Sunday, April 01, 2007

The fifth season

It's not called Mud season for nothing! Maine produces prize winning blueberries, maple syrup, potatoes, and an abundance of that gooey Springtime mud.
"Tipicditocreps" -- not a disease, but a soil type (a clay) that is widespread in the state. Certain properties of the clay favor production of the stickiest gooiest mud you have ever encountered.
The snow melts too fast for the soil which remains frozen a few inches down. It can't infiltrate and you get -- MUD! Deep, brown, mud - a prize season for every Leonberger.
So far, I have been able to keep them out, but their run is rapidly deteriorating and I can see it coming. Another great reason for no carpets; better get out the hose.

The current understanding is that certain soil particles have a high affinity for liquid water. As the liquid water around them freezes, these soils draw in liquid water from the unfrozen soils around them. If the air temperature is below freezing but relatively stable, the heat of fusion from the water that freezes can cause the temperature gradient in the soil to remain constant. The soil at the point where freezing is occurring continues to draw in liquid water from the soils below it, which then freezes and builds up into an "ice lens". Depending on the soil's affinity for moisture and amount of moisture available, a significant amount of soil displacement can result.

The earliest known documentation of frost heaving came in the 1600s.
Three conditions are generally necessary for frost heaving to occur:

* freezing temperatures
* a supply of water
* a soil that has:
o the ability to conduct water
o a high affinity for water
o saturation (i.e. the pore spaces are filled with water)
We have all three.
There is a video of some of our mud in Betts Blab - your will need flash, click on the picture.
The orange player is not functioning correctly, but if you click the download link, you can hear the podcast without video.

No comments: