Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_222


Bluff formation (Mississippi Valley region); Lehm (Alsace, France); Löss (Germany)


Loess is a homogeneous, typically nonstratified, porous, friable, slightly coherent, often calcareous, fine-grained, silty, pale yellow or buff, windblown (aeolian) sediment.

Loess consists mainly of quartz particles predominantly of silt with subordinate grain sizes ranging from clay to fine sand (Muhs and Bettis, 2003; Pye, 1995; Smalley, 1975). It generally occurs as a widespread blanket deposit that covers areas of hundreds of square kilometers and tens of meters thick. Loess covers areas extending from north-central Europe to eastern China as well as the Mississippi Valley and Pacific Northwest of the USA; and the Pampas in South America (Muhs and Bettis, 2003). Loess is generally buff to light yellow or yellowish brown, often contains shells, bones, and teeth of mammals, and is traversed by networks of small narrow vertical tubes (frequently lined with calcium-carbonate...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of PécsPécsHungary