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Sample records for desert sand crusts

  1. Effects of sand burial on dew deposition on moss soil crust in a revegetated area of the Tennger Desert, Northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jia, Rong-liang; Li, Xin-rong; Liu, Li-chao; Pan, Yan-xia; Gao, Yan-hong; Wei, Yong-ping

    2014-11-01

    Sand burial and dew deposition are two fundamental phenomena profoundly influencing biological soil crusts in desert areas. However, little information is available regarding the effects of sand burial on dew deposition on biological soil crusts in desert ecosystems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of sand burial at depths of 0 (control), 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mm on dew formation and evaporation of three dominant moss crusts in a revegetated area of the Tengger Desert (Northern China) in 2010. The results revealed that sand burial significantly decreased the amount of dew deposited on the three moss crust types by acting as a semi-insulator retarding the dew formation and evaporation rates. The changes in surface temperature cannot fully explain the variations of the formation and evaporation rates of dew by moss crusts buried by sand. The extension of dew retention time was reflected by the higher dew ratios (the ratio of dew amount at a certain time to the maximum value in a daily course) in the daytime, and may to some extent have acted as compensatory mechanisms that diminished the negative effects of the reduction of dew amount induced by sand burial of moss crusts. The resistances to reduction of dewfall caused by sand burial among the three moss crusts were also compared and it was found that Bryum argenteum crust showed the highest tolerance, followed by crusts dominated by Didymodon vinealis and Syntrichia caninervis. This sequence corresponds well with the successional order of the three moss crusts in the revegetated area, thereby suggesting that resistance to reduction of dewfall may act as one mechanism by which sand burial drives the succession of moss crusts in desert ecosystems. This side effect of dew reduction induced by sand burial on biological soil crusts should be considered in future ecosystem construction and management of desert area.

  2. Effects of sand burial and wind disturbances on moss soil crusts in a revegetated area of the Tennger Desert, Northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jia, R. L.; Li, X. R.; Liu, L. C.; Gao, Y. H.

    2012-04-01

    Sand burial and wind are two predominant natural disturbances in the desert ecosystems worldwide. However, the effects of sand burial and wind disturbances on moss soil crusts are still largely unexplored. In this study, two sets of experiments were conducted separately to evaluated the effects of sand burial (sand depth of 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 mm) and wind blowing (wind speed of 0.2, 3, 6 and 9ms-1) on ecophysiological variables of two moss soil crusts collected from a revegetated area of the Tengger Desert, Northern China. Firstly, the results from the sand burial experiment revealed that respiration rate was significantly decreased and that moss shoot elongation was significantly increased after burial. In addition, Bryum argenteum crust showed the fastest speed of emergence and highest tolerance index, followed by Didymodon vinealis crust. This sequence was consistent with the successional order of the two moss crusts that happened in our study area, indicating that differential sand burial tolerance explains their succession sequence. Secondly, the results from the wind experiment showed that CO2 exchange, PSII photochemical efficiency, photosynthetic pigments, shoot upgrowth, productivity and regeneration potential of the two moss soil crust mentioned above were all substantially depressed. Furthermore, D. vinealis crust exhibited stronger wind resistance than B. argenteum crust from all aspects mentioned above. And this is comparison was identical with their contrasting microhabitats with B. argenteum crust being excluded from higher wind speed microsites in the windward slopes, suggesting that the differential wind resistance of moss soil crusts explains their microdistribution pattern. In conclusion, the ecogeomorphological processes of moss soil crusts in desert ecosystems can be largely determined by natural disturbances caused by sand burial and wind blowing in desert ecosystems.

  3. The effects of extreme rainfall events on carbon release from Biological Soil Crusts covered soil in fixed sand dunes in the Tengger Desert, northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Yang; Li, Xinrong; Pan, Yanxia; Hui, Rong

    2016-04-01

    How soil cover types and extreme rainfall event influence carbon (C) release in temperate desert ecosystems has largely been unexplored. We assessed the effects of extreme rainfall (quantity and intensity) events on the carbon release from soils covered by different types of biological soil crusts (BSCs) in fixed sand dunes in the Tengger Desert, Shapotou regionof northern China. We removed intact crusts down to 10 cm and measured them in PVC mesocosms. A Li-6400-09 Soil Chamber was used to measure the respiration rates of the BSCs immediately after the rainfall stopped, and continued until the respiration rates of the BSCs returned to the pre-rainfall basal rate. Our results showed that almost immediately after extreme rainfall events the respiration rates of algae crust and mixed crust were significantly inhibited, but moss crust was not significantly affected. The respiration rates of algae crust, mixed crust, and moss crust in extreme rainfall quantity and intensity events were, respectively, 0.12 and 0.41 μmolCO2/(m2•s), 0.10 and 0.45 μmolCO2/(m2•s), 0.83 and 1.69 μmolCO2/(m2•s). Our study indicated that moss crust in the advanced succession stage can well adapt to extreme rainfall events in the short term. Keywords: carbon release; extreme rainfall events; biological soil crust

  4. Effects of biological soil crust development on the hydrological behavior of vegetation-stabilized sand dunes in arid desert ecosystems of NW China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coppola, Antonio; Wang, Xinping; Pan, Yan-xia; Basile, Angelo; Comegna, Alessandro

    2014-05-01

    Approximately 24.5% of the Chinese area locates in arid and semi-arid area in northwest China, which has been severely affected by desertification. An experiment to evaluate the effects of dunes fixation by vegetation was carried out at Shapotou in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region at the southeast edge of the Tengger Desert using xerophyte shrubs (Caragana korshinskii, Hedysarum scoparium and Artemisia ordosica) planted in straw checkerboard plots initiated in 1956. The artificially stabilized shrub-covered dunes have strongly enhanced the formation of biotic crusts. Knowing if and how local hydrological processes are altered by desert ecosystems restoration is basic to create vegetation-protective systems that control or cease migration of sand dunes. Accordingly, the main objective of this work was to evaluate the time dynamics of the hydraulic properties and surface infiltration behavior with the general soil formation processes. We compared the soil physical and hydraulic properties, along with infiltration characteristics of soils of vegetated and un-vegetated sand dunes. Finally, by numerically simulating water flow processes naturally occurring in the area, we investigated if the changes in the surface infiltration behavior, local by nature, have consequences on the fluxes deeper in the soil profile Key words: Microbiotic crusts, Hydraulic properties, Sand dune migration, Tension infiltrometer method, Numerical simulations

  5. Microphytic crusts: 'topsoil' of the desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne

    1990-01-01

    Deserts throughout the world are the home of microphytic, or cryptogamic, crusts. These crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria, previously called blue-green algae, and also include lichens, mosses, green algae, microfungi and bacteria. They are critical components of desert ecosystems, significantly modifying the surfaces on which they occur. In the cold deserts of the Colorado Plateau (including parts of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico), these crusts are extraordinarily well-developed, and may represent 70-80% of the living ground cover.

  6. The influence of biological soil crusts on dew deposition in Gurbantunggut Desert, Northwestern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Jing; Zhang, Yuan-ming; Downing, Alison; Cheng, Jun-hui; Zhou, Xiao-bing; Zhang, Bing-chang

    2009-12-01

    SummaryDew is an important source of moisture for plants, biological soil crusts, invertebrates and small vertebrates in desert environments. In this paper, measurements were taken to investigate the effects of three different types of biological soil crusts (cyanobacteria, lichen and moss) and bare sand on dew deposition in the Gurbantunggut Desert. Dew quantities were measured using micro-lysimeters with a diameter of 6 cm and a height of 3.5 cm. The results showed that the total amount of dew deposited increased with the development of soil crusts, from bare sand to cyanobacterial crust to lichen crust to moss crust. The average amount of dew deposited daily on the moss crust was the highest of all and it was significant higher than the other three soil surfaces (lichen crust, cyanobacterial crust and bare sand) ( p < 0.05). During the period of the study, for each type of crust studied, the maximum amount of dew recorded was several times greater than the minimum. Moss crust was characterized by having the greatest amount of dew at dawn and also the maximum amount of dew deposited, whereas bare sand yielded the lowest amount of dew, with lichen crust and cyanobacterial crust exhibiting intermediate values. However, this was not the case for dew duration, as bare sand retained moisture for the longest period of time, followed by cyanobacterial crust, moss crust and finally lichen crust. Dew continued to condense even after sunrise. Furthermore, the differences in dew deposition may be partially attributed to an effect of the biological soil crusts on surface area. This study demonstrates the important effect of biological soil crusts upon dew deposition and may assist in evaluating the role of dew in arid and semi-arid environments.

  7. Microenvironments and microscale productivity of cyanobacterial desert crusts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garcia-Pichel, F.; Belnap, Jayne

    1996-01-01

    We used microsensors to characterize physicochemical microenvironments and photosynthesis occurring immediately after water saturation in two desert soil crusts from southeastern Utah, which were formed by the cyanobacteria Microcoleus vaginatus Gomont, Nostoc spp., and Scytonema sp. The light fields within the crusts presented steep vertical gradients in magnitude and spectral composition. Near-surface light-trapping zones were formed due to the scattering nature of the sand particles, but strong light attenuation resulted in euphotic zones only ca. 1 mm deep, which were progressively enriched in longer wavelengths with depth. Rates of gross photosynthesis (3.4a??9.4 mmol O2A?ma??2A?ha??1) and dark respiration (0.81a??3.1 mmol Oa??2A?ma??2A?ha??1) occurring within 1 to several mm from the surface were high enough to drive the formation of marked oxygen microenvironments that ranged from oxygen supersaturation to anoxia. The photosynthetic activity also resulted in localized pH values in excess of 10, 2a??3 units above the soil pH. Differences in metabolic parameters and community structure between two types of crusts were consistent with a successional pattern, which could be partially explained on the basis of the microenvironments. We discuss the significance of high metabolic rates and the formation of microenvironments for the ecology of desert crusts, as well as the advantages and limitations of microsensor-based methods for crust investigation.

  8. Contrasting effects of microbiotic crusts on runoff in desert surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidron, Giora J.; Monger, H. Curtis; Vonshak, Ahuva; Conrod, William

    2012-02-01

    Microbiotic crusts (MCs) play an important role in surface hydrology by altering runoff yield. In order to study the crust's role on water redistribution, rainfall and runoff were measured during 1998-2000 at three sites within the northern Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA: the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (SEV), the White Sands National Monument (WS), and the Jornada Experimental Range (JER). Whereas quartz and gypsum sand characterize the SEV and WS sites, respectively, both of which have high infiltration rates, silty alluvial deposits characterize the JER site. Runoff was measured in four pairs of 1.8-6.4 m 2 plots having MCs, one of which was scalped in each pair. No runoff was generated at WS, whether on the crusted or the scalped plots. Runoff was however generated at SEV and JER, being higher on the crusted plots at SEV and lower on the JER plots. The results were explained by the combined effect of (a) parent material and (b) the crust properties, such as species composition, microrelief (surface roughness) and exopolysaccharide (EPS) content (reflected in the ratio of carbohydrates to chlorophyll). Whereas the effective rainfall, the fines and the EPS content were found to explain runoff initiation, the effective rainfall and the crust microrelief were found to explain the amount of runoff at SEV and JER where runoff generation took place. The findings attest to the fundamental role of the parent material and the crust's species composition and properties on runoff and hence to the complex interactions and the variable effects that MCs have on dryland hydrology.

  9. Soil stabilization by a prokaryotic desert crust - Implications for Precambrian land biota

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Campbell, S. E.

    1979-01-01

    The ecology of the cyanophyte-dominated stromatolitic mat forming the ground cover over desert areas of Utah and Colorado is investigated and implications for the formation of mature Precambrian soils are discussed. The activation of the growth of the two species of filamentous cyanophyte identified and the mobility of their multiple trichromes upon wetting are observed, accompanied by the production and deposition of a sheath capable of accreting and stabilizing sand and clay particles. The formation of calcium carbonate precipitates upon the repeated wetting and drying of desert crust is noted, and it is suggested that the desert crust community may appear in fossil calcrete deposits as lithified microscopic tubes and cellular remains of algal trichromes. The invasion of dry land by both marine and freshwater algae on the model of the desert crust is proposed to be responsible for the accumulation, stabilization and biogenic modification of mature Precambrian soils.

  10. Soil stabilization by a prokaryotic desert crust - Implications for Precambrian land biota

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Campbell, S. E.

    1979-01-01

    The ecology of the cyanophyte-dominated stromatolitic mat forming the ground cover over desert areas of Utah and Colorado is investigated and implications for the formation of mature Precambrian soils are discussed. The activation of the growth of the two species of filamentous cyanophyte identified and the mobility of their multiple trichromes upon wetting are observed, accompanied by the production and deposition of a sheath capable of accreting and stabilizing sand and clay particles. The formation of calcium carbonate precipitates upon the repeated wetting and drying of desert crust is noted, and it is suggested that the desert crust community may appear in fossil calcrete deposits as lithified microscopic tubes and cellular remains of algal trichromes. The invasion of dry land by both marine and freshwater algae on the model of the desert crust is proposed to be responsible for the accumulation, stabilization and biogenic modification of mature Precambrian soils.

  11. Adsorption of dyes on Sahara desert sand.

    PubMed

    Varlikli, Canan; Bekiari, Vlasoula; Kus, Mahmut; Boduroglu, Numan; Oner, Ilker; Lianos, Panagiotis; Lyberatos, Gerasimos; Icli, Siddik

    2009-10-15

    Sahara desert sand (SaDeS) was employed as a mineral sorbent for retaining organic dyes from aqueous solutions. Natural sand has demonstrated a strong affinity for organic dyes but significantly lost its adsorption capacity when it was washed with water. Therefore, characterization of both natural and water washed sand was performed by XRD, BET, SEM and FTIR techniques. It was found that water-soluble kyanite, which is detected in natural sand, is the dominant factor affecting adsorbance of cationic dyes. The sand adsorbs over 75% of cationic dyes but less than 21% for anionic ones. Among the dyes studied, Methylene Blue (MB) demonstrated the strongest affinity for Sahara desert sand (Q(e)=11.98 mg/g, for initial dye solution concentration 3.5 x 10(-5)mol/L). The effects of initial dye concentration, the amount of the adsorbent, the temperature and the pH of the solution on adsorption capacity were tested by using Methylene Blue as model dye. Pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and intraparticle diffusion models were applied. It was concluded that adsorption of Methylene Blue on Sahara desert sand followed pseudo-second order kinetics. Gibbs free energy, enthalpy change and entropy change were calculated and found -6411 J/mol, -30360 J/mol and -76.58 J/mol K, respectively. These values indicate that the adsorption is an exothermic process and has a spontaneous nature at low temperatures.

