Tuesday, July 26, 2005

salted soils

There is something special about soils in an estuary. This salt panne, is roughly 3 X 5 meters square - if it were compacted. But, this salt panne is, at the most, 3/4 meters wide (some parts are wider but have islands of vegetation which splits the panne into two segments 1/3 meters wide) and it meanders maybe another 10 meters.

This soil is very fine. At high tide water covers the panne, and when it retreats, the upper portion of the soil compacts and splits to a depth of about a centimeter. As the panne continues to dry salt crystals form on the surface and within the matrix of soil. Patches of the top layers cut into many sided shapes, curl at the edges as more of the moisture evaporates.

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