The property possessed by some materials of changing from gel to liquid under shearing stress, e.g. when shaken, and returning to the original state when at rest. Some muds of the smectite group have this property and are useful for flushing boreholes. The change is completely reversible: no change in water content or composition occurs. On a slope the material will flow downwards as long as its velocity is sufficient to maintain minimum shearing stress.
Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.