GNU Webster's 1913
- Any one of various soils found in arid and semiarid regions, containing an unusual amount of soluble mineral salts which effloresce in the form of powder or crust (usually white) in dry weather following rains or irrigation. The basis of these salts is mainly soda with a smaller amount of potash, and usually a little lime and magnesia. Two main classes of alkali are commonly distinguished: black alkali, which may be any alkaline carbonate, but which practically consists of sodium carbonate (sal soda), which is highly corrosive and destructive to vegetation; and white alkali, characterized by the presence of sodium sulphate (Glauber's salt), which is less injurious to vegetation. Black alkali is so called because water containing it dissolves humus, forming a dark-colored solution which, when it collects in puddles and evaporates, produces characteristic black spots.
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An extract from the "Zold Tolmacs" project, a HU-EN environmental dictionary compiled by Robert Gulyas in 2000.
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