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Unstratified, geologically recent deposit of silty or loamy material that is usually buff or yellowish brown and is deposited chiefly by the wind. Loess is a sedimentary deposit composed largely of silt-sized grains that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate. It is usually homogeneous and highly porous and is traversed by vertical capillaries that permit the sediment to fracture and form vertical bluffs.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on loess, visit Britannica.com.