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[kuh-lee-chee] /kəˈli tʃi/
noun, Geology
a surface deposit consisting of sand or clay impregnated with crystalline salts such as sodium nitrate or sodium chloride.
a zone of calcium carbonate or other carbonates in soils of semiarid regions.
Compare duricrust, hardpan.
Origin of caliche
1855-60; < Spanish: flake of lime, equivalent to cal lime (< Latin calc-; see chalk) + -iche noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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


Also called calcrete. a bed of sand or clay in arid regions cemented by calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, and other soluble minerals
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

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
See hardpan.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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