Types of Soil in the Mountains

Mountains and mountain ranges are those portions of the earth driven upward by tectonic of volcanic events. They're new, in a geological sense. The highest mountains are the sites of soils still in various stages of their formative processes. Some examples of these "young" soils include andisols, inceptisols and entisols.


Entisols are soils that have been halted early in their formative process. While they appear throughout the United States and much of the world, they abound in mountain ranges. Entisol is the soil is caught on a steep cliff or placed on hard bedrock that lacks sufficiently diverse content to allow for pedogenesis, the evolution of soil. Owing to imperfections in the silicates that make up most entisols, the soil is sandy in consistency and tinged a light red. Any nutrient content is negligible.


Inceptisols appear in similar areas of the world as entisols and in similar circumstances, but in much larger qualities. They have sufficient nutrients for grasses and herbs, but not to a sufficient depth to sustain trees and larger plant life.


Andisols are an order of soils that were forming when parts of the earth were still volcanically active. They were formed as a result of pyroclastic ejection: pumice, lava, cinders and ash. This means they contain high quantities of volcanic glass and ash. Minerals found are typically in a crystalline formation, which is fragile and mixed with other elementary earths in what is deemed an amorphous, colloidal composite. Because andisols are young, they are very fertile. In the United States, they are found only in the Cascade Mountains and the Washingtonian Rockies. Tropical suborders of andisols are known for having high phosphorous content, such as is found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Central America.

Keywords: mountain range soils, mountain soils, mountain planting soils

About this Author

John Albers is a 25 year old freelance writer with dual degrees from the University of Central Florida in English literature and psychology, and a goodly amount of experience in most fields besides. He's successfully published 800 online and printed articles of a technical nature, and fictional works with Bewildering Stories and Mindflights Magazine, though he's currently working on a debut novel.