caliche - teaching hand/display specimen of pink nodular caliche from the Texas panhandle
Caliche underlies soils in a large part of the Texas panhandle and in other arid areas. It is composed of calcium carbonate and can be tens of feet thick. An ideal caliche profile would have a hardpan at the surface progressing downward into a platy or laminar layer which overlies a nodular zone, and then intercepts the bedrock. Since a caliche takes tens to hundreds of thousands of years to form, changes in climate disrupt this sequence and an ideal profile is seldom seen.
The term caliche is Spanish from the Latin calx for lime. It forms when calcium carbonate is leached from the overlying soil and accumulates some distance below the surface.
These specimens were collected from a nodular zone in the caliche overlying the Ogallala Sandstone near Palo Duro Canyon on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River in Armstrong County, Texas. Caliche, along with the Ogallala sandstone forms the caprock of the Llano Estacado, Spanish for palisaded plain, of the Texas panhandle. Cliffs capped by caliche and the Ogallala Sandstone form the palisade.
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