Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Word of the day: caliche

The word of the day is caliche:
  1. a surface deposit consisting of sand or clay impregnated with crystalline salts such as sodium nitrate or sodium chloride.
  2. a zone of calcium carbonate or other carbonates in soils of semiarid regions.
sodium nitrate deposits in Chile and Peru, 1858, from Amer.Sp., from Sp. caliche "pebble in a brick," from L. calx "pebble."


"By the time of Gilmore's visit, Blackwater Draw was an arid, almost vegetation-free jumble of sandy drifts and faces of fractured caliche."

 - Charles Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

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