Pink Clay

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
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A friend and I were out exploring the new property bought by the state surrounding the Holly farm and I found very recent evidence of surveying along some corner monuments. Aslo while walking through a gravel pit we found some patches of a very odd purplish pink clay. It appeared flaky and at first I thought it might be some kind of lichen growth as it was obviously dry and flaky but upon gigging my hand into it it was wet immediately beneath the surface an obviously clay.I was not in an obvious layer as most clay beds are but seemed to outcrop in patches along the sides of the pit. Has anyone seen clay this color before?>
 

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Spung-Man

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I'll bet @Spung-Man can tell us something about that. :D
Oh, why do you think I might know something about cryoturbated Liesegang banding attendant with nondiastrophic thermokarst involutions generated through permafrost-related gelisol degradation dynamics during Late Pleistocene sub-epoch climate amelioration?

Region capture 6.pngRegion capture 5.png

S-M
 

old jersey girl

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Oh, why do you think I might know something about cryoturbated Liesegang banding attendant with nondiastrophic thermokarst involutions generated through permafrost-related gelisol degradation dynamics during Late Pleistocene sub-epoch climate amelioration?


S-M
But can you say that after a shot and a beer?!
 

manumuskin

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Oh, why do you think I might know something about cryoturbated Liesegang banding attendant with nondiastrophic thermokarst involutions generated through permafrost-related gelisol degradation dynamics during Late Pleistocene sub-epoch climate amelioration?


S-M
I knew you'd come through Spung, now can you anglicize that a wee bit?
 

Spung-Man

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OK,

The thought on Ice Age processes at work here goes something like this. At the end of a cold period during a frozen period—not necessarily the last one—iron (Fe) precipitated-out due to a moisture interphase. That oxidized (rusted) iron accumulated at a place where there was a soil textural change, maybe at something like a frozen/unfrozen boundary. That in layman's terms is how soil scientist Professor Chien-Lu Ping in Alaska suggested to me the described process could have occurred.

An old Professor at Rutgers, soil scientist John Tedrow, noted similar iron-stain banding in the polar deserts of Antarctica, usually just beneath gravels that made up desert pavement.

Manumuskin, you are very observant. The reason why the pink material outcrops in patches may be related to the prior presence of modified frost cracks left over from permafrost, sand wedges that deformed into pocket-shaped gully channels as the ground thawed at the end of a very cold period. The gullies acted as sinks that collected precipitated iron, and they rhythmically outcrop across a pit wall.

The reason the modified-wedge infill pink material is dry and flakey has to do with the former presence of segregated ice lenses. In simplified language, thin layers of ground ice heaved and moved with soil freeze and thaw in cycles. The actual physics involved are more complex than explained, which involves heat flow resulting in moisture migration along a thermodynamic gradient.

Some of the clay-like material may actually be fine silt, windblown desert dust called loess. Now, to test that one you are going to have to do something brave; chew on a plug of the pink stuff. If you don’t feel any grit between your teeth, then it’s clay. If you can feel grit between you teeth, it’s silt. I know my methodology sounds like something from a Cheech & Chong skit, but this really is how it’s done in the field. Besides, eating dirt is good for you; Tedrow lived to 97.

Cheers!
S-M
 

manumuskin

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Thanks! I have chalked my mostly healthy body up to eating copious amounts of dirt as a kind. Always making pit forts in the woods and then eating sammiches with dirty hands was about the same thing. I did not eat the pink dirt but it was very greasy feeling and made a good ball like clay.I"m sure it would drop you if wet and on a slope.Maybe I"ll take a chew next time in that area. I will be going back there for sure
 
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old jersey girl

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OK,

The thought on Ice Age processes at work here goes something like this. At the end of a cold period during a frozen period—not necessarily the last one—iron (Fe) precipitated-out due to a moisture interphase. That oxidized (rusted) iron accumulated at a place where there was a soil textural change, maybe at something like a frozen/unfrozen boundary. That in layman's terms is how soil scientist Professor Chien-Lu Ping in Alaska suggested to me the described process could have occurred.

An old Professor at Rutgers, soil scientist John Tedrow, noted similar iron-stain banding in the polar deserts of Antarctica, usually just beneath gravels that made up desert pavement.

Manumuskin, you are very observant. The reason why the pink material outcrops in patches may be related to the prior presence of modified frost cracks left over from permafrost, sand wedges that deformed into pocket-shaped gully channels as the ground thawed at the end of a very cold period. The gullies acted as sinks that collected precipitated iron, and they rhythmically outcrop across a pit wall.

The reason the modified-wedge infill pink material is dry and flakey has to do with the former presence of segregated ice lenses. In simplified language, thin layers of ground ice heaved and moved with soil freeze and thaw in cycles. The actual physics involved are more complex than explained, which involves heat flow resulting in moisture migration along a thermodynamic gradient.

Some of the clay-like material may actually be fine silt, windblown desert dust called loess. Now, to test that one you are going to have to do something brave; chew on a plug of the pink stuff. If you don’t feel any grit between your teeth, then it’s clay. If you can feel grit between you teeth, it’s silt. I know my methodology sounds like something from a Cheech & Chong skit, but this really is how it’s done in the field. Besides, eating dirt is good for you; Tedrow lived to 97.

Cheers!
S-M
Science is supposed to be precise, and it's common in our culture to assume that means technical--- labs and machines.
But we critters have excellent original equipment available that is also useful, our senses. Taste, smell, hearing, are all good. One of the first things learned in medicine is notice the breath odor of a patient, the sound of their breathing, the color of their skin and eyes. Tibetan healers would obtain a urine sample, whip it into a froth, and smell the foam to make a diagnosis.
Cadaver dogs are more accurate than the best instumentation available.
Keep on tasting dirt.
 
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uuglypher

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Thanks, Manumuskin, for your sharp, discerning eye and for starting this thread. It has, with the patient input and explications by SpungMan devolved into a most informative experience...emphasizing the concept that “the past is prologue”!

Dave
 

amf

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May 20, 2006
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The pink clay is actually fairly widespread across the cumberland county area east of Bridgeton. I came across fairly extensive patches of it doing field work at Cumberland Nurseries on the south side of Rt 49, as well as on the grounds of FCI-Fairton.
Interestingly at Cumberland Nurseries there were two large deposits in broad, shallow depressions that were not apparent at first. After clearing and farming the land these areas quickly became apparent, as they were the only places where water would pond on the farm.
 
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Spung-Man

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Wow Uuglpher, eating pink clay to citing Shakespeare over problems in paleogelisols—hot dog!

AMF, your observation of pink clay collecting in broad, shallow depressions is consistent with my thoughts on the pink stuff's origins. The Aura soil there has likely survived a couple cold episodes so in retrospect the “the past is prologue” is spot on. It's not a very good medium for plant growth, but Cumberland Nurseries is a container pot grower so that is not a limiting factor.

Manumuskin, what beer should I pair dirt with, stout brewed with coffee grounds?

S-M
 
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manumuskin

Piney
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I know some what about dirtand I"d say good old Pine Barrens sugar sand is my favorite dirt on the other hand I know absolutely nothing of beer being an absolute teetoaller from birth that being said I"d have to go with either Birch or Root,.
 
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