Location: US California desert

What would cause multiple 1 to 1.5 inch wide cracks, averaging 25 ft apart in asphalt roadway? (not regularly spaced, though)

  • Are the cracks across the roadway, along the roadway or both?
    – Lee Sam
    Nov 25, 2020 at 22:40
  • @Lee Sam Strictly across Nov 25, 2020 at 23:02
  • This happens everywhere when there is no traffic. Nov 26, 2020 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


Normal expansion and contraction. That's what asphalt does. In Minnesota those cracks show up within two years of road resurfacing due to our weather extremes. It is exacerbated by age, where the asphalt has dried and doesn't stretch as well.

  • Would this be worse if the asphalt was poured in the heat of the summer and then shrank in the winter? And then settles in to the smaller size? Nov 25, 2020 at 23:12
  • I have often wondered about that myself, but I can't say for sure.
    – isherwood
    Nov 26, 2020 at 1:12

I believe that the cracks appeared between asphalt pours, i.e., instead of paving one lane, then the other, they paved this road edge-to-edge by the truckload. The successive pours did not blend/bond seamlessly because the new hot pour didn't seam well with the previous cooler pour.

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