  12. Sahara Desert Sand Storm, Mali, Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    In this view of the southern Sahara Desert in Mali, Africa (16.5N, 3.0W), unusually strong surface winds accompanied by an unstable atmosphere produced a large area of blowing sand over western Africa. Between 26 and 29 April, observers in the area noted a dense cloud of sand appeared from out of central Mali and migrated offshore of the African coast near Guinea. Satellite measurements of the extent of the storm was 270, 000 square miles.

  13. Murzuk Sand Sea, Sahara Desert, Libya, Africa

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1993-01-19

    STS054-152-189 (13-19 Jan. 1993) --- This near-vertical color photograph shows the very diverse landscape that is part of the great Sahara Desert of north Africa. Specifically, the vast expanse of sand dunes, located in the extreme southwestern corner of Libya, is known as the Murzuk Sand Sea. Close inspection of this photograph shows the agricultural village of Murzuk as evidenced by the numerous center pivot irrigation patterns at the edge of the Murzuk Sand Sea. The very rugged, dissected terrain to the west of this sand sea is the eastern tip of the Tassili N'ajjer Mountains and the Tadrart Plateau that are in neighboring Algeria. Several smaller areas of sand dunes are interspersed between the major areas of rock outcrops. The photograph was taken with a Linhof camera.

  14. The provenance of Taklamakan desert sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rittner, Martin; Vermeesch, Pieter; Carter, Andrew; Bird, Anna; Stevens, Thomas; Garzanti, Eduardo; Andò, Sergio; Vezzoli, Giovanni; Dutt, Ripul; Xu, Zhiwei; Lu, Huayu

    2016-03-01

    Sand migration in the vast Taklamakan desert within the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, PR China) is governed by two competing transport agents: wind and water, which work in diametrically opposed directions. Net aeolian transport is from northeast to south, while fluvial transport occurs from the south to the north and then west to east at the northern rim, due to a gradual northward slope of the underlying topography. We here present the first comprehensive provenance study of Taklamakan desert sand with the aim to characterise the interplay of these two transport mechanisms and their roles in the formation of the sand sea, and to consider the potential of the Tarim Basin as a contributing source to the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). Our dataset comprises 39 aeolian and fluvial samples, which were characterised by detrital-zircon U-Pb geochronology, heavy-mineral, and bulk-petrography analyses. Although the inter-sample differences of all three datasets are subtle, a multivariate statistical analysis using multidimensional scaling (MDS) clearly shows that Tarim desert sand is most similar in composition to rivers draining the Kunlun Shan (south) and the Pamirs (west), and is distinctly different from sediment sources in the Tian Shan (north). A small set of samples from the Junggar Basin (north of the Tian Shan) yields different detrital compositions and age spectra than anywhere in the Tarim Basin, indicating that aeolian sediment exchange between the two basins is minimal. Although river transport dominates delivery of sand into the Tarim Basin, wind remobilises and reworks the sediment in the central sand sea. Characteristic signatures of main rivers can be traced from entrance into the basin to the terminus of the Tarim River, and those crossing the desert from the south to north can seasonally bypass sediment through the sand sea. Smaller ephemeral rivers from the Kunlun Shan end in the desert and discharge their sediment there. Both river run

  15. The influence of biological soil crusts on successional vegetation patterns in a revegetated desert area in the Tengger Desert, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lei, Huang; Zhi-shan, Zhang; Xin-rong, Li

    2014-05-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are an important cover in arid desert landscapes, and have a profound effect on the soil water redistribution, plant growth and vegetation succession. Although a large number of studies have focused on the single-process of BSCs experimentally, relatively few studies have examined the eco-hydrological mechanisms of BSCs influence on successional vegetation patterns in revegetated desert areas. In this study, based on the long term monitoring and focused research on sand-binding vegetation in the Shapotou region (southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert, China) since the 1950s, the characteristics of plant community and BSCs at different successional stages, and the soil water dynamics were investigated. Then a simplified mathematical model describing the coupled dynamics of soil moisture and vegetation in drylands was developed. And finally the role of BSCs on soil water dynamics and vegetation patterns were discussed. Results have showed that BSCs was closely associated with the vegetation succession, such as in the Caragana korshinskii community, moss crusts were the dominate species and in the Artemisia ordosica community, algae crusts were the dominate species. BSCs had a significant effect on soil water infiltration and it was one of the main driving forces to vegetation pattern formations, as algae crusts would induced the tiger bush stripes and moss crusts would lead to the leopard bush spots in arid ecosystems.

  16. Growth responses of five desert plants as influenced by biological soil crusts from a temperate desert, China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zhang, Yuanming; Belnap, Jayne

    2015-01-01

    In almost all dryland systems, biological soil crusts (biocrusts) coexist alongside herbaceous and woody vegetation, creating landscape mosaics of vegetated and biocrusted patches. Results from past studies on the interaction between biocrusts and vascular plants have been contradictory. In the Gurbantunggut desert, a large temperate desert in northwestern China, well-developed lichen-dominated crusts dominate the areas at the base and between the sand dunes. We examined the influence of these lichen-dominated biocrusts on the germination, growth, biomass accumulation, and elemental content of five common plants in this desert: two shrubs (Haloxylon persicum, Ephedra distachya) and three herbaceous plants (Ceratocarpus arenarius, Malcolmia africana and Lappula semiglabra) under greenhouse conditions. The influence of biocrusts on seed germination was species-specific. Biocrusts did not affect percent germination in plants with smooth seeds, but inhibited germination of seeds with appendages that reduced or eliminated contact with the soil surface or prevented seeds from slipping into soil cracks. Once seeds had germinated, biocrusts had different influences on growth of shrub and herbaceous plants. The presence of biocrusts increased concentrations of nitrogen but did not affect phosphorus or potassium in tissue of all tested species, while the uptake of the other tested nutrients was species-specific. Our study showed that biocrusts can serve as a biological filter during seed germination and also can influence growth and elemental uptake. Therefore, they may be an important trigger for determining desert plant diversity and community composition in deserts.

  17. Effects of artificial sand fixing on community characteristics of a rare desert shrub.

    PubMed

    Liu, Huiliang; Tao, Ye; Qiu, Dong; Zhang, Daoyuan; Zhang, Yongkuan

    2013-10-01

    Eremosparton songoricum (Fabaceae) is a rare, native, clonal small shrub of the deserts of central Asia. Although human activities have greatly fragmented the distribution of E. songoricum, it occurs in areas where artificial sand fixing (AS) has been implemented. We sought to explore whether AS promotes survival and growth of E. songoricum. In the Gurbantunggut Desert of northwestern China in June 2010, we established 10 plots in an area where sand fixing occurred (5-10 years previously) and 11 plots on original sand substrate on which some plants had settled without fixing sand. Sand fixing changed soil properties and biological characteristics in sand-fixed plots. The soil surface where sand fixing occurred was covered by algal crusts and some lichen, but not bare sand (BS). Soil nutrients; water content of deep soil (30-150 cm); overall plant and herbaceous species richness, diversity, abundance, and cover; above- and belowground biomass; and cover, biomass, and height of E. songoricum in the sand-fixed plots were significantly greater than in plots of BS. However, distribution of E. songoricum individuals in the 2 types of plots did not differ. Our results indicate AS may enhance survival of E. songoricum and increase the overall diversity and stability of the desert plant community. We suggest AS as a way to protect this rare desert plant in situ.

  18. Biological Soil Crusts: Webs of Life in the Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne

    2001-01-01

    Although the soil surface may look like dirt to you, it is full of living organisms that are a vital part of desert ecosystems. This veneer of life is called a biological soil crust. These crusts are found throughout the world, from hot deserts to polar regions. Crusts generally cover all soil spaces not occupied by green plants. In many areas, they comprise over 70% of the living ground cover and are key in reducing erosion, increasing water retention, and increasing soil fertility. In most dry regions, these crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria (previously called blue-green algae), which are one of the oldest known life forms. Communities of soil crusts also include lichens, mosses, microfungi, bacteria, and green algae. These living organisms and their by-products create a continuous crust on the soil surface. The general color, surface appearance, and amount of coverage of these crusts vary depending on climate and disturbance patterns. Immature crusts are generally flat and the color of the soil, which makes them difficult to distinguish from bare ground. Mature crusts, in contrast, are usually bumpy and dark-colored due to the presence of lichens, mosses, and high densities of cyanobacteria and other organisms.

  19. Provenance and recycling of Arabian desert sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garzanti, Eduardo; Vermeesch, Pieter; Andò, Sergio; Vezzoli, Giovanni; Valagussa, Manuel; Allen, Kate; Kadi, Khalid A.; Al-Juboury, Ali I. A.

    2013-05-01

    This study seeks to determine the ultimate origin of aeolian sand in Arabian deserts by high-resolution petrographic and heavy-mineral techniques combined with zircon U-Pb geochronology. Point-counting is used here as the sole method by which unbiased volume percentages of heavy minerals can be obtained. A comprehensive analysis of river and wadi sands from the Red Sea to the Bitlis-Zagros orogen allowed us to characterize all potential sediment sources, and thus to quantitatively constrain provenance of Arabian dune fields. Two main types of aeolian sand can be distinguished. Quartzose sands with very poor heavy-mineral suites including zircon occupy most of the region comprising the Great Nafud and Rub' al-Khali Sand Seas, and are largely recycled from thick Lower Palaeozoic quartzarenites with very minor first-cycle contributions from Precambrian basement, Mesozoic carbonate rocks, or Neogene basalts. Instead, carbonaticlastic sands with richer lithic and heavy-mineral populations characterize coastal dunes bordering the Arabian Gulf from the Jafurah Sand Sea of Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates. The similarity with detritus carried by the axial Tigris-Euphrates system and by transverse rivers draining carbonate rocks of the Zagros indicates that Arabian coastal dunes largely consist of far-travelled sand, deposited on the exposed floor of the Gulf during Pleistocene lowstands and blown inland by dominant Shamal northerly winds. A dataset of detrital zircon U-Pb ages measured on twelve dune samples and two Lower Palaeozoic sandstones yielded fourteen identical age spectra. The age distributions all show a major Neoproterozoic peak corresponding to the Pan-African magmatic and tectonic events by which the Arabian Shield was assembled, with minor late Palaeoproterozoic and Neoarchean peaks. A similar U-Pb signature characterizes also Jafurah dune sands, suggesting that zircons are dominantly derived from interior Arabia, possibly deflated from the Wadi al

  20. Properties of Desert Sand and CMAS Glass

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bansal, Narottam P.; Choi, Sung R.

    2014-01-01

    As-received desert sand from a Middle East country has been characterized for its phase composition and thermal stability. X-ray diffraction analysis showed the presence of quartz (SiO2), calcite (CaCO3), gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), and NaAlSi3O8 phases in as-received desert sand and showed weight loss of approx. 35 percent due to decomposition of CaCO3 and CaSO4.2H2O when heated to 1400 C. A batch of as-received desert sand was melted into calcium magnesium aluminosilicate (CMAS) glass at approx. 1500 C. From inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry, chemical composition of the CMAS glass was analyzed to be 27.8CaO-4MgO-5Al2O3-61.6SiO2-0.6Fe2O3-1K2O (mole percent). Various physical, thermal and mechanical properties of the glass have been evaluated. Bulk density of CMAS glass was 2.69 g/cc, Young's modulus 92 GPa, Shear modulus 36 GPa, Poisson's ratio 0.28, dilatometric glass transition temperature (T (sub g)) 706 C, softening point (T (sub d)) 764 C, Vickers microhardness 6.3 +/- 0.4 GPa, indentation fracture toughness 0.75 +/- 0.15 MPa.m (sup 1/2), and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) 9.8 x 10 (exp -6)/degC in the temperature range 25 to 700 C. Temperature dependence of viscosity has also been estimated from various reference points of the CMAS glass using the Vogel-Fulcher-Tamman (VFT) equation. The glass remained amorphous after heat treating at 850 C for 10 hr but crystallized into CaSiO3 and Ca-Mg-Al silicate phases at 900 C or higher temperatures. Crystallization kinetics of the CMAS glass has also been investigated by differential thermal analysis (DTA). Activation energies for the crystallization of two different phases in the glass were calculated to be 403 and 483 kJ/mol, respectively.

  1. An easily reversible structural change underlies mechanisms enabling desert crust cyanobacteria to survive desiccation.

    PubMed

    Bar-Eyal, Leeat; Eisenberg, Ido; Faust, Adam; Raanan, Hagai; Nevo, Reinat; Rappaport, Fabrice; Krieger-Liszkay, Anja; Sétif, Pierre; Thurotte, Adrien; Reich, Ziv; Kaplan, Aaron; Ohad, Itzhak; Paltiel, Yossi; Keren, Nir

    2015-10-01

    Biological desert sand crusts are the foundation of desert ecosystems, stabilizing the sands and allowing colonization by higher order organisms. The first colonizers of the desert sands are cyanobacteria. Facing the harsh conditions of the desert, these organisms must withstand frequent desiccation-hydration cycles, combined with high light intensities. Here, we characterize structural and functional modifications to the photosynthetic apparatus that enable a cyanobacterium, Leptolyngbya sp., to thrive under these conditions. Using multiple in vivo spectroscopic and imaging techniques, we identified two complementary mechanisms for dissipating absorbed energy in the desiccated state. The first mechanism involves the reorganization of the phycobilisome antenna system, increasing excitonic coupling between antenna components. This provides better energy dissipation in the antenna rather than directed exciton transfer to the reaction center. The second mechanism is driven by constriction of the thylakoid lumen which limits diffusion of plastocyanin to P700. The accumulation of P700(+) not only prevents light-induced charge separation but also efficiently quenches excitation energy. These protection mechanisms employ existing components of the photosynthetic apparatus, forming two distinct functional modes. Small changes in the structure of the thylakoid membranes are sufficient for quenching of all absorbed energy in the desiccated state, protecting the photosynthetic apparatus from photoinhibitory damage. These changes can be easily reversed upon rehydration, returning the system to its high photosynthetic quantum efficiency.

  2. Biological soil crusts as an integral component of desert environments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Weber, Bettina

    2013-01-01

    The biology and ecology of biological soil crusts, a soil surface community of mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, green algae, fungi, and bacteria, have only recently been a topic of research. Most efforts began in the western U.S. (Cameron, Harper, Rushforth, and St. Clair), Australia (Rogers), and Israel (Friedmann, Evenari, and Lange) in the late 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Friedmann et al. 1967; Evenari 1985reviewed in Harper and Marble 1988). However, these groups worked independently of each other and, in fact, were often not aware of each other’s work. In addition, biological soil crust communities were seen as more a novelty than a critical component of dryland ecosystems. Since then, researchers have investigated many different aspects of these communities and have shown that although small to microscopic, biological soil crusts are critical in many ecological processes of deserts. They often cover most of desert soil surfaces and substantially mediate inputs and outputs from desert soils (Belnap et al. 2003). They can be a large source of biodiversity for deserts, as they can contain more species than the surrounding vascular plant community (Rosentreter 1986). These communities are important in reducing soil erosion and increasing soil fertility through the capture of dust and the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen and carbon into forms available to other life forms (Elbert et al. 2012). Because of their many effects on soil characteristics, such as external and internal morphological characteristics, aggregate stability, soil moisture, and permeability, they also affect seed germination and establishment and local hydrological cycles. Covering up to 70% of the surface area in many arid and semi-arid regions around the world (Belnap and Lange 2003), biological soil crusts are a key component within desert environments.

