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caliche

[kuh-lee-chee] /kəˈli tʃi/
noun, Geology
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.
Compare duricrust, hardpan.
Origin
1855-1860
1855-60; < Spanish: flake of lime, equivalent to cal lime (< Latin calc-; see chalk) + -iche noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for caliche
  • caliche common near surface but occurrence is not limited to the surface.
  • These mineral deposits are a calcium carbonate substance called caliche.
  • The only time caliche is a problem for plants is when the layers of material doesn't allow water to drain through it.
  • caliche is a reddish-brown to white layer found in many desert soils.
  • Within granite rocks and soils a unique mineral deposit called caliche can be found.
  • Alleys are maintained on a regular route and caliche is used to fill pot holes or low areas in an alley.
British Dictionary definitions for caliche

caliche

/kæˈliːtʃɪ/
noun
1.
Also called calcrete. a bed of sand or clay in arid regions cemented by calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, and other soluble minerals
2.
a surface layer of soil encrusted with calcium carbonate, occurring in arid regions Also called duricrust
Word Origin
C20: from American Spanish, from Latin calx lime
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caliche
n.

sodium nitrate deposits in Chile and Peru, 1858, from American Spanish, from Spanish caliche "pebble in a brick," from Latin calx "pebble" (see chalk (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caliche in Science
caliche
  (kə-lē'chē)   
See hardpan.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for caliche

hardpan

calcium-rich duricrust, a hardened layer in or on a soil. It is formed on calcareous materials as a result of climatic fluctuations in arid and semiarid regions. Calcite is dissolved in groundwater and, under drying conditions, is precipitated as the water evaporates at the surface. Rainwater saturated with carbon dioxide acts as an acid and also dissolves calcite and then redeposits it as a precipitate on the surfaces of the soil particles; as the interstitial soil spaces are filled, an impermeable crust is formed.

Learn more about hardpan with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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