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Re: Laterite Posts

Good Morning Everyone,

Been seeing a lot of posts about the ocurrance of laterite in the U.S.

Not to be a tick, but have any of the posters bothered to fire up their
browsers and visited a good search engine lately? A while back I got a
whole boatload of references to "laterite" from Yahoo. There is a whole
network of European geologists who are on the net and a lot of information
about it is on-line. Granted, not much about its use in growing aquarium
plants (except for this list), but you will find out a lot if you care to

One thing that a lot of people seem to be missing is that laterite forms
"over geologic time", meaning that it takes thousands of years of
weathering for the formation of a true laterite. It also forms (from what I
understand) under tropical conditions. Put these two facts together and you
should conclude that there is very little reason why laterite should NOT be
found in the U.S. (or Canada either, for that matter). Any region that had
a tropical climate at some point in it's geological history would quite
possibly have had conditions suitable for the formation of laterite. North
America was, at one time, a very different place than it is today - hey
they have even discovered evidence of coral fossils in the Arctic,
indicating that it was warm at the North Pole once.

Iron and aluminium are two metals which seem to remain in clays which have
been subjected to extended weathering over long periods of time. That is
why al lot of laterite has high concentrations of both.

A phone call to your local Agricultural office should reveal if there are
any deposits of laterite - type soils in your area. But I suspect that for
our purposes, any clay would work pretty well.

James Purchase
jpp at inforamp_net