  3. Control of Lunar and Martian DustExperimental Insights from Artificial and Natural Cyanobacterial and Algal Crusts in the Desert of Inner Mongolia, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yongding; Cockell, Charles S.; Wang, Gaohong; Hu, Chunxiang; Chen, Lanzhou; De Philippis, Roberto

    2008-02-01

    Studies on the colonization of environmentally extreme ground surfaces were conducted in a Mars-like desert area of Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China, with microalgae and cyanobacteria. We collected and mass-cultured cyanobacterial strains from these regions and investigated their ability to form desert crusts artificially. These crusts had the capacity to resist sand wind erosion after just 15 days of growth. Similar to the surface of some Chinese deserts, the surface of Mars is characterized by a layer of fine dust, which will challenge future human exploration activities, particularly in confined spaces that will include greenhouses and habitats. We discuss the use of such crusts for the local control of desert sands in enclosed spaces on Mars. These experiments suggest innovative new directions in the applied use of microbe-mineral interactions to advance the human exploration and settlement of space.

  4. Control of Lunar and Martian dust--experimental insights from artificial and natural cyanobacterial and algal crusts in the desert of Inner Mongolia, China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yongding; Cockell, Charles S; Wang, Gaohong; Hu, Chunxiang; Chen, Lanzhou; De Philippis, Roberto

    2008-02-01

    Studies on the colonization of environmentally extreme ground surfaces were conducted in a Mars-like desert area of Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China, with microalgae and cyanobacteria. We collected and mass-cultured cyanobacterial strains from these regions and investigated their ability to form desert crusts artificially. These crusts had the capacity to resist sand wind erosion after just 15 days of growth. Similar to the surface of some Chinese deserts, the surface of Mars is characterized by a layer of fine dust, which will challenge future human exploration activities, particularly in confined spaces that will include greenhouses and habitats. We discuss the use of such crusts for the local control of desert sands in enclosed spaces on Mars. These experiments suggest innovative new directions in the applied use of microbe-mineral interactions to advance the human exploration and settlement of space.

  5. Impacts of off-road vehicles on nitrogen cycles in biological soil crusts: Resistance in different U.S. deserts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.

    2002-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are an important component of desert ecosystems, as they influence soil stability and fertility. This study examined and compared the short-term vehicular impacts on lichen cover and nitrogenase activity (NA) of biological soil crusts. Experimental disturbance was applied to different types of soil in regions throughout the western U.S. (Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts). Results show that pre-disturbance cover of soil lichens is significantly correlated with the silt content of soils, and negatively correlated with sand and clay. While disturbance appeared to reduce NA at all sites, differences were statistically significant at only 12 of the 26 sites. Cool desert sites showed a greater decline than hot desert sites, which may indicate non-heterocystic cyanobacterial species are more susceptible to disturbance than non-heterocystic species. Sandy soils showed greater reduction of NA as sand content increased, while fine-textured soils showed a greater decline as sand content increased. At all sites, higher NA before the disturbance resulted in less impact to NA post-disturbance. These results may be useful in predicting the impacts of off-road vehicles in different regions and different soils. ?? 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

  6. Activation of Photosynthesis and Resistance to Photoinhibition in Cyanobacteria within Biological Desert Crust1[w

    PubMed Central

    Harel, Yariv; Ohad, Itzhak; Kaplan, Aaron

    2004-01-01

    Filamentous cyanobacteria are the main primary producers in biological desert sand crusts. The cells are exposed to extreme environmental conditions including temperature, light, and diurnal desiccation/rehydration cycles. We have studied the kinetics of activation of photosynthesis during rehydration of the cyanobacteria, primarily Microcoleus sp., within crust samples collected in the Negev desert, Israel. We also investigated their susceptibility to photoinhibition. Activation of the photosynthetic apparatus, measured by fluorescence kinetics, thermoluminescence, and low temperature fluorescence emission spectra, did not require de novo protein synthesis. Over 50% of the photosystem II (PSII) activity, assembled phycobilisomes, and photosystem I (PSI) antennae were detected within less than 5 min of rehydration. Energy transfer to PSII and PSI by the respective antennae was fully established within 10 to 20 min of rehydration. The activation of a fraction of PSII population (about 20%–30%) was light and temperature-dependent but did not require electron flow to plastoquinone [was not inhibited by 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea]. The cyanobacteria within the crusts are remarkably resistant to photoinhibition even in the absence of protein synthesis. The rate of PSII repair increased with light intensity and with time of exposure. Consequently, the extent of photoinhibition in high-light-exposed crusts reached a constant, relatively low, level. This is in contrast to model organisms such as Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 where PSII activity declined continuously over the entire exposure to high illumination. Ability of the crust's organisms to rapidly activate photosynthesis upon rehydration and withstand photoinhibition under high light intensity may partly explain their ability to survive in this ecosystem. PMID:15466226

  7. [Crust development and subsurface soil properties under dominant shrubs in the process of dune restoration, Horqin Sand Land].

    PubMed

    Guo, Yi-rui; Zhao, Ha-lin; Zuo, Xiao-an; Li, Yu-Lin; Huang, Yin-xin; Wang, Shao-kun

    2008-04-01

    Soil crust is a common and widespread phenomenon in desert areas all over the world due to its extraordinary ability to survive desiccation and extreme temperatures, high pH and salinity. Despite its unassuming appearance, biological soil crusts play a significant role in desert ecosystems, including involvement in the process of formation, stability and fertility of soil, preventing soil erosion by water or wind, increasing the possibility of vascular plant colonization, and being responsible for the stabilization of sand dunes. This study taking Horqin Sand Land as research region, by field sampling, crust and topsoil (0-2.5 cm and 2.5-5 cm under crust) samples in different dune habitats and shrub communities were collected, and their physicochemical properties were analyzed, including particle size distribution, bulk density, total nutrients and available nutrients, pH, EC and CaCO3 content. The result revealed that Artemisia halodendron in semi-mobile dune, Caragana microphylla in semi-fix dune, Artemisia frigida in fix dune and Salix microstachya in interdunal lowland were respectively developed physical soil crust, algae crust, lichen crust and moss crust. Crust thickness, hardness, water content, fine fraction, total and available nutrients gradually increased by semi-mobile dune < semi-fix dune < fix dune < interdunal lowland in terms of different dune habitats, and by physical soil crust < algae crust < lichen crust < moss crust in terms of different crust types. There were significant differences among crust types on nutrient content and particle size distribution (p < 0.01). Meanwhile, crust enhanced the < 0.05 mm content and nutrient content of topsoil, following an increasing trend from semi-mobile dune to interdunal lowland. As to each crust, the parameters of 0-2.5 cm subsurface soil layer were higher than that in 2.5-5 cm soil layer. The result also showed that the fine fraction and nutrient content of moss crust under Salix microstachya in

  8. Complexity confers stability: Climate variability, vegetation response and sand transport on longitudinal sand dunes in Australia's deserts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hesse, Paul P.; Telfer, Matt W.; Farebrother, Will

    2017-04-01

    The relationship between antecedent precipitation, vegetation cover and sand movement on sand dunes in the Simpson and Strzelecki Deserts was investigated by repeated (up to four) surveys of dune crest plots (≈25 × 25 m) over a drought cycle (2002-2012) in both winter (low wind) and spring (high wind). Vegetation varied dramatically between surveys on vegetated and active dune crests. Indices of sand movement had significant correlations with vegetation cover: the depth of loose sand has a strong inverse relationship with crust (cyanobacterial and/or physical) while the area covered by ripples has a strong inverse relationship with the areal cover of vascular plants. However, the relationship between antecedent rainfall and vegetation cover was found to be complex. We tentatively identify two thresholds; (1) >10 mm of rainfall in the preceding 90 days leads to rapid and near total cover of crust and/or small plants <50 cm tall, and (2) >400 mm of rainfall in the preceding three years leads to higher cover of persistent and longer-lived plants >50 cm tall. These thresholds were used to predict days of low vegetation cover on dune crests. The combination of seasonality of predicted bare-crest days, potential sand drift and resultant sand drift direction explains observed patterns of sand drift on these dunes. The complex vegetation and highly variable rainfall regime confer meta-stability on the dunes through the range of responses to different intervals of antecedent rainfall and non-linear growth responses. This suggests that the geomorphic response of dunes to climate variation is complex and non-linear.

  9. Effects of altered temperature and precipitation on desert protozoa associated with biological soil crusts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Darby, B.J.; Housman, D.C.; Zaki, A.M.; Shamout, Y.; Adl, S.M.; Belnap, J.; Neher, D.A.

    2006-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are diverse assemblages of bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and mosses that cover much of arid land soils. The objective of this study was to quantify protozoa associated with biological soil crusts and test the response of protozoa to increased temperature and precipitation as is predicted by some global climate models. Protozoa were more abundant when associated with cyanobacteria/lichen crusts than with cyanobacteria crusts alone. Amoebae, flagellates, and ciliates originating from the Colorado Plateau desert (cool desert, primarily winter precipitation) declined 50-, 10-, and 100-fold, respectively, when moved in field mesocosms to the Chihuahuan Desert (hot desert, primarily summer rain). However, this was not observed in protozoa collected from the Chihuahuan Desert and moved to the Sonoran desert (hot desert, also summer rain, but warmer than Chihuahuan Desert). Protozoa in culture began to encyst at 37??C. Cysts survived the upper end of daily temperatures (37-55??C), and could be stimulated to excyst if temperatures were reduced to 15??C or lower. Results from this study suggest that cool desert protozoa are influenced negatively by increased summer precipitation during excessive summer temperatures, and that desert protozoa may be adapted to a specific desert's temperature and precipitation regime. ?? 2006 by the International Society of Protistologists.

  10. Seed Mucilage Improves Seedling Emergence of a Sand Desert Shrub

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Xuejun; Baskin, Carol C.; Baskin, Jerry M.; Liu, Guangzheng; Huang, Zhenying

    2012-01-01

    The success of seedling establishment of desert plants is determined by seedling emergence response to an unpredictable precipitation regime. Sand burial is a crucial and frequent environmental stress that impacts seedling establishment on sand dunes. However, little is known about the ecological role of seed mucilage in seedling emergence in arid sandy environments. We hypothesized that seed mucilage enhances seedling emergence in a low precipitation regime and under conditions of sand burial. In a greenhouse experiment, two types of Artemisia sphaerocephala achenes (intact and demucilaged) were exposed to different combinations of burial depth (0, 5, 10, 20, 40 and 60 mm) and irrigation regimes (low, medium and high, which simulated the precipitation amount and frequency in May, June and July in the natural habitat, respectively). Seedling emergence increased with increasing irrigation. It was highest at 5 mm sand burial depth and ceased at burial depths greater than 20 mm in all irrigation regimes. Mucilage significantly enhanced seedling emergence at 0, 5 and 10 mm burial depths in low irrigation, at 0 and 5 mm burial depths in medium irrigation and at 0 and 10 mm burial depths in high irrigation. Seed mucilage also reduced seedling mortality at the shallow sand burial depths. Moreover, mucilage significantly affected seedling emergence time and quiescence and dormancy percentages. Our findings suggest that seed mucilage plays an ecologically important role in successful seedling establishment of A. sphaerocephala by improving seedling emergence and reducing seedling mortality in stressful habitats of the sandy desert environment. PMID:22511952

  11. An Investigation into the Processes and Quantity of Dust Emissions over Gravel and Sand Deserts in North-Western China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhengcai; Dong, Zhibao; Qian, Guangqian; Wu, Guoxi; Cui, Xujia

    2017-01-01

    Year-long field observations have shown that there are spatial and temporal variations in the quantity of dust emissions for particulate matter {<} 10 μm (PM10), particulate matter {<} 63 μm (PM63) and vertical dust flux over different gravel surfaces (with loose sand, without loose sand, with a crust, and without a crust), with the greatest emissions occurring in the spring. The largest quantity of PM10 and PM63 emissions occurred over gravel with a loose sand surface (1.1 × 10^{-3} and 10.2 × 10^{-3} kg m^{-1} day^{-1} , respectively). The gravel surface without loose sand and without a crust presents the lowest values of PM63 (1.6 × 10^{-3} kg m^{-1} day^{-1} ) and PM10 (3.3 × 10^{-4}{ kg m^{-1} day^{-1} ). However, the vertical dust flux was largest at over sandy surface (373 × 10^{-3} kg m^{-2} day^{-1} ). Multivariate correlation analysis indicates that the quantity of PM10 is strongly negatively correlated to gravel coverage (R^{2 }= 0.55 ). The quantity of PM10 dust emissions over a gravel surface with loose sand is approximately three times greater than that of a gravel surface with a crust. The mean quantity of PM10, PM63 and vertical dust flux over a gravel surface decreased with increasing gravel coverage. By comparing the quantity of PM10 dust emissions over gravel and sandy deserts, we found that gravel deserts and sandy deserts are both major sources of dust for dust storms in this region.

  12. An Investigation into the Processes and Quantity of Dust Emissions over Gravel and Sand Deserts in North-Western China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhengcai; Dong, Zhibao; Qian, Guangqian; Wu, Guoxi; Cui, Xujia

    2017-06-01

    Year-long field observations have shown that there are spatial and temporal variations in the quantity of dust emissions for particulate matter {<}10 μm (PM10), particulate matter {<}63 μm (PM63) and vertical dust flux over different gravel surfaces (with loose sand, without loose sand, with a crust, and without a crust), with the greatest emissions occurring in the spring. The largest quantity of PM10 and PM63 emissions occurred over gravel with a loose sand surface (1.1 × 10^{-3} and 10.2 × 10^{-3} kg m^{-1} day^{-1}, respectively). The gravel surface without loose sand and without a crust presents the lowest values of PM63 (1.6 × 10^{-3} kg m^{-1} day^{-1}) and PM10 (3.3 × 10^{-4} kg m^{-1} day^{-1}). However, the vertical dust flux was largest at over sandy surface (373 × 10^{-3 } kg m^{-2} day^{-1}). Multivariate correlation analysis indicates that the quantity of PM10 is strongly negatively correlated to gravel coverage (R^{2 }= 0.55). The quantity of PM10 dust emissions over a gravel surface with loose sand is approximately three times greater than that of a gravel surface with a crust. The mean quantity of PM10, PM63 and vertical dust flux over a gravel surface decreased with increasing gravel coverage. By comparing the quantity of PM10 dust emissions over gravel and sandy deserts, we found that gravel deserts and sandy deserts are both major sources of dust for dust storms in this region.

