An underground cable designed to be buried in direct contact with the Earth, rather than housed in a protective conduit. Direct bury cable must be well protected by a watertight jacket, or sheath, and usually by a water blocking gel or a moisture-activated powder that turns into a gel. Direct bury cables also commonly are armored to protect against cable-seeking backhoes and posthole diggers, cable-loving rodents, and other adverse forces of man and nature. The armor may be in the form of lead or lead alloy sheathing, or interlocking aluminum or galvanized steel cladding. See also cladding, icky-pic, and sheath.