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What is Caliche

What is Caliche

Caliche can be found all through the Valley of Fire park, but the best example can be seen at Baseline Mesa.

Baseline Mesa Information:

  • Coordinates: 36.4483092°N, -114.4774805°W
  • Approximate Elevation: 2,365 feet (721 meters)

From Wikipedia:

Caliche (/kəˈliːtʃiː/) is a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate that binds other materials—such as gravel, sand, clay, and silt.

It occurs worldwide, in aridisol and mollisol soil orders—generally in arid or semiarid regions, including in central and western Australia, in the Kalahari Desert, in the High Plains of the western USA, in the Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert, and in Eastern Saudi Arabia Al-Hasa.

Caliche is also known as calcrete or kankar (in India).

It belongs to the duricrusts.

The term caliche is Spanish and is originally from the Latin calx, meaning lime.

Caliche is generally light-colored but can range from white to light pink to reddish-brown, depending on the impurities present.

It generally occurs on or near the surface but can be found in deeper subsoil deposits, as well.

Layers vary from a few inches to feet thick, and multiple layers can exist in a single location.

Caliche References

  1. Caliche from Wikipedia
  2. Baseline Mesa Topo Map

What is Caliche