  13. Role of biological soil crusts in desert hydrology and geomorphology: Implications for military training operations

    Treesearch

    Steven D. Warren

    2014-01-01

    Biological soil crusts, composed of soil surfaces stabilized by a consortium of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and/or bryophytes, are common in most deserts and perform functions of primary productivity, nitrogen fixation, nutrient cycling, water redistribution, and soil stabilization. The crusts are highly susceptible to disturbance. The degree of perturbation...

  14. Hydrological behaviour of microbiotic crusts on sand dunes of NW China: Experimental evidences and numerical simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Xin Ping; Tedeschi, Anna; Orefice, Nadia; de Mascellis, Roberto; Menenti, Massimo

    2010-05-01

    Large ecological engineering projects were established to reduce and combat the hazards of sandstorms and desertification in northern China. An experiment to evaluate the effects of dunes stabilization by vegetation was carried out at Shapotou in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region at the southeast edge of the Tengger Desert using xerophyte shrubs (Caragana korshinskii, Hedysarum scoparium and Artemisia ordosica) planted in straw checkerboard plots in 1956, 1964, 1981, 1987, 1998, and 2002. The fixed sand surface led to the formation of biotic soil crusts. Biotic crusts formed at the soil surface in the interspaces between shrubs and contribute to stabilization of soil surfaces. Previous results on the area have showed that: i) straw checkerboards enhance the capacity of the dune system to trap dust, leading to the accumulation of soil organic matter and nutrients; ii) the longer the period of dune stabilization, the greater the soil clay content in the shallow soil profile (0-5 cm), and greater the fractal dimension of soil particle size distribution. Benefit apart, one should be aware that the formation of a crusted layer at the soil surface is generally characterized by an altered pore-size distribution, with a frequent decrease of hydraulic conductivity which can induce changes of the water regime of the whole soil profile. Accordingly, the main objective of the paper is to evaluate the equivalent (from a hydraulic point of view) geometry of the crusted layer and to verify if the specific characteristics of the crusted soil layer, although local by nature, affect the hydrological behaviour of the whole soil profile. In fact, it is expected that, due to the formation of an upper, impeding soil layer, the lower soil layers do not reach saturation. Such behaviour has important consequences on both water flow and storages in soils. The final aim will be to understand how the crust at the surface of the artificially stabilized sand dune affects the infiltration capacity

  15. Acid fog Deposition of Crusts on Basaltic Tephra Deposits in the Sand Wash Region of Kilauea Volcano: A Possible Mechanism for Siliceous-Sulfatic Crusts on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schiffman, P.; Zierenberg, R.; Marks, N.; Bishop, J. L.

    2004-12-01

    Although the presence of sulfate minerals in martian outcrops may imply the prior existence of standing bodies of surface water, in terrestrial volcanic settings, sulfatic alteration may also occur above the water table within the vadose zone. On the summit of Kilauea volcano, sulfur dioxide, which is continuously emitted from Halemaumau crater and rapidly sequestered into sulfuric acid-rich aerosol entrained in the prevailing trade winds, is subsequently precipitated as acid-fog immediately downwind from the caldera in the Kau Desert. The characteristic pH of surface tephra deposits is < 4.0 in Sand Wash, a region of continuous, acidic aerosol fall-out immediately SW of the caldera. The upper portion of the Keanakakoi Ash tephra in Sand Wash, deposited in the late 18th century, has a ubiquitous, 0.1-0.2 mm-thick coating of amorphous silica. Conversely, vertical walls of unconsolidated tephra, exposed within small, dry gullies eroded into the ca. 3-4 m-thick Keanakakoi section at Sand Wash, are coated with ca. 0.5-1.0 mm-thick, mixed amorphous silica and jarosite-bearing crusts. Since these crusts are denuded from their outcrops during ephemeral, but probably annual flooding events in Sand Wash, we believe that they must accumulate rapidly. These crusts are apparently formed via an evaporative mechanism whereby acidic pore fluids, circulating in the upper few m's within the highly porous tephra, are wicked towards the walls of the gullies. Geochemical modeling of the crust-forming process implies that the sulfate formation via evaporation occurs subsequent to minimal interaction of acidic pore fluids with the basaltic tephra. This also suggests that the cycle from acid-fog fall-out to precipitation of the siliceous-sulfatic crusts must occur quite rapidly. Production of siliceous-sulfatic crusts via acid-fog alteration may also be occurring on Mars. The occurrence of evaporitic sulfate and silica at Sand Wash in Kilauea may serve as an example of how the jarosite

  16. Biological soil crust as a bio-mediator alters hydrological processes in stabilized dune system of the Tengger Desert, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Xinrong

    2016-04-01

    Biological soil crust (BSC) is a vital component in the stabilized sand dunes with a living cover up to more than 70% of the total, which has been considered as a bio-mediator that directly influences and regulates the sand dune ecosystem processes. However, its influences on soil hydrological processes have been long neglected in Chinese deserts. In this study, BSCs of different successional stages were chose to test their influence on the hydrological processes of stabilized dune, where the groundwater deep exceeds 30m, further to explore why occur the sand-binding vegetation replacement between shrubs and herbs. Our long-term observation (60 years) shows that cyanobacteria crust has been colonized and developed after 3 years since the sand-binding vegetation has been established and dune fixation using planted xerophytic shrubs and made sand barrier (straw-checkerboard) on shifting dune surface, lichen and moss crust occurred after 20 years, and the cover of moss dominated crust could reach 70 % after 50 years. The colonization and development of BSC altered the initial soil water balance of revegetated areas by influencing rainfall infiltration, soil evaporation and dew water entrapment. The results show that BSC obviously reduced the infiltration that occurred during most rainfall events (80%), when rainfall was greater than 5 mm or less than 20 mm. The presence of BSC reduced evaporation of topsoil after small rainfall (<5 mm) because its high proportion of finer particles slowed the evaporation rate, thus keeping the water in the soil surface longer, and crust facilitated topsoil evaporation when rainfall reached 10 mm. The amount of dew entrapment increases with the succession of BSC. Moreover, the effect of the later successional BSC to dew entrapment, rainfall infiltration and evaporation was more obvious than the early successional BSC on stabilized dunes. In general, BSC reduced the amount of rainfall water that reached deeper soil (0.4-3m), which is

  17. Development of bacterial communities in biological soil crusts along a revegetation chronosequence in the Tengger Desert, northwest China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Lichao; Liu, Yubing; Zhang, Peng; Song, Guang; Hui, Rong; Wang, Zengru; Wang, Jin

    2017-08-01

    Knowledge of structure and function of microbial communities in different successional stages of biological soil crusts (BSCs) is still scarce for desert areas. In this study, Illumina MiSeq sequencing was used to assess the compositional changes of bacterial communities in different ages of BSCs in the revegetation of Shapotou in the Tengger Desert. The most dominant phyla of bacterial communities shifted with the changed types of BSCs in the successional stages, from Firmicutes in mobile sand and physical crusts to Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria in BSCs, and the most dominant genera shifted from Bacillus, Enterococcus and Lactococcus to RB41_norank and JG34-KF-361_norank. Alpha diversity and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis indicated that bacterial richness and abundance reached their highest levels after 15 years of BSC development. Redundancy analysis showed that silt + clay content and total K were the prime determinants of the bacterial communities of BSCs. The results suggested that bacterial communities of BSCs recovered quickly with the improved soil physicochemical properties in the early stages of BSC succession. Changes in the bacterial community structure may be an important indicator in the biogeochemical cycling and nutrient storage in early successional stages of BSCs in desert ecosystems.

  18. Nitrogen photoreduction on desert sands under sterile conditions

    PubMed Central

    Schrauzer, Gerhard N.; Strampach, Norman; Hui, Liu Nan; Palmer, Miles R.; Salehi, Jahanshah

    1983-01-01

    Sands from various geographic locations reduce N2 from the air to NH3 and traces of N2H4 on exposure to sunlight. This N2 photofixation occurs under sterile conditions on the surface of finely dispersed titanium minerals such as rutile, utilizing reducing equivalents generated through the photolysis of chemisorbed H2O. Abiological N2 photofixation is suggested to be part of the nitrogen cycle in arid and semiarid regions. It is estimated that about 10 × 105 tons of N2 is photoreduced on the total surface of the earth's deserts per year. PMID:16593330

  19. [Greenhouse gases fluxes of biological soil crusts and soil ecosystem in the artificial sand-fixing vegetation region in Shapotou area].

    PubMed

    Hu, Yi-Gang; Feng, Yu-Lan; Zhang, Zhi-Shan; Huang, Lei; Zhang, Peng; Xu, Bing-Xin

    2014-01-01

    Uncertainties still existed for evaluating greenhouse gases fluxes (GHGs), including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) at the regional scale for desert ecosystem because available GHGs data about biological soil crusts (BSCs) was very scarce. In 2011 and 2012, soil ecosystem covered by various types of BSCs and BSCs at different succession stages in an artificial sand-fixing vegetation region established in various periods at southeast of the Shapotou area in Tengger Desert was selected to measure fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O using static chamber and gas chromatography. The results showed that curst type, recovery time and their interactions with sampling date significantly affected CO2 flux. Recovery time and interaction of crust type and sampling date significantly affected CH4 flux. Sampling date significantly affected the fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O. The mean annual flux of CO2 for moss crust (105.1 mg x m(-2) x h(-1)) was significantly higher than that of algae crust (37.7 mg x m(-2) x h(-1)) at the same succession stage. Annual mean CH4 and N2O consumption was 19.9 and 3.4 microg x m(-2) x h(-1), respectively. Mean annual consumption of CH4 and N2O for algae crust was slightly higher than that of moss crust, however, significant difference was not found. Ecosystem respiration (Re) of desert soil covered by BSCs increased with the recovery process of desert ecosystem, in contrast, consumption of CH4 and N2O decreased. Re of moss crust was more sensitive to temperature and moisture variation than algae crust and Re sensitivity of temperature and moisture gradually increased with the development and succession of BSCs. Both soil temperature and moisture were not the main factor to determine CH4 and N2O fluxes of BSCs-soil in desert ecosystem.

  20. Increasing of Mechanical Parameters of Desert Sand Using Pozzolanic Materia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahdi Sajjadi, Seyed; Fakhraldin Sajjadi, Seyed; Beheshti, Seyed Mohammad; Mehmannavaz, Taha

    2016-04-01

    Research on roads to increase the resistance of weak soils to build structures on it has been increased in recent years. The present article provide the effects of different mixtures containing microsilica, cement, polypropylene waste fiber and dune sand on mechanical parameters such as, compressibility, compressive strength, bending strength and durability characteristic. In this study also is investigated evaluation the effect of road subgrade based on proposed material. The used dune sand in this research was obtained from Kashan city where is located in central desert of Iran. The obtained results show that the microsilica and cement could play a major role in reducing the cost and required time for building roads and also building foundation on these types of soils.

  1. Impact of biological soil crusts and desert plants on soil microfaunal community composition

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Darby, B.J.; Neher, D.A.; Belnap, J.

    2010-01-01

    Carbon and nitrogen are supplied by a variety of sources in the desert food web; both vascular and non-vascular plants and cyanobacteria supply carbon, and cyanobacteria and plant-associated rhizosphere bacteria are sources of biological nitrogen fixation. The objective of this study was to compare the relative influence of vascular plants and biological soil crusts on desert soil nematode and protozoan abundance and community composition. In the first experiment, biological soil crusts were removed by physical trampling. Treatments with crust removed had fewer nematodes and a greater relative ratio of bacterivores to microphytophages than treatments with intact crust. However, protozoa composition was similar with or without the presence of crusts. In a second experiment, nematode community composition was characterized along a spatial gradient away from stems of grasses or shrubs. Although nematodes generally occurred in increasing abundance nearer to plant stems, some genera (such as the enrichment-type Panagrolaimus) increased disproportionately more than others (such as the stress-tolerant Acromoldavicus). We propose that the impact of biological soil crusts and desert plants on soil microfauna, as reflected in the community composition of microbivorous nematodes, is a combination of carbon input, microclimate amelioration, and altered soil hydrology. ?? Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009.

  2. Quick Sands Effect on Desert Lands - Example of Filtration Stability Loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strzelecki, Michał

    2013-03-01

    The aim of the study was to analyze the loss of filtration stability of fine desert sands due to the air flow caused by temperature difference. The loss of stability induces the effect of so called "quick sands". Therefore, the calculations of air filtration through the loose sand medium in dry desert climate are presented. FlexPDE v.6. software was used for numerical calculation based on FEM.

  3. Sensitivity of desert cryptograms to air pollutants: soil crusts and rock lichens

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.

    1991-01-01

    Parks throughout the West are being faced with increasing air pollution threats from current or proposed industries near their boundaries. For this reason, it is important to understand the effects these industries may have on desert ecosystems. Rock lichens can be excellent biomonitors, acting as early warning systems of impending damage to other components of the desert ecosystem. Cryptogamic crusts, consisting mostly of cyanobacteria and lichens, may not only be excellent bioindicators, but also are an essential part of the desert ecosystem. Their presence is critical for soil stability as well as for the contribution of nitrogen to the ecosystem in a form available to higher plants. Air pollutants, such as emissions from coal-fired power plants, may threaten the healthy functioning of these non-vascular plants. The purpose of this study is to determine if, in fact, air pollutants do have an impact on the physiological functioning of cryptogamic crusts or rock lichens in desert systems and, if so, to what extent. Some results have already been obtained. Both rock lichens and cryptogamic crusts exhibit physiological damage in the vicinity of the Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona. Increased electrolyte leakage and chlorophyll degradation, along with reduced nitrogen fixation, have been found. Preliminary studies comparing sensitivity between substrates indicate that crusts on limestone and sandstone substrates may be more sensitive than those on gypsum.

  4. Soil surface disturbances in cold deserts: Effects on nitrogenase activity in cyanobacterial-lichen soil crusts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne

    1996-01-01

    CyanobacteriaMichen soil crusts can be a dominant source of nitrogen for cold-desert ecosystems. Effects of surface disturbance from footprints, bike and vehicle tracks on the nitrogenase activity in these crusts was investigated. Surface disturbances reduced nitrogenase activity by 30-100%. Crusts dominated by the cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus on sandy soils were the most susceptible to disruption; crusts on gypsiferous soils were the least susceptible. Crusts where the soil lichen Collema tenax was present showed less immediate effects; however, nitrogenase activity still declined over time. Levels of nitrogenase activity reduction were affected by the degree of soil disruption and whether sites were dominated by cyanobacteria with or without heterocysts. Consequently, anthropogenic surface disturbances may have serious implications for nitrogen budgets in these ecosystems.

