One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The gradual movement of wet soil or other material down a slope, especially where frozen subsoil acts as a barrier to the percolation of water.
- ‘This material is unsorted and is usually mixed with other transported material from the same sources including slopewash, solifluction, or trampling.’
- ‘A combination of land submergence, coastal erosion, and solifluction had caused the deterioration of certain houses and their associated midden deposits.’
- ‘In contrast to the soil creep of temperate regions, solifluction and gelifiuction are relatively rapid processes in periglacial regions and can result in the active development of slopes.’
- ‘The land surface's extent is uncertain, but there is probably a north-south strip five to ten metres wide parallel to the valley edge, buried, and protected from the effects of ploughing, by chalk solifluction sediments.’
Early 20th century: from Latin solum ‘soil’ + fluctio(n-) ‘flowing’, from the verb fluere ‘to flow’.
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