Definition of caliche in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A mineral deposit of gravel, sand, and nitrates, found in dry areas of America.

    • ‘A hardpan or impervious layer of soil (called caliche in the Southwest's low deserts) might be the cause.’
    • ‘Built of adobe, caliche, and limestone, ‘La Casita’ was recently restored by the Conservation Society.’
    • ‘There are no consistent indications of variations of climate apparent in the two sections, such as might be evidenced by variations in the occurrence of caliche and rare gypsum pseudomorphs.’
    • ‘When atmospheric circulation changed, bringing rain from the warm Pacific, vegetation grew upon and anchored the dunes, and caliche cemented the sand just below their surfaces.’
    • ‘The urgent trade shifted surprisingly to Chilean deserts nearby, where deposits of caliche, a crude mineral conglomerate of salts, including nitrates, had been laid down during the late Tertiary and Quaternary eras.’
    • ‘The Rexroad Formation of Pliocene age is composed of silts, sands, consolidated gravels and numerous caliche zones, and overlies the Miocene Ogallala Formation in the Borchers Badlands.’
    • ‘The kinds of material that can be dated are also slightly different, and include coral, mollusc shells, marl, bone, teeth, caliche and calcretes, peat, wood, and detrital sediment.’
    • ‘The early diagenetic precipitation of hematite and calcite took place during subaerial exposure and are the results of caliche and palaeosol formation.’
    • ‘The formations consist of fine - to medium-grained fluvial sandstones, siltstones and overbank mudstones with abundant caliche soil formation, fossil leaves and logs.’
    • ‘Thus, the suite of sulfates found in the oxide zone of the Chuquicamata copper deposit and the nitrates and iodates found in the caliche deposits of northern Chile owe their existence to the extreme aridness of the great Atacama Desert.’
    • ‘Jess Haldeman, a partner in the firm, states that bedrock isn't available in the Las Vegas valley at a depth to support buildings, only occasional beds of caliche - a cemented soil very common to the Las Vegas area.’
    • ‘Soils consisted of alluvial sands and no caliche layer was observed to a depth of 1 m.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for calcrete
      • ‘On and around it the Hohokam would have constructed houses of mud, stone, and cementlike caliche.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin American Spanish.