  5. Dew measurements along a longitudinal sand dune transect, Negev Desert, Israel.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, A F; Heusinkveld, B G; Berkowicz, S M

    2000-03-01

    In a desert environment dew can serve as an important source of moisture for plants, biological crusts, insects and small animals. A measurement programme was carried out within a sand dune belt situated in the northwestern Negev desert, Israel, to measure daily amounts of dew deposition as well as micro-meteorological conditions during the dew formation and early-morning drying process. Dew quantities were measured by micro-lysimeters along a 200-m transect as well as by the eddy-correlation technique at a reference location. A simple physical model was constructed to simulate the dew deposition process as well as early-morning drying for the interdune area and the north- and south-facing dune slopes. Measurements carried out during September and October 1997 showed that the daily amounts of dew ranged between 0.1 mm/night and 0.3 mm/night within the interdune area. On the slopes, the amounts of dew were about 50% lower. Simulated results agreed well with the field data.

  6. Supply-limited horizontal sand drift at an ephemerally crusted, unvegetated saline playa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gillette, Dale A.; Niemeyer, T.C.; Helm, P.J.

    2001-01-01

    A site at Owens Dry Lake was observed for more than 4 years. The site was a vegetation-free saline playa where the surface formed "ephemeral crusts," crusts that form after rainfall. Sometimes these crusts were destroyed and often a layer of particles on the crust would engage in vigorous aeolian activity. Three "phases" of active sand drifting are defined as almost no movement (extreme supply limitation), loose particles on crust with some degree of sand drift (moderate supply limitation), and unlimited source movement corresponding to a destroyed surface crust (unlimited supply). These "phases" occurred 45, 49, and 6% of the time, respectively. The accumulation of loose particles on the crust was mostly the result of in situ formation. Crusted sediments with loose particles on top can exhibit mass flux rates about the same as for noncrusted sediments. Crusted sediments limit or eliminate sand drift in two conditions: for rough crusts that effect a sufficiently high threshold friction velocity (above the wind friction velocity) and for limited amounts of loose particles on the crust where particle supply is less than would be transported in normal saltation for a thick sandy surface. These "supply-limited" cases are similar to wind erosion of limited spilled material on a hard concrete surface. We quantified "supply limitation" by defining a "potential" or "supply unlimited" sand drift function Q = AG where A represents supply limitation that decreases as the particle source is depleted. Here Q is the mass of sand transported through a surface perpendicular to the ground and to the wind and having unit width during time period t, and G = ??? u*(u*2 - u*t2) dt for u* > u*t. G is integrated for the same time period t as for Q, u* is the friction velocity of the wind, and u*t is the threshold friction velocity of the wind. Hard crusts (usually formed in the summer) tended to show almost no change of threshold friction velocity with time and often gave total

  7. Isotopic Composition of Organic and Inorganic Carbon in Desert Biological Soil Crust Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexander, K.; Hartnett, H.; Anbar, A.; Beraldi, H.; Garcia-Pichel, F.

    2006-12-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are microbial communities that colonize soil surfaces in many arid regions. BSCs are important sources for fixed carbon and nitrogen in these ecosystems, and they greatly influence the structure, function, and appearance of desert soils. Biological activity of BSCs occurs during pulses of hydration requiring desert crusts to tolerate extremes in UV radiation, temperature, and desiccation. These characteristics make desert crusts unique systems that have received little consideration in the study of biogeochemical processes in extreme environments. This project investigates the impact of BSCs on carbon dynamics within desert soils. Soil cores ranging in depth from 8 to 12 cm were taken in March, 2006 from deserts near Moab, Utah. Two major BSC classes were identified: lichen-dominated (dark and pinnacled) soil crusts and cyanobacteria-dominated (light and flat) soil crusts. These two surface morphologies are related to the different biological communities. Carbon content and stable carbon isotopic composition were determined for the bulk carbon pool, as well as for the organic and inorganic carbon fractions of the soils. Expectedly, there was a net decrease in organic carbon content with depth (0.39-0.27 percent). Stable carbon isotope values for the organic fraction ranged from -5.8 per mil to -24.0 per mil (Avg: -14.4 per mil, S.D: 6.42 per mil). Stable carbon isotope values for the inorganic fraction ranged from 0.3 per mil to -3.6 per mil (Avg: -2.4 per mil, S.D.: 1.05 per mil). The variation in the isotopic composition of the organic carbon was due to a strong depletion below the surface soil value occurring between 3 and 5 cm depth, with an enrichment above the original surface value at depths below 6 to 10 cm. These data suggest that within desert soil crust systems the carbon isotopic signal is complex with both a clear biological imprint (lighter organic carbon) as well as evidence for some mechanism that results in

  8. [Nitrogen fixation potential of biological soil crusts in southeast edge of Tengger Desert, Northwest China].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Peng; Li, Xin-Rong; Zhang, Zhi-Shan; Pan, Yan-Xia; Liu, Yan-Mei; Su, Jie-Qiong

    2012-08-01

    Taking three typical types of biological soil crusts (BSCs), i.e., cyanobacterial-algal crust, lichen crust, and moss crust, in the southeast fringe of Tengger Desert as test objects, this paper studied their nitrogen fixation potential, seasonal fluctuation, and responses to the environmental factors from June 2010 to May 2011. During the whole study period, the nitrogenase activity (NA) of the cyanobacterial-algal, lichen, and moss crusts had significant difference, being 14-133, 20-101, and 4-28 micromol x m(-2) x h(-1), respectively, which indicated the critical role of the species composition of BSCs in nitrogen fixation. The NA of the three crust types had similar response characteristics to environmental factors. The NA had less correlation with the precipitation during the study period, but was positively correlated to the < 3 mm precipitation in the former 3 days of the experiment, indicating that the three types of BSCs could reach the maximum rate of nitrogen fixation under 3 mm precipitation. The NA of the three crust types had a significant quadratic functional relationship with air temperature, i.e., decreased after an initial increase. The NA of cyanobacterial-algal and lichen crusts declined rapidly when the temperature exceeded 30 degrees C, while the NA of moss crust began to decline when the temperature exceeded 25 degrees C, suggesting that different types of BSCs had different optimal temperature range of nitrogen fixation. The seasonal change of the NA of the three crust types was in the order of autumn > spring > summer > winter. The high air temperature in summer and the low air temperature (< 0 degrees C) in winter inhibited the NA of the crusts, while the suitable water and heat conditions in late spring and early autumn promoted the NA, which implied that the seasonal fluctuation of the NA was mainly controlled by the joint effect of the water and heat conditions. Under humid condition, the BSCs in the temperate desert zone had nitrogen

  9. Stabilization of Desert Surfaces and Accumulation of Dust Under Biological Soil Crusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finstad, K. M.; Mcnicol, G.; Pfeiffer, M.; Amundson, R.

    2014-12-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSC) are known to play a critical role in the stabilization of desert surfaces by helping to protect sediment from wind and water erosion and aiding in the trapping of airborne particles. The crusts are often composed of cyanobacteria, algae, and fungi, and occupy the upper few cm of a soil. Due to their high tolerance of desiccation and ability to utilize fog and dew sources, BSC are able to exist in environments that may otherwise be too dry for vascular plants. In the hyperarid Atacama Desert, decades or more between measurable precipitation events has created a landscape devoid of macroscopic life. While precipitation is rare, coastal fog occurs regularly and microbial communities capable of utilizing fog and dew water are able to persist. Here we found cyanobacteria and lichen living in association with a thin sulfate and dust crust (~2 cm) covering the surface of 'dust plateaus'. Topographically the region is highly irregular and part of a largely erosional landscape. We hypothesized that these flat-topped plateaus are accretionary features that have been able to maintain dust accumulation for thousands of years as a result of the surface crusts. To test this hypothesis we conducted radiocarbon analysis of crusts and soil profiles at two sites approximately 30 km apart, one in a high fog zone and another in lower fog frequency zone. The radiocarbon analysis shows that sediment has been accumulating in the 'plateaus' for the past 15,000 years and that biological activity and rates of C cycling in the crust increase with increasing fog frequency and intensity. The ages of organic material in the dust decrease monotonically with decreasing soil thickness, suggestive of progressive upward growth by dust accumulation. Our data indicate that the BSC are capable of surviving in hyperarid the Atacama Desert, a Mars analogue, through the utilization of fog water, and that their presence can leave a visible geomorphic imprint on the landscape.

  10. Discrimination of active and inactive sand from remote sensing - Kelso dunes, Mojave Desert, California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Paisley, Elizabeth C. I.; Lancaster, Nicholas; Gaddis, Lisa R.; Greeley, Ronald

    1991-01-01

    Landsat TM images, field data, and laboratoray reflectance spectra were examined for the Kelso dunes, Mojave Desert, California to assess the use of visible and near-infrared (VNIR) remote sensing data to discriminate aeolian sand populations on the basis of spectral brightness. Results show that areas of inactive sand have a larger percentage of dark, fine-grained materials compared to those composed of active sand, which contain less dark fines and a higher percentage of quartz sand-size grains. Both areas are spectrally distinct in the VNIR, suggesting that VNIR spectral data can be used to discriminate active and inactive sand populations in the Mojave Desert. Analysis of laboratory spectra was complicated by the presence of magnetite in the active sands, which decreases their laboratory reflectance values to those of inactive sands. For this application, comparison of TM and laboratory spectra suggests that less than 35 percent vegetation cover does not influence the TM spectra.

  11. Discrimination of active and inactive sand from remote sensing - Kelso dunes, Mojave Desert, California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Paisley, Elizabeth C. I.; Lancaster, Nicholas; Gaddis, Lisa R.; Greeley, Ronald

    1991-01-01

    Landsat TM images, field data, and laboratoray reflectance spectra were examined for the Kelso dunes, Mojave Desert, California to assess the use of visible and near-infrared (VNIR) remote sensing data to discriminate aeolian sand populations on the basis of spectral brightness. Results show that areas of inactive sand have a larger percentage of dark, fine-grained materials compared to those composed of active sand, which contain less dark fines and a higher percentage of quartz sand-size grains. Both areas are spectrally distinct in the VNIR, suggesting that VNIR spectral data can be used to discriminate active and inactive sand populations in the Mojave Desert. Analysis of laboratory spectra was complicated by the presence of magnetite in the active sands, which decreases their laboratory reflectance values to those of inactive sands. For this application, comparison of TM and laboratory spectra suggests that less than 35 percent vegetation cover does not influence the TM spectra.

  12. Characterization of desert sand as a sensible thermal energy storage medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diago, Miguel; Iniesta, Alberto Crespo; Delclos, Thomas; Soum-Glaude, Audrey; Shamim, Tariq; Calvet, Nicolas

    2016-05-01

    Desert sand from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considered as a possible sensible heat, thermal energy storage (TES) material. Its thermal stability, specific heat capacity and tendency to agglomerate are studied at high temperatures. The analyses show that it is possible to use desert sand as a TES material up to 800-1000 °C. Above 800 °C, weak agglomeration effects start to become significant. The samples become solid above 1000 °C. This may represent a major operating limit depending on the handling mechanism in place for the possible transport of the sand. The sand chemical composition is analyzed with the XRF and XRD techniques, which reveal the dominance of quartz and carbonates. Finally, the spectral absorptivity of the samples is measured before and after a thermal cycle, as it may be possible to use the desert sand not only as a TES material but also as a direct solar absorber.

  13. Geodermatophilus normandii sp. nov., isolated from Saharan desert sand.

    PubMed

    Montero-Calasanz, Maria del Carmen; Göker, Markus; Pötter, Gabriele; Rohde, Manfred; Spröer, Cathrin; Schumann, Peter; Gorbushina, Anna A; Klenk, Hans-Peter

    2013-09-01

    A novel Gram-reaction-positive actinobacterial strain, designated CF5/3(T), was isolated from a sand sample obtained in the Sahara Desert, Chad. The greenish-black-pigmented isolate was aerobic and exhibited optimal growth from 25-40 °C at pH 6.0-10.0 with 0-1% (w/v) NaCl. Chemotaxonomic and molecular characteristics of the isolate matched those described for members of the genus Geodermatophilus. The DNA G+C content of the genome of the novel strain was 75.5 mol%. The peptidoglycan contained meso-diaminopimelic acid as diagnostic diamino acid. The main phospholipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol and a minor fraction of phosphatidylglycerol. MK-9(H4) was the dominant menaquinone, and galactose was detected as a diagnostic sugar. The major cellular fatty acids were branched-chain saturated acids: iso-C(15:0) and iso-C(16:0). Analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences showed 95.6-98.8% pairwise sequence identity with the members of the genus Geodermatophilus. Based on phenotypic and chemotaxonomic properties, as well as phylogenetic distinctiveness, the isolate represents a novel species, Geodermatophilus normandii, with the type strain CF5/3(T) ( =DSM 45417(T) =CCUG 62814(T) =MTCC 11412(T)).

  14. Carbondioxide exchange of biological soil crusts compared to disturbed soil / sand in semi arid areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilske, B.; Yakir, D.; Burgheimer, J.; Karnieli, A.; Zaady, E.; Kesselmeier, J.

    2003-04-01

    Sparse vegetation in semi arid and arid lands is associated with low productivity and minor contribution to biosphere-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases, on an area basis. Dryland ecosystems, however, cover large land areas that are continuously increasing. Two third of global population live in semi arid and arid regions and its direct impact contributes to the expansion of dryland ecosystems. Satellite images at the start of the wet season in natural dryland ecosystems clearly show significant photosynthetic activity at a time when most vascular plants are yet inactive or undeveloped, indicating a possibly neglected CO_2 sink. This can likely be assigned to the so-called biological soil crusts (BSC) that consist of poikilohydric microphytes such as cyanobacteria, lichens, green algae, and mosses, which can rapidly recover photosynthesis in response to the earliest water supply. Such non-vascular vegetation activities are an important feature of dryland ecosystems worldwide, often complementary to that of vascular plants. We report on the rates of CO_2 exchange of BSC as measured at two field sites in the northern Negev desert during six months during 2001/2002. Peak rates of net photosynthesis (1.5 - 2 μmol m-2 s-1) were in the range observed in vascular plants, but periods with low or no activities were considerable. Rates of CO_2 exchange of BSC was always compared with that of bare soil / sand. This allowed both estimating net local land surface exchange, and assessing the influence of disturbance, mainly by uncontrolled land use, of the highly vulnerable BSC ecosystems. Simultaneous measurements of spectral reflectance properties of BSC in this study aim to allow calibration of airborne remote sensing for large-scale BSC activity studies.

  15. Response of desert biological soil crusts to alterations in precipitation frequency

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.; Miller, M.E.

