General Clay CompositionClays include the kaolinite of red ultisol and are usually made up of complex silicate minerals. Tulane University explains they are 2D 6-member ring sheet silicates called phyllosilicates. Due to weathering, the sheets are fragmented. They readily slide across each other. This imparts slipperiness. Moisture is held in the ring structures.
Red Clay HorizonsSoils, including red mud, are divided into layers. There are organic, topsoil, subsoil, parent material and bedrock layers. Junctures between layers are horizons. The layers are visible in cutaway images. These images may include a measuring stick. See this cutaway of red Georgia clay.
In Construction, Forestry and AgricultureRed clay has low organic matter. It is stable for construction purposes. Forests thrive in it. When forests are cleared by slash and burn methods, fertility quickly goes. Although some clays are not suitable for farming, the red variety is workable. Calcium and fertilizer amendments are necessary for repeat farming. So while red soil may present a cleaning problem, it can be an asset if properly utilized.
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- U of Idaho: The Twelve Orders of Soil Taxonomy: Ultisols
- NCSU: Soil Science Courseware: Ultisols
- USDA: What are Soil Horizons?