More current, loess is material transported and deposited by the action of wind, and consisting predominantly of silt-sized particles.

Loessal deposits are found throughout most of the world and can be quite significant in size, rising as high as 150 feet above the neighboring landscape and continuing for miles in length. The time period for soil deposits of loess is in the tens of thousands of years.

When pronounced correctly, rhymes with 'puss'.

Dirt consisting of extremely fine particles; hence, it is very soft, deep and easily farmed. Worn down to its present state during the ice ages. Hills of it exist along the Missouri river, primarily on its east bank, from Souix city to Hamburg.

Loess is an extremely fertile, yellowish, fine loamy soil of wind-deposited silt. It is often composed of the following mineral components: quartz, feldspar, horneblende, mica, and clay.

The silt is blown in from dry, arid places and may have glacial origins. Thick deposits of loess are found on the east side of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and hill prairies occur on some of these deposits.

The loess carried down from the highlands north of the Tibetan plateau to the North China Plain by the Yellow River (so named because of its color due to the loess) played an important role in the agricultural development of ancient Chinese civilization.


The information in this writeup was taken from the science dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/; I oversaw the development of the dictionary (the website was mothballed in 1998) and I believe I wrote the entry this is based on.

Loess (?), n. [G. loss.] Geol.

A quaternary deposit, usually consisting of a fine yellowish earth, on the banks of the Rhine and other large rivers.

 

© Webster 1913.

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