    2004-01-01

    Biological soil crusts, a community of cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses that live on the soil surface, occur in deserts throughout the world. They are a critical component of desert ecosystems, as they are important contributors to soil fertility and stability. Future climate scenarios predict alteration of the timing and amount of precipitation in desert environments. Because biological soil crust organisms are only metabolically active when wet, and as soil surfaces dry quickly in deserts during late spring, summer, and early fall, the amount and timing of precipitation is likely to have significant impacts on the physiological functioning of these communities. Using the three dominant soil crust types found in the western United States, we applied three levels of precipitation frequency (50% below-average, average, and 50% above-average) while maintaining average precipitation amount (therefore changing both timing and size of applied events). We measured the impact of these treatments on photosynthetic performance (as indicated by dark-adapted quantum yield and chlorophyll a concentrations), nitrogenase activity, and the ability of these organisms to maintain concentrations of radiation-protective pigments (scytonemin, beta-carotene, echinenone, xanthophylls, and canthaxanthin). Increased precipitation frequency produced little response after 2.5 months exposure during spring (1 April-15 June) or summer (15 June-31 August). In contrast, most of the above variables had a large, negative response after exposure to increased precipitation frequency for 6 months spring-fall (1 April-31 October) treatment. The crusts dominated by the soil lichen Collema, being dark and protruding above the surface, dried the most rapidly, followed by the dark surface cyanobacterial crusts (Nostoc-Scytonema-Microcoleus), and then by the light cyanobacterial crusts (Microcoleus). This order reflected the magnitude of the observed response: crusts dominated by the lichen Collema

  16. Response of desert biological soil crusts to alterations in precipitation frequency.

    PubMed

    Belnap, Jayne; Phillips, Susan L; Miller, Mark E

    2004-10-01

    Biological soil crusts, a community of cyanobacteria, lichens, and mosses that live on the soil surface, occur in deserts throughout the world. They are a critical component of desert ecosystems, as they are important contributors to soil fertility and stability. Future climate scenarios predict alteration of the timing and amount of precipitation in desert environments. Because biological soil crust organisms are only metabolically active when wet, and as soil surfaces dry quickly in deserts during late spring, summer, and early fall, the amount and timing of precipitation is likely to have significant impacts on the physiological functioning of these communities. Using the three dominant soil crust types found in the western United States, we applied three levels of precipitation frequency (50% below-average, average, and 50% above-average) while maintaining average precipitation amount (therefore changing both timing and size of applied events). We measured the impact of these treatments on photosynthetic performance (as indicated by dark-adapted quantum yield and chlorophyll a concentrations), nitrogenase activity, and the ability of these organisms to maintain concentrations of radiation-protective pigments (scytonemin, beta-carotene, echinenone, xanthophylls, and canthaxanthin). Increased precipitation frequency produced little response after 2.5 months exposure during spring (1 April-15 June) or summer (15 June-31 August). In contrast, most of the above variables had a large, negative response after exposure to increased precipitation frequency for 6 months spring-fall (1 April-31 October) treatment. The crusts dominated by the soil lichen Collema, being dark and protruding above the surface, dried the most rapidly, followed by the dark surface cyanobacterial crusts (Nostoc- Scytonema- Microcoleus), and then by the light cyanobacterial crusts (Microcoleus). This order reflected the magnitude of the observed response: crusts dominated by the lichen Collema

  17. Li Isotopic Composition and Concentration of the Upper Continental Crust: New Insights from Desert Loess

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sauzeat, L.; Rudnick, R. L.; Chauvel, C.

    2014-12-01

    The isotopic composition of lithium (δ7Li) is recognized to be an excellent proxy of near-surface fluid-rock reactions during weathering. Using Li as a tracer of these processes however requires constraints on the average Li composition of terrestrial reservoirs, in particular that of the upper continental crust. To date, only one value for the average δ7Li value of the upper continental crust, derived from periglacial loess, shales, and granites is available in the literature (7δLi = 0 ± 4 (2σ), Teng et al., 2004). Several values exist for the average [Li] of the upper crust, but they differ by more than 30%. We measured the Li isotopic composition of about 30 desert and periglacial loess (unweathered windblown sediments) from several parts of the world (Europe, Argentina, China and Tajikistan). We demonstrate that desert loess, which is more homogeneous and representative of larger portions of the Earth's surface, provides a better proxy for the average composition of the upper continental crust compared to periglacial loess. The Li isotopic compositions and concentrations of desert loess are controlled by eolian sorting, which can be quantified as a binary isotopic mixing between a weathered fine-grained end-member and an unweathered coarse-grained end-member. Using correlations between Li isotopic compositions, Li concentrations and trace element concentrations in desert loess, we estimate new average values for the upper continental crust: 1 ± 2 (2σ); [Li] = 35.3 ± 4.6 (2σ) ppm. This δ7Li value is slightly higher than that previously published in Teng et al. (2004), but overlaps within uncertainty, whereas the [Li] is identical to that of Teng et al. (2004: 35 ± 11, 2σ); both new estimates have lower uncertainty. Our new estimate of [Li], along with that of Teng et al. (2004), are higher than all previous estimates for the upper continental crust, raising the question as to whether the average concentrations of other mobile alkali metals such as

  18. [Effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on desert algal crust photosynthesis].

    PubMed

    Su, Yan-gui; Li, Xin-rong; Chen, Ying-wu; Cui, Yan; Lu, Yan

    2010-09-01

    Taking the 26- and 51-year-old artificial vegetation areas and the natural vegetation area in Shapotou region of southeast Tengger Desert as study sites, this paper measured the net photosynthetic rate (Pn) of algal crusts, and analyzed its relationships with crust water content (> 100%, 40%-60%, and <20%), atmospheric CO2 concentration (360 and 700 mg x L(-1)), and air temperature (13 degrees C, 24 degrees C, and 28 degrees C). The Pn of the crusts in the 26- and 51-year-old artificial vegetation areas and natural vegetation area was 3.4, 4.4, and 3.2 micromol x m(-2) x s(-1), respectively, and the Pn in 51-year-old artificial vegetation area was significantly higher than that in the other two areas. Crust water content had significant effects on the Pn, which was significantly higher at medium water content (40%-60%) than at low (<20%) and high (>100%) water content. When the CO2 concentration doubled (700 mg x L(-1)), the Pn increased by 1.8-3.3 times at medium and high crust water content but had less change at low crust water content, compared with that under ambient CO2 concentration (360 mg x L(-1)). At medium and high crust water content, the Pn at 24 degrees C and 28 degrees C was 27%-66% higher than that at 13 degrees C (P < 0.05), but at low crust water content, no significant difference was observed at the three temperatures.

  19. Diazotrophic Community Structure and Function in Two Successional Stages of Biological Soil Crusts from the Colorado Plateau and Chihuahuan Desert

    PubMed Central

    Yeager, Chris M.; Kornosky, Jennifer L.; Housman, David C.; Grote, Edmund E.; Belnap, Jayne; Kuske, Cheryl R.

    2004-01-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize the community structure and activity of N2-fixing microorganisms in mature and poorly developed biological soil crusts from both the Colorado Plateau and Chihuahuan Desert. Nitrogenase activity was approximately 10 and 2.5 times higher in mature crusts than in poorly developed crusts at the Colorado Plateau site and Chihuahuan Desert site, respectively. Analysis of nifH sequences by clone sequencing and the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism technique indicated that the crust diazotrophic community was 80 to 90% heterocystous cyanobacteria most closely related to Nostoc spp. and that the composition of N2-fixing species did not vary significantly between the poorly developed and mature crusts at either site. In contrast, the abundance of nifH sequences was approximately 7.5 times greater (per microgram of total DNA) in mature crusts than in poorly developed crusts at a given site as measured by quantitative PCR. 16S rRNA gene clone sequencing and microscopic analysis of the cyanobacterial community within both crust types demonstrated a transition from a Microcoleus vaginatus-dominated, poorly developed crust to mature crusts harboring a greater percentage of Nostoc and Scytonema spp. We hypothesize that ecological factors, such as soil instability and water stress, may constrain the growth of N2-fixing microorganisms at our study sites and that the transition to a mature, nitrogen-producing crust initially requires bioengineering of the surface microenvironment by Microcoleus vaginatus. PMID:14766579

  20. Diazotrophic Community Structure and Function in Two Successional Stages of Biological Soil Crusts from the Colorado Plateau and Chihuahuan Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yeager, C.M.; Kornosky, J.L.; Housman, D.C.; Grote, E.E.; Belnap, J.; Kuske, C.R.

    2004-01-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize the community structure and activity of N2-fixing microorganisms in mature and poorly developed biological soil crusts from both the Colorado Plateau and Chihuahuan Desert. Nitrogenase activity was approximately 10 and 2.5 times higher in mature crusts than in poorly developed crusts at the Colorado Plateau site and Chihuahuan Desert site, respectively. Analysis of nifH sequences by clone sequencing and the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism technique indicated that the crust diazotrophic community was 80 to 90% heterocystous cyanobacteria most closely related to Nostoc spp. and that the composition of N2-fixing species did not vary significantly between the poorly developed and mature crusts at either site. In contrast, the abundance of nifH sequences was approximately 7.5 times greater (per microgram of total DNA) in mature crusts than in poorly developed crusts at a given site as measured by quantitative PCR. 16S rRNA gene clone sequencing and microscopic analysis of the cyanobacterial community within both crust types demonstrated a transition from a Microcoleus vaginatus-dominated, poorly developed crust to mature crusts harboring a greater percentage of Nostoc and Scytonema spp. We hypothesize that ecological factors, such as soil instability and water stress, may constrain the growth of N2-fixing microorganisms at our study sites and that the transition to a mature, nitrogen-producing crust initially requires bioengineering of the surface microenvironment by Microcoleus vaginatus.

  1. Microbial Response to UV Exposure and Nitrogen Limitation in Desert Soil Crusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fulton, J. M.; Van Mooy, B. A.

    2016-12-01

    Microbiotic soil crusts have diverse biomarker distributions and C and N stable isotopic compositions that covary with soil type. Sparse plant cover and the relative lack of soil disturbance in arid/semi-arid landscapes allows populations of soil cyanobacteria to develop along with fungi and heterotrophic bacteria. Microbial communities in this extreme environment depend in part on the production of scytonemin, a UV protective pigment, by cyanobacteria near the top of the crust. N limitation of microbial growth also affects soil crust population dynamics, increasing the requirement of N2fixation by diazotrophic cyanobacteria. We collected 56 soil crust samples from 27 locations throughout the Great Salt Lake Desert, including four transects spanning high-elevation, erosion-dominated soils to lower elevation soils dominated by silt-accumulation. Erosion-dominated soil surfaces included rounded gravel and cobbles; in the interstices there were poorly-developed microbiotic crusts on sandy loam with low δ15N values near 0‰ that point toward microbial growth dependent on cyanobacterial N2 fixation. Nutrients regenerated by heterotrophic bacteria may have been eroded from the system, providing a positive feedback for N2 fixation. High scytonemin:chlorophyll a ratios suggest that cyanobacteria required enhanced protection from UV damage in these crusts. A similar increase in scytonemin:chlorophyll a ratio during soil crust rehydration experiments also points toward the importance of UV protection. Glycolipid:phospholipid ratios were lowest where N2 fixation was favored, however, suggesting that the cyanobacterial population was relatively small, possibly because of the metabolic cost of N2fixation. Microbiotic crusts on silt loam soils, on the other hand, had higher δ15N values between 3.5 and 7.8‰, consistent with heterotrophic growth and nutrient recycling. Lower scytonemin:chlorophyll a ratios suggest that relatively high photosynthetic activity was supported in

  2. Carbon and nitrogen fixation differ between successional stages of biological soil crusts in the Colorado Plateau and Chihuahuan Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Housman, D.C.; Powers, H.H.; Collins, A.D.; Belnap, J.

    2006-01-01

    Biological soil crusts (cyanobacteria, mosses and lichens collectively) perform essential ecosystem services, including carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fixation. Climate and land-use change are converting later successional soil crusts to early successional soil crusts with lower C and N fixation rates. To quantify the effect of such conversions on C and N dynamics in desert ecosystems we seasonally measured diurnal fixation rates in different biological soil crusts. We classified plots on the Colorado Plateau (Canyonlands) and Chihuahuan Desert (Jornada) as early (Microcoleus) or later successional (Nostoc/Scytonema or Placidium/Collema) and measured photosynthesis (Pn), nitrogenase activity (NA), and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) on metabolically active (moist) soil crusts. Later successional crusts typically had greater Pn, averaging 1.2-1.3-fold higher daily C fixation in Canyonlands and 2.4-2.8-fold higher in the Jornada. Later successional crusts also had greater NA, averaging 1.3-7.5-fold higher daily N fixation in Canyonlands and 1.3-25.0-fold higher in the Jornada. Mean daily Fv/Fm was also greater in later successional Canyonlands crusts during winter, and Jornada crusts during all seasons except summer. Together these findings indicate conversion of soil crusts back to early successional stages results in large reductions of C and N inputs into these ecosystems.

  3. [Effects of moss crust on soil seed bank at southeast edge of Tengger Desert].

    PubMed

    Su, Yan-gui; Li, Xin-Rong; Jia, Rong-Liang; Pan, Yan-Xie

    2007-03-01

    An investigation was made on the soil seed bank at southeast edge of Tengger Desert with moss crust under natural and artificial vegetations. The results showed that the density of soil seed bank increased with the development of moss crust, which was 3.4 times higher under natural vegetation than under 24 years old artificial vegetation. In the seed bank, a total of 12 species belonging to 6 families were identified, among which, annuals occupied more than 70%. No perennial seeds were found under artificial vegetation, but under natural vegetation, 20% of the seeds were of perennials. As for semi-shrub seeds, they occupied 20% and 10% under artificial and natural, vegetation, respectively. Under artificial vegetation, the species richness index of soil seed bank was relatively lower, being about a half of that under natural vegetation. The species diversity index of the seed bank had a slight decrease with the development of moss crust under artificial vegetation, but increased to the maximum (0. 693) under natural vegetation. The species similarity index was 1 among the seed banks under artificial vegetations, and 0.4 between those under artificial and natural vegetation. The development of moss crust increased the roughness of surface soil and improved soil environment significantly, which could have positive effects on seed entrapment and plant establishment.

  4. The diversity and abundance of bacteria and oxygenic phototrophs in saline biological desert crusts in Xinjiang, northwest China.

    PubMed

    Li, Ke; Liu, Ruyin; Zhang, Hongxun; Yun, Juanli

    2013-07-01

    Although microorganisms, particularly oxygenic phototrophs, are known as the major players in the biogeochemical cycles of elements in desert soil ecosystems and have received extensive attention, still little is known about the effects of salinity on the composition and abundances of microbial community in desert soils. In this study, the diversity and abundance of bacteria and oxygenic phototrophs in biological desert crusts from Xinjiang province, which were under different salinity conditions, were investigated by using clone library and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis showed that cyanobacteria, mainly Microcoleus vagnitus of the order Oscillatoriales, were predominant in the low saline crusts, while other phototrophs, such as diatom, were the main microorganism group responsible for the oxygenic photosynthesis in the high saline crusts. Furthermore, the higher salt content in crusts may stimulate the growth of other bacteria, including Deinococcus-Thermus, Bacteroidetes, and some subdivisions of Proteobacteria (β-, γ-, and δ-Proteobacteria). The cpcBA-IGS gene analysis revealed the existence of novel M. vagnitus strains in this area. The qPCR results showed that the abundance of oxygenic phototrophs was significantly higher under lower saline condition than that in the higher saline crusts, suggesting that the higher salinity in desert crusts could suppress the numbers of total bacteria and phototrophic bacteria but did highly improve the diversity of salt-tolerant bacteria.

