The laterite soils are commonly found in area of high altitude and heavy rainfall in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Assam and Meghalaya extending over 13 million hectares.
They generally form under hot and humid climatic conditions. The lateritic soils are particularly found on high flat erosion surfaces in areas of high and seasonal rainfall.
Loss of nutrients by accelerated leaching is the most common feature which renders the soil infertile. The pebbly crust is the important feature of laterites which is formed due to alteration of wet and dry periods. As a result of weathering, laterite becomes extremely hard.
Thus, their characteristics include complete chemical decomposition of the parent rock, complete leaching of silica, a reddish brown colour given by the oxides of aluminium and iron and lack of humus. The crops which are generally grown are rice, millets, sugarcane on lowland and tropical plantation such as rubber, coffee and tea on uplands.