Black Soil Plains
The black self-mulching clay of the Moree Basin is constantly on the move. In summer it bakes in the hot sun much like a large chocolate cake. As moisture evaporates in its rich core, cracks open across its surface; form into a network of veins to score its fleshy crust. These cracks can be wide enough to swallow an unwary foot and have been known to go as deep as 60 – 80 feet.
When it rains, the soil swells and the cracks close. A crust of earth will form like icing over the top concealing any evidence of their presence. At times this crust can form before the cracks have fully closed. This can prove perilous for unwary feet and the odd gumboot can be dislodged this way. It can also break an animal/human leg.
With moderate rain, the clay becomes extremely sticky and will build up on the soles of shoes to the point that bare feet can be the only option. If there is enough rain the surface becomes a giant bog ready to engulf a foot half way up to the knee. Cars bog. 4WD’s struggle and or bog, it is wise to stay on gravel or tarred surfaces. Large machinery can go down to their sumps.
These cracks serve as a natural habitat for the local fauna. Insects, mice, reptiles and probably many other creatures use them to shelter from the torments of nature.
The self-mulching action of the soil as it constantly opens and closes airates the earth and renews the top soil as the old surface topples into the deep cracks.
The Moree Plains is a rich mixture of moving, breathing, chocolate earthen cake. Although it may look good I don’t think I’ll take a bite. :)
(c) musicgal2012 Lorelle Press