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Geology of The State of Mississippi

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Mississippi has a variety of different soils .The three general soils are 1) the river flood plain, known as the Delta, 2) a loess region, or bands of soils formed in windblown material that adjoins the Delta, and 3) Coastal Plain. The Mississippi Delta is better for growing row crop, while the loess and Coastal Plain region are better for animal production and forestry. The loess and Coastal Plain regions are divided based on similar soils, geology, climate, water resources, and land use called Major Land Resource Areas. The Mississippi Delta’s soil comes from sediments left by flooding various rivers in the region, rather than being a typical Delta formed by the mouth of a river. In the Delta most of the land is farmed, with three-fourths of the cropland to the north. Controlling surface water and drainage are major soil management issues. In the Delta soils are naturally diverse because of their alluvial origin. Particle sizes within the sediment decrease as distance from the originating stream increase. Another factor in Delta soil formation us surface water movement over time, because soils that formed under standing water have different properties than soils formed under moving water. Soils with large amounts of clay particles have unique features. When the soil is dry, small round aggregates form at the surface that look like shotgun buckshot, which is where the popular name for Delta clay soils “buckshot” came from. Soils with large clay content have very slow water filtration rates; this has led to significant aquaculture and rice production in the region. When floodwaters receded in the Delta, strong winds blew some of the dry sediment left by flooded river to the adjacent uplands to form the loess areas. Because of eas...

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