Desiccation Crack Polygon

Living reference work entry


Drying-induced fractures in a geologic material aligned in a polygonal pattern.



Polygonal pattern outlined by a network of desiccation cracks or fissures developed in fine-grained soil material (El Maarry et al. 2012). They typically intersect at right angles, exhibiting T-junctions (Weinberger 1999*). Their morphology can be 4, 3, 5, and 6 sided (in the order of decreasing abundance); they can be oriented or arcuate (Picard and High 1973, pp. 105–110). Mud shrinkage cracks often have curled rims (Kargel 2004, p. 271) or mud curls formed by peeling (Style et al. 2011). Their morphology is similar to that of thermal contraction crack polygons.


On Earth, desiccation polygons can span different sizes ranging from centimeters, while usually <2 m across...


Clay Depression Shrinkage Shale Silt 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physikalisches Institut, Bern UniveristätBerneSwitzerland