  5. Dynamic cyanobacterial response to hydration and dehydration in a desert biological soil crust.

    PubMed

    Rajeev, Lara; da Rocha, Ulisses Nunes; Klitgord, Niels; Luning, Eric G; Fortney, Julian; Axen, Seth D; Shih, Patrick M; Bouskill, Nicholas J; Bowen, Benjamin P; Kerfeld, Cheryl A; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Brodie, Eoin L; Northen, Trent R; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila

    2013-11-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) cover extensive portions of the earth's deserts. In order to survive desiccation cycles and utilize short periods of activity during infrequent precipitation, crust microorganisms must rely on the unique capabilities of vegetative cells to enter a dormant state and be poised for rapid resuscitation upon wetting. To elucidate the key events involved in the exit from dormancy, we performed a wetting experiment of a BSC and followed the response of the dominant cyanobacterium, Microcoleus vaginatus, in situ using a whole-genome transcriptional time course that included two diel cycles. Immediate, but transient, induction of DNA repair and regulatory genes signaled the hydration event. Recovery of photosynthesis occurred within 1 h, accompanied by upregulation of anabolic pathways. Onset of desiccation was characterized by the induction of genes for oxidative and photo-oxidative stress responses, osmotic stress response and the synthesis of C and N storage polymers. Early expression of genes for the production of exopolysaccharides, additional storage molecules and genes for membrane unsaturation occurred before drying and hints at preparedness for desiccation. We also observed signatures of preparation for future precipitation, notably the expression of genes for anaplerotic reactions in drying crusts, and the stable maintenance of mRNA through dormancy. These data shed light on possible synchronization between this cyanobacterium and its environment, and provides key mechanistic insights into its metabolism in situ that may be used to predict its response to climate, and or, land-use driven perturbations.

  6. Three-dimensional structure and cyanobacterial activity within a desert biological soil crust.

    PubMed

    Raanan, Hagai; Felde, Vincent J M N L; Peth, Stephan; Drahorad, Sylvie; Ionescu, Danny; Eshkol, Gil; Treves, Haim; Felix-Henningsen, Peter; Berkowicz, Simon M; Keren, Nir; Horn, Rainer; Hagemann, Martin; Kaplan, Aaron

    2016-02-01

    Desert biological soil crusts (BSCs) are formed by adhesion of soil particles to polysaccharides excreted by filamentous cyanobacteria, the pioneers and main producers in this habitat. Biological soil crust destruction is a central factor leading to land degradation and desertification. We study the effect of BSC structure on cyanobacterial activity. Micro-scale structural analysis using X-ray microtomography revealed a vesiculated layer 1.5-2.5 mm beneath the surface in close proximity to the cyanobacterial location. Light profiles showed attenuation with depth of 1%-5% of surface light within 1 mm but also revealed the presence of 'light pockets', coinciding with the vesiculated layer, where the irradiance was 10-fold higher than adjacent crust parts at the same depth. Maximal photosynthetic activity, examined by O2 concentration profiles, was observed 1 mm beneath the surface and another peak in association with the 'light pockets'. Thus, photosynthetic activity may not be visible to currently used remote sensing techniques, suggesting that BSCs' contribution to terrestrial productivity is underestimated. Exposure to irradiance higher than 10% full sunlight diminished chlorophyll fluorescence, whereas O2 evolution and CO2 uptake rose, indicating that fluorescence did not reflect cyanobacterial photosynthetic activity. Our data also indicate that although resistant to high illumination, the BSC-inhabiting cyanobacteria function as 'low-light adapted' organisms. © 2015 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. Dynamic cyanobacterial response to hydration and dehydration in a desert biological soil crust

    PubMed Central

    Rajeev, Lara; da Rocha, Ulisses Nunes; Klitgord, Niels; Luning, Eric G; Fortney, Julian; Axen, Seth D; Shih, Patrick M; Bouskill, Nicholas J; Bowen, Benjamin P; Kerfeld, Cheryl A; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Brodie, Eoin L; Northen, Trent R; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila

    2013-01-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) cover extensive portions of the earth's deserts. In order to survive desiccation cycles and utilize short periods of activity during infrequent precipitation, crust microorganisms must rely on the unique capabilities of vegetative cells to enter a dormant state and be poised for rapid resuscitation upon wetting. To elucidate the key events involved in the exit from dormancy, we performed a wetting experiment of a BSC and followed the response of the dominant cyanobacterium, Microcoleus vaginatus, in situ using a whole-genome transcriptional time course that included two diel cycles. Immediate, but transient, induction of DNA repair and regulatory genes signaled the hydration event. Recovery of photosynthesis occurred within 1 h, accompanied by upregulation of anabolic pathways. Onset of desiccation was characterized by the induction of genes for oxidative and photo-oxidative stress responses, osmotic stress response and the synthesis of C and N storage polymers. Early expression of genes for the production of exopolysaccharides, additional storage molecules and genes for membrane unsaturation occurred before drying and hints at preparedness for desiccation. We also observed signatures of preparation for future precipitation, notably the expression of genes for anaplerotic reactions in drying crusts, and the stable maintenance of mRNA through dormancy. These data shed light on possible synchronization between this cyanobacterium and its environment, and provides key mechanistic insights into its metabolism in situ that may be used to predict its response to climate, and or, land-use driven perturbations. PMID:23739051

  8. Research on chemical characteristics of soil salt crusts with saline groundwater drip-irrigation in the Tarim Desert Highway Shelterbelt.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jianguo; Xu, Xinwen; Lei, Jiaqiang; Li, Shengyu

    2013-01-01

    Soil salt crusts are special layers at soil surface which are widely distributed in the Trim Desert Highway Shelterbelt under drip-irrigation with high salinity groundwater. In order to reveal annual variation of their chemical characteristics, soil salt crusts in shelterbelt of different ages in hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert were sampled. SOM, total salt, inions and pH were analyzed. Following results were obtained. SOM of salt crusts increased with the shelterbelt ages, but increasing trend became lower gradually. Total salt, ions, and pH of salt crusts reduced gradually with the shelterbelt ages. Total salt of salt crusts in shelterbelt of different ages was much higher than shifting sandy land. Ions were higher than shifting sandy land, Cl(-), Na(+), and SO4 (2-) increased more obvious, then Mg(2+), K(+), Ca(2+) and HCO3 (-), CO3 (2-) was little and nearly had no change. pH was all alkaline, pH of salt crusts in shelterbelt of 11 years was even lower than shifting sandy land. We can include that the quality of shallow soil (0~30 cm) in the Trim Desert Highway Shelterbelt becomes better gradually.

  9. Active sand dunes are largest dust source in the Sahara Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhattacharya, Atreyee

    2012-09-01

    Dried up lakebeds and playas in the Sahara Desert of North Africa are large sources of dust in the atmosphere. The Bodélé Depression at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, for example, is the single largest source of dust in the world; on average, 100 dust storms a year originate from the Bodélé Depression. A new study by Crouvi et al., however, finds that active sand dunes could be even bigger sources of desert dust in the atmosphere. Atmospheric dust plays active roles in climate and biological processes in the ocean: It regulates heating at the surface of the Earth; modifies cloud properties that affect rainfall; and acts as the only source of iron, a critical nutrient for microorganisms in the ocean. Little is known about types of dust sources in the Sahara Desert, which alone accounts for more than 50% of the dust in the atmosphere.

  10. Physiological variation among native and exotic winter annual plants associated with microbiotic crusts in the Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeFalco, L.A.; Detling, J.K.; Tracy, C.R.; Warren, S.D.

    2001-01-01

    Microbiotic crusts are important components of many aridland soils. Research on crusts typically focuses on the increase in soil fertility due to N-fixing micro-organisms, the stabilization of soils against water and wind erosion and the impact of disturbance on N-cycling. The effect of microbiotic crusts on the associated plant community has received little attention. We quantified the influence of crusts on the production, species diversity, nutrient content and water relations of winter annual plant species associated with microbiotic soil crusts in the northeast Mojave Desert. Shoot biomass of winter annuals was 37% greater and plant density was 77% greater on crusts than were biomass and density on soils lacking crust cover (=bare soils). This greater production of annuals on crusts was likely due to enhanced soil conditions including an almost two-fold increase in soil organic matter and inorganic N compared to bare soils. Crusted soils also had 53% greater volumetric water content than bare soils during November and December, the time when winter annuals become established. As plant development progressed into spring, however, soil water availability decreased: More negative plant xylem water potentials were associated with greater plant biomass on crusted soils. Plants associated with microbiotic soil crusts had lower concentrations of N in shoots (mg N g-1 dry mass). However, total shoot N (mg N m-2) was the same in plants growing on the different soil types when biomass production peaked in April. Shoots had similar patterns in their concentration and content of P. Species diversity of annuals was not statistically different between the two soil types. Yet, while native annuals comprised the greatest proportion of shoot biomass on bare soils, exotic forbs and grasses produced more biomass on crusts. Total shoot nutrient content (biomass x concentration) of the two exotic annual species examined was dramatically greater on crusts than bare soils; only one

  11. Physiological variation among native and exotic winter annuals associated with microphytic soil crusts in the Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeFalco, Lesley; Detling, James K.; Tracy, C. Richard; Warren, Steven D.

    2001-01-01

    Microbiotic crusts are important components of many aridland soils. Research on crusts typically focuses on the increase in soil fertility due to N-fixing micro-organisms, the stabilization of soils against water and wind erosion and the impact of disturbance on N-cycling. The effect of microbiotic crusts on the associated plant community has received little attention. We quantified the influence of crusts on the production, species diversity, nutrient content and water relations of winter annual plant species associated with microbiotic soil crusts in the northeast Mojave Desert. Shoot biomass of winter annuals was 37% greater and plant density was 77% greater on crusts than were biomass and density on soils lacking crust cover (=bare soils). This greater production of annuals on crusts was likely due to enhanced soil conditions including an almost two-fold increase in soil organic matter and inorganic N compared to bare soils. Crusted soils also had 53% greater volumetric water content than bare soils during November and December, the time when winter annuals become established. As plant development progressed into spring, however, soil water availability decreased: More negative plant xylem water potentials were associated with greater plant biomass on crusted soils. Plants associated with microbiotic soil crusts had lower concentrations of N in shoots (mg N g−1 dry mass). However, total shoot N (mg N m−2) was the same in plants growing on the different soil types when biomass production peaked in April. Shoots had similar patterns in their concentration and content of P. Species diversity of annuals was not statistically different between the two soil types. Yet, while native annuals comprised the greatest proportion of shoot biomass on bare soils, exotic forbs and grasses produced more biomass on crusts. Total shoot nutrient content (biomass×concentration) of the two exotic annual species examined was dramatically greater on crusts than bare soils; only

  12. Microbial Diversity in Soil, Sand Dune and Rock Substrates of the Thar Monsoon Desert, India.

    PubMed

    Rao, Subramanya; Chan, Yuki; Bugler-Lacap, Donnabella C; Bhatnagar, Ashish; Bhatnagar, Monica; Pointing, Stephen B

    2016-03-01

    A culture-independent diversity assessment of archaea, bacteria and fungi in the Thar Desert in India was made. Six locations in Ajmer, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jodhupur included semi-arid soils, arid soils, arid sand dunes, plus arid cryptoendolithic substrates. A real-time quantitative PCR approach revealed that bacteria dominated soils and cryptoendoliths, whilst fungi dominated sand dunes. The archaea formed a minor component of all communities. Comparison of rRNA-defined community structure revealed that substrate and climate rather than location were the most parsimonious predictors. Sequence-based identification of 1240 phylotypes revealed that most taxa were common desert microorganisms. Semi-arid soils were dominated by actinobacteria and alpha proteobacteria, arid soils by chloroflexi and alpha proteobacteria, sand dunes by ascomycete fungi and cryptoendoliths by cyanobacteria. Climatic variables that best explained this distribution were mean annual rainfall and maximum annual temperature. Substrate variables that contributed most to observed diversity patterns were conductivity, soluble salts, Ca(2+) and pH. This represents an important addition to the inventory of desert microbiota, novel insight into the abiotic drivers of community assembly, and the first report of biodiversity in a monsoon desert system.

  13. Observation (Geomorphology) of the largest mega sand of central Iran Desert, Lut, Using Remote sensing data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdollhai, A.; Yamani, M.

    2009-04-01

    It is believed that the Lut desert features, in elevation and volume, are unique (even in the world) in central Iran. These huge morphological features will be an excellent Sedimentary Archive in quaternary explaining the climate condition and distribution of desert surface features on the earth, meanwhile the attention less has gone on the Aeolian features in the area of interest because it is hard to access. This papers aims to present these unique features by remote sensing data. Remote sensing data including, Irs Aster, Srtm and Arial photograph data were used to measure the dune migration and other aspects of desert environment. Sand dune morphology encompasses almost all typical desert features including single, linear, pyramid, star sand and others. compressing remote sensing data between 1955 and 2000 approves the single Barkhan is being migrated at the rate of 22.65 M per year and accelerate at the last period between 2000 and 2008. A large part of scarce vegetation represents active and rapid migration creating huge morphological features. Linear dune elevation reaches more than 430 M and shows the highest elevation of dune activity on Earth. To evaluate surface temperature Aster 08 production were used. The surface temperature on the sand is probably the highest temperature received by solar energy around 84 Celsius degrees resulting High thermal cell in central Iran. This causes to create huge morphological features in central Iran reaching more than 400 m high due to repetition and reactivation under closed circumstance system.

