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Vertosols are cracking clay soils that display significant shrinking and swelling during wetting and drying cycles. They exhibit strong cracking when dry, and at depth have slickensides and/or lenticular peds.

Vertosols in the Mallee Region.

This map of Vertosols in the Mallee region has been developed by Jim Rowan and is based on the Land Systems of Victoria (1:250 000). It shows areas where Vertosols are most likely to occur within the region and should only be used as a general indication of their distribution. Please note that other soil types may also occur within these mapped areas. Vertosols may occur in areas not mapped here, however, these are most likely to be minor occurrences.

Photo: Vertosols near Birchip
A Vertosol near Birchip. Note the large cracks in the subsoil.

      Vertosols occur on
      alluvium and associated lake bed deposits, along creeks and rivers as well as on broad low-lying plains in the northern Mallee.
      Numerous scattered broad low-lying plains occur at lower elevations in the northern Mallee. The largest of these are found near Mildura and to the north of Lake Tyrell. The dominant soils here are Grey Vertosols, which are mottled at depth. These soils are thought to have formed from ancient lake deposits, fed by the River Murray system. Profiles are typically gilgaied, coarsely structured, sodic, gypseous and somewhat saline. These features limit suitability for cropping.
      Grey Vertosols are common on alluvium along the creeks and rivers and on the lake bed deposits. These are usually coarsely structured and often non-sodic.
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