Soils in Queenlsand
Dominant soil orders across Queensland
Red Sodosol (right), Grey Sodosol (middle), Red Chromosol (left)
The following is a summary of the dominant soils that exist across Queensland. Soils can be broadly grouped into soil orders. These soil orders are based on the Australian Soil Classification System.
Vertosols are the most common soil in Queensland, covering 29 per cent of the State—characteristics include:
- brown, grey or black soils—which crack open when dry
- commonly formed hummocky relief called gilgai
- very high soil fertility—ability of soil to supply plant nutrients
- large water holding capacity.
Vertosols have been voted by the Australian Society of Soil Science Inc. (ASSSI) as Queensland's 'state soil'. For more information visit the ASSSI website.
Ferrosols and Dermosols
Ferrosols are well drained soils which are red or yellow-brown in colour and have clay-loam to clay textures. This soil type, usually associated with volcanic landscapes of basalt, occupies 2 per cent of the State and is mainly located along the Great Dividing Range.
Dermosols are red, brown, yellow, grey or black coloured and have a loam to clay textures. This type of soil covers 2 per cent of the State, mainly throughout the higher rainfall coastal and sub-coastal forested regions.
Chromosols and Kurosols
Both these soil orders are texture contrast soils with permeable subsoils. Kurosols are strongly acid whereas Chromosols are not—covering 0.7 and 7 per cent of the State, respectively.
Kandosols are red, yellow and grey massive earthy soils. They generally have a sandy to loamy surface soil, grading to porous sandy clay subsoils with low fertility and poor water holding capacity. A wide range of crops can be grown on these soils where rainfall is higher or where irrigation is available. This soil type covers 29 per cent of the State.
Sodosols are texture contrast soils with impermeable subsoils, due to an elevated concentration of sodium. These soils occupy a large area of inland Queensland, covering 12 per cent of the State. Generally Sodosols have a low nutrient status and are very susceptible to erosion and dryland salinity, if vegetation is removed.
Calcarosols are lime rich soils with sandy or loamy textures that only become more clayey with depth. They cover 0.3 per cent of the State and occur in the arid western areas of Queensland, usually on limestone, calcium-rich sedimentary rocks and windborne deposits.
Rudosols, Tenosols and Podosols
These soils orders are generally of low fertility and low water holding capacity.
Rudosols and Tenosols are poorly developed but widespread and can be shallow and stony. These soil types cover 12 and 4.5 per cent of the State, respectively—with the most extensive areas of these soils inland from Cairns.
Podosols are sandy soils that occur in the more humid coastal regions including areas such as Fraser Island and Shelburne Bay, and cover 1 per cent of the State.
Hydrosols are soils that are saturated with water for long periods of time (at least several months), typically of grey (or greenish-grey) colour or contain strongly constrasting iron stained colours (mottles). This soil covers 0.5 per cent of the State and is mainly found near coastal areas. However, many inland wetlands are also dominated by Hydrosols even though these areas may only be intermittently inundated.
Occur in very minimal wetland areas along the coast in high rainfall zones. Organosols are rich in peat and other humus rich layers.
Last reviewed 10 April 2012
Last updated 6 January 2010