mainly contains silt and loam and lacks some nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. It is very fertile clay and is usually found in riverbeds or river delta.
  • Old Alluvial: As the name implies, it is the type of clay that has been retained in the river bed for a long time, turning brown in color. They are loamier as compared to young alluvial soil but still tend to possess fine silt. 
  • Entisol: It is the type of clay from flash floods and river flooding. They are a type of immature clay and they transform into different types of soil depending on the types of minerals they are getting nearby. This soil is mainly sandy mineral clays that have low organic matter, naturally fertile, etc.
  • Lacustrine: It is a type of clay that is formed when a river enters a freshwater lake. Since the river takes a long time to reach the freshwater lake, hence, the type of clay it carries is a type of very fine silt that can be transported very easily throughout the river’s journey. It slowly deposits on the lake as time passes by.
  • Volcanic: Most of the rivers start at mountains and end up at the ocean or lake. If the river begins at a volcanic mountain, it will bring more volcanic material ( i.e obsidian and lava rock) as compared to other rivers emerging from glaciers. These types of river beds are found to be richer in minerals and are very good for plant growth.  

Alluvial                                                                                                                                 A handful of soil

Why river clay is important

  • Application of river sediments to clay for improvement in urban green space – The soil in urban spaces is facing two major issues; the introduction of new guest soil, clay waste into the environment and human treading over the clay. River sediments are known to be more nutrient-rich clay when applied to urban soil, which  helps in creating more urban green spaces.
  • Clasy and water relationship – soil texture mostly depends on the amount of moisture in it. Sandy soil can quickly be recharged with water and gain moisture. Understanding characteristics can help in making the mud type more welcoming for every king of organisms.  
  • Archaeologists have determined that the demise of many sophisticated civilizations, such as the Mayans of Central America and the Harappa of India, resulted directly from the mismanagement of their muds.

Rice field                                                                                                                         Waterway/paths in rice field


Did you know?

  • Applying clay to your face in the form of a “mud mask” can cleanse the pores in the skin.
  • The best china dishes are made from it.
  • It is a nonrenewable resource.
  • Almost all of the antibiotics we take to help us fight infections were obtained from mud microorganisms.

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By :- Joy Oahimijie

Date: 28/12/2021

Tags: earth climate

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