What is Greywacke?

A. A cocktail made with Champagne, Grey Goose vodka, and olives

B. A soil type with fractured rocky material

C. A style of natural wine made from Pinot Gris

D. A type of vine virus common in cool climates


New Zealand’s most famous soil, greywacke (GRAY wacky) is the mud-gray, hard, fractured, deformed residual rocky material that forms from the decay of sandstone. Greywacke soils have an amazing etiology. They are created as the water from large rivers cascades down the sides of continental shelves, creating turbidity currents and undersea avalanches. The power generated races along the bottom of the ocean for many miles, forming fan-shaped beds of sandy sediments. Over time, these deposits are buried by mud and harden, forming greywacke. The greywacke in New Zealand is largely Mesozoic in age and makes up most of the rock that forms the spine of the Southern Alps. Greywacke is also the principal rock of California’s Sonoma Coast.

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