Soil cracks in a vertisol
by Antonio Jordán, University of Seville, Sevilla, Spain
Vertisols are a Reference Soil Group of the World Reference Base for Soil Resources (WRB) and an order of Soil Taxonomy. These soils have a high content of expansive clay minerals (such as montmorillonite) which, when contracted during dry periods, form deep cracks (from centimeter to meter scales).
The word vertisol comes from the Latin "vertere" (to turn), which refers to the fall of soil material inside the cracks and subsequent turning. So, a deep and homogeneous layer (vertic horizon) is formed. When dry, the vertic horizon has a structure in prismatic aggregates, in vertical arrangement and with flat faces as a result of shrink/swelling (although the aggregation can be altered due to ploughing).
The photograph was taken near the School of Agricultural Engineering of Seville and shows the soil surface, with wide cracks where part of the top material has fallen, which is thus recycled.
Taken on 27
Submitted on 27 March 2019
Credit: Antonio Jordán (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)
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