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The presence of layers with more fine texture and salt compositions (gypsum and mirabilite salt deposits, Fig.
Examples of these minerals are ice, mirabilite, and antarcticite.
When the surface layer of soil dries out in solonchaks that contain sodium sulfate in the soil solution, mirabilite (Na2SO4x10H2O) crystallizes out of solution, causing the soil matrix to swell and the surface layer of the solonchak to become dry and fluffy.
Mirabilite was reported as delicate efflorescences in old drifts in the oxidized zone in the Anaconda-Raven tunnel and the Last Dollar mine (Lindgren and Ransome, 1906).