The shrink–swell capacity of clay refers to the extent to which a clay will expand when wet and retract when dry. Soil that is problematic due to high capacity is known as shrink–swell soil, or expansive soil.
Clay groups with a high shrink–swell capacity tend to damage crops during dry spells, as the soil contracts, pulling roots apart. Additionally in wet periods expansion of the clay can lead to ground heave, which can damage the foundations of buildings.
- Nagel, David. "Soil Science for Vegetable Producers." MSU: Coordinated Access to the Research and Extension System. 2001. Mississippi State U. 6 July 2008 http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p1977.htm.
- British Geological Survey http://www.bgs.ac.uk/science/landUseAndDevelopment/shallow_geohazards/shrinking_and_swelling_clays.html
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