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.


  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 regionsAlso called: duricrust

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.)).

  1. See hardpan.
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