Widdowson, Mike (2009). Laterite. In: Gornitz, Vivien ed. Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, pp. 514–517.



Laterite is an iron-rich, sub-aerial, weathering product, commonly considered to evolve as a result of intense, in situ substrate alteration under tropical or sub-tropical climatic conditions. It comprises an important subset of a wider range of ferruginous, and related aluminous (i.e. bauxitic), weathering products which include ferricretes and various iron-rich palaeosols. Laterite weathering profiles often develop an indurated surface layer of resistant duricrust, forming laterally extensive sheets c.1 – 20 m in thickness (Figure 1). These lateritized surfaces are both chemically and physically resistant and may extend over areas of a few, to hundreds, or even thousands of square kilometres.

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