  14. Investigating the Locomotion of the Sandfish in Desert Sand Using NMR-Imaging

    PubMed Central

    Baumgartner, Werner; Fidler, Florian; Weth, Agnes; Habbecke, Martin; Jakob, Peter; Butenweg, Christoph; Böhme, Wolfgang

    2008-01-01

    The sandfish (Scincus scincus) is a lizard having the remarkable ability to move through desert sand for significant distances. It is well adapted to living in loose sand by virtue of a combination of morphological and behavioural specializations. We investigated the bodyform of the sandfish using 3D-laserscanning and explored its locomotion in loose desert sand using fast nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging. The sandfish exhibits an in-plane meandering motion with a frequency of about 3 Hz and an amplitude of about half its body length accompanied by swimming-like (or trotting) movements of its limbs. No torsion of the body was observed, a movement required for a digging-behaviour. Simple calculations based on the Janssen model for granular material related to our findings on bodyform and locomotor behaviour render a local decompaction of the sand surrounding the moving sandfish very likely. Thus the sand locally behaves as a viscous fluid and not as a solid material. In this fluidised sand the sandfish is able to “swim” using its limbs. PMID:18836551

  15. Soil water and temperature patterns in an arid desert dune sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berndtsson, Ronny; Nodomi, Kanichi; Yasuda, Hiroshi; Persson, Thomas; Chen, Heshen; Jinno, Kenji

    1996-11-01

    Under arid natural conditions, soil water content governs and limits the number and size of perennial plant species. Thus, plant-available soil water is the main constraint for sustainable control of desert encroachment. To evaluate possibilities for re-vegetation of bare sand surfaces, soil water and temperature patterns for typical sand dunes in a desert climate were investigated. Bare and vegetated soil transects were selected for observation of soil water content and temperature. The investigated soil transects covered crest-to-crest spacings (about 60 m horizontally and 15 m vertically) in a shifting sand dune area. Observations were made at Shapotou field research station bordering the Tengger Desert in Northwestern China. The paper presents two-dimensional properties of soil water content (0.1-3.0 m depth) and temperature (0-1.0 m depth) before and after rainfall. Rainfall (15-22 mm) affected soil water distribution down to 1.5-2.0 m and temperature distribution down to 1.0 m. Soil water appeared to be transported through the apparently highly pervious and homogeneous sand along the dune slopes. High water contents and, thus, infiltration occurred mainly at the non-sloping parts, i.e. the dune crests and bottoms. Rainfall changed the temperature patterns from a mainly horizontally layered appearance before the rainfall to increasingly vertically shaped patterns.

  16. ARSENIC REMOVAL FROM DRINKING WATER BY ADSORPTIVE MEDIA - USEPA DEMONSTRATION PROJECT AT DESERT SANDS MDWCA, NM SIX MONTH EVALUATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report documents the activities performed during, and the results obtained from, the first six months of the arsenic removal treatment technology demonstration project at the Desert Sands Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (MDWCA) facility in Anthony, NM. The object...

  17. ARSENIC REMOVAL FROM DRINKING WATER BY ADSORPTIVE MEDIA - USEPA DEMONSTRATION PROJECT AT DESERT SANDS MDWCA, NM SIX MONTH EVALUATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report documents the activities performed during, and the results obtained from, the first six months of the arsenic removal treatment technology demonstration project at the Desert Sands Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (MDWCA) facility in Anthony, NM. The object...

  18. Breeding Sites of Phlebotomus sergenti, the Sand Fly Vector of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Judean Desert

    PubMed Central

    Moncaz, Aviad; Faiman, Roy; Kirstein, Oscar; Warburg, Alon

    2012-01-01

    Phlebotomine sand flies transmit Leishmania, phlebo-viruses and Bartonella to humans. A prominent gap in our knowledge of sand fly biology remains the ecology of their immature stages. Sand flies, unlike mosquitoes do not breed in water and only small numbers of larvae have been recovered from diverse habitats that provide stable temperatures, high humidity and decaying organic matter. We describe studies designed to identify and characterize sand fly breeding habitats in a Judean Desert focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis. To detect breeding habitats we constructed emergence traps comprising sand fly-proof netting covering defined areas or cave openings. Large size horizontal sticky traps within the confined spaces were used to trap the sand flies. Newly eclosed male sand flies were identified based on their un-rotated genitalia. Cumulative results show that Phlebotomus sergenti the vector of Leishmania tropica rests and breeds inside caves that are also home to rock hyraxes (the reservoir hosts of L. tropica) and several rodent species. Emerging sand flies were also trapped outside covered caves, probably arriving from other caves or from smaller, concealed cracks in the rocky ledges close by. Man-made support walls constructed with large boulders were also identified as breeding habitats for Ph. sergenti albeit less important than caves. Soil samples obtained from caves and burrows were rich in organic matter and salt content. In this study we developed and put into practice a generalized experimental scheme for identifying sand fly breeding habitats and for assessing the quantities of flies that emerge from them. An improved understanding of sand fly larval ecology should facilitate the implementation of effective control strategies of sand fly vectors of Leishmania. PMID:22802981

  19. Breeding sites of Phlebotomus sergenti, the sand fly vector of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Judean Desert.

    PubMed

    Moncaz, Aviad; Faiman, Roy; Kirstein, Oscar; Warburg, Alon

    2012-01-01

    Phlebotomine sand flies transmit Leishmania, phlebo-viruses and Bartonella to humans. A prominent gap in our knowledge of sand fly biology remains the ecology of their immature stages. Sand flies, unlike mosquitoes do not breed in water and only small numbers of larvae have been recovered from diverse habitats that provide stable temperatures, high humidity and decaying organic matter. We describe studies designed to identify and characterize sand fly breeding habitats in a Judean Desert focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis. To detect breeding habitats we constructed emergence traps comprising sand fly-proof netting covering defined areas or cave openings. Large size horizontal sticky traps within the confined spaces were used to trap the sand flies. Newly eclosed male sand flies were identified based on their un-rotated genitalia. Cumulative results show that Phlebotomus sergenti the vector of Leishmania tropica rests and breeds inside caves that are also home to rock hyraxes (the reservoir hosts of L. tropica) and several rodent species. Emerging sand flies were also trapped outside covered caves, probably arriving from other caves or from smaller, concealed cracks in the rocky ledges close by. Man-made support walls constructed with large boulders were also identified as breeding habitats for Ph. sergenti albeit less important than caves. Soil samples obtained from caves and burrows were rich in organic matter and salt content. In this study we developed and put into practice a generalized experimental scheme for identifying sand fly breeding habitats and for assessing the quantities of flies that emerge from them. An improved understanding of sand fly larval ecology should facilitate the implementation of effective control strategies of sand fly vectors of Leishmania.

  20. Vulnerability of desert biological soil crusts to wind erosion: The influences of crust development, soil texture, and disturbance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.; Gillette, Dale A.

    1998-01-01

    Biological soil crusts, consisting of cyanobacteria, green algae, lichens, and mosses, are important in stabilizing soils in semi-arid and arid lands. Integrity of these crusts is compromised by compressional disturbances such as foot, vehicle, or livestock traffic. Using a portable wind tunnel, we found threshold friction velocities (TFVs) of undisturbed crusts well above wind forces experienced at these sites; consequently, these soils are not vulnerable to wind erosion. However, recently disturbed soils or soils with less well-developed crusts frequently experience wind speeds that exceed the stability thresholds of the crusts. Crustal biomass is concentrated in the top 3 mm of soils. Sandblasting by wind can quickly remove this material, thereby reducing N and C inputs from these organisms. This loss can result in reduced site productivity, as well as exposure of unprotected subsurface sediments to wind and water erosion. Actions to reduce impacts to these crusts can include adjustments in type, intensity, and timing of use.

  1. Biological soil crusts are the main contributor to winter soil respiration in a temperate desert ecosystem of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, M. Z.

    2012-04-01

    Aims Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. However, most studies carried out to date on carbon (fluxes) in these ecosystems, such as soil respiration (RS), have neglected them. Also, winter RS is reported to be a significant component of annual carbon budget in other ecosystems, however, we have less knowledge about winter RS of BSCs in winter and its contribution to carbon cycle in desert regions. Therefore, the specific objectives of this study were to: (i) quantify the effects of different BSCs types (moss crust, algae crust, physical crust) on the winter RS; (ii) explore relationships of RS against soil temperature and water content for different BSCs, and (iii) assess the relative contribution of BSCs to the annual amount of C released by RS at desert ecosystem level. Methods Site Description The study sites are located at the southeast fringe of the Tengger Desert in the Shapotou region of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region [37°32'N and 105°02'E, at 1340 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.)], western China. The mean daily temperature in January is -6.9°C , while it is 24.3°C in July. The mean annual precipitation is 186 mm, approximately 80% of which falls between May and September. The annual potential evaporation is 2800 mm. The landscape of the Shapotou region is characterized by large and dense reticulate barchans chains of sand dunes that migrate south-eastward at a velocity of 3-6 m per year. The soil is loose, infertile and mobile and can thus be classified as orthic sierozem and Aeolian sandy soil. Additionally, the soil has a consistent gravimetric water content that ranges from 3 to 4%. The groundwater in the study area is too deep (>60 m) to support large areas of the native vegetation cover; therefore, precipitation is usually the only source of freshwater. The predominant native plants are Hedysarum scoparium Fisch. and Agriophyllum squarrosum Moq., Psammochloa cillosa Bor, which scattered

  2. Biological Soil Crusts Influence Hydrologic Function Differently in Various Deserts And Future Climate and Land Use will Affect These Relationships

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belnap, J.; Wilcox, B.; Barger, N.; Herrick, J.; van Soyoc, M.

    2012-04-01

    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) can completely cover plant interspaces in dryland regions, and can constitute 70% or more of the living ground cover. In these areas, where precipitation is low and soils have low fertility, native plants often rely on intact biological soil crusts to provide water and nutrient flow to the broadly scattered vegetation. In cool desert systems, well-developed biocrusts (dominated by lichens and mosses) roughen the soil surface, increasing residence time of surface water flow. This results in increased and relatively homogenous infiltration of water into the soils. Filaments associated with cyanobacteria, fungi, mosses and lichens increase aggregate formation and stabilize soils, thus reducing sediment production, with well-developed biocrusts conferring much more stability on soils than less developed cyanobacterial dominated biocrusts. In hot and hyper-arid desert systems, biocrusts are generally less developed and dominated by cyanobacteria. These biocrusts generally increase runoff from plant interspaces to downslope vegetation. While reduced infiltration may seem to be negative, it can actually be advantageous to the downslope plants, as they may require small watersheds above them to provide the needed amount of water and nutrients required for their growth. Thus, infiltration and nutrient additions are more heterogenous than in cool desert systems. Soil surface disturbance and climate change have the potential to dramatically alter the species composition and thereby function of biological soil crusts in different deserts. Compressional disturbances results in reduced cover and a loss of lichen and moss species. Changes in climate regimes, such as an increase in temperature or a shift in the amount, timing, or intensity of rainfall, will influence the composition and physiological functioning of biological soil crusts, as various crust components have different photosynthetic and respiration responses to temperature and

  3. Evidence from xenoliths for a dynamic lower crust, eastern Mojave Desert, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hanchar, John M.; Miller, Calvin F.; Wooden, Joseph L.; Bennett, Victoria C.; Staude, John-Mark G.

    1994-01-01

    Garnet-rich xenoliths in a Tertiary dike in the eastern Mojave Desert, California, preserve information about the nature and history of the lower crust. These xenoliths record pressures of ∼ 10–12 kbar and temperatures of ∼ 750–800°C. Approximately 25% have mafic compositions and bear hornblende + plagioclase + clinopyroxene + quartz in addition to garnet. The remainder, all of which contain quartz, include quartzose, quartzofeldspathic, and aluminous (kyanite±sillimanite-bearing) varieties. Most xenoliths have identifiable protoliths—mafic from intermediate or mafic igneous rocks, quartzose from quartz-rich sedimentary rocks, aluminous from Al-rich graywackes or pelites, and quartzofeldspathic from feldspathic sediments and/or intermediate to felsic igneous rocks. However, many have unusual chemical compositions characterized by high FeO(t), FeO(t)/MgO, Al2O3, and Al2O3/CaO, which correspond to high garnet abundance. The mineralogy and major-and trace-element compositions are consistent with the interpretation that the xenoliths are the garnet-rich residues of high-pressure crustal melting, from which granitic melt was extracted. High 87Sr/86Sr and low 143Nd/144Nd, together with highly discordant zircons from a single sample with Pb/Pb ages of ∼ 1.7 Ga, demonstrate that the crustal material represented by the xenoliths is at least as old as Early Proterozoic. This supracrustal-bearing lithologic assemblage may have been emplaced in the lower crust during either Proterozoic or Mesozoic orogenesis, but Sr and Nd model ages> 4 Ga require late Phanerozoic modification of parent/daughter ratios, presumably during the anatectic event. Pressures of equilibration indicate that peak metamorphism and melting occurred before the Mojave crust had thinned to its current thickness of <30 km. The compositions of the xenoliths suggest that the lower crust here is grossly similar to estimated world-wide lower-crustal compositions in terms of silica and mafic content

  4. Responses of photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of two moss crusts from a desert biological soil crust to supplementary UV-B radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hui, Rong; Li, Xinrong; Zhao, Yang; Pan, Yanxia

    2016-04-01

    Our understanding of plant responses to supplementary ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation due to stratospheric ozone depletion has improved over recent decades. However, research on biological soil crusts (BSCs) is scarce and it remains controversial. Laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the influence of UV-B radiation on the Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis isolated from BSCs, which are both dominant species in moss crusts found within patches of shrubs and herbs in the Tengger Desert of northern China. The aim of the current work was to evaluate whether supplementary UV-B radiation affected photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of two moss crusts and whether response differences were observed between the crusts. Four levels of UV-B radiation of 2.75 (control), 3.08, 3.25, and 3.41 W m-2 was achieved using fluorescence tube systems for 10 days, simulating 0, 6, 9, and 12% of stratospheric ozone at the latitude of Shapotou, respectively. We measured photosynthetic apparatus as assessed by chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters, photosynthetic pigment contents, and observations of chloroplast ultrastructure. Additionally, soluble proteins and UV-B absorbing compounds were simultaneously investigated. The results of this study showed that chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters (i.e., the maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, the effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, and photochemical quenching coefficient), photosynthetic pigment contents, soluble protein contents, total flavonoid contents and the ultrastructure were negatively influenced by elevated UV-B radiation and the degree of detrimental effects significantly increased with the intensity of UV-B radiation. Moreover, results demonstrated that the negative effects on photosynthesis and chloroplast ultrastructure were more serious in B. argenteum than that in D. vinealis. These results may not only provide a potential mechanism for supplemental UV-B effects on

  5. Feasibility of EPS-producing bacterial inoculation to speed up the sand aggregation in the Gurbantunggut Desert, Northwestern China.

    PubMed

    Wu, Nan; Pan, Hui-Xia; Qiu, Dong; Zhang, Yuan-Ming

    2014-12-01

    Exopolymers are known to be useful in improving sand aggregation and the development of biological soil crusts (BSCs). A facultative bacterium KLBB0001 was isolated from BSCs in the Gurbantunggut Desert in northwestern China. With the strong effective production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), this strain exhibits a multifunctional role for sand stabilization and maintenance of water under laboratory conditions. Practical testing of the feasibility of its inoculation to speed up BSC recovery in the field was also conducted in this experiment. This strain stimulated the heterotrophic community assembly in the topsoil layer (0-2 cm) before the commencement of autotrophic cyanobacteria, while also significantly increasing the number of bacteria, actinomycetes, and content of total phosphorus, available nitrogen, and available phosphorus. However, the low nitrogenase activity (NA) (0.57 µmol/h) that was observed caused us to doubt the previous identification as Azotobacter Beijerinck that was based on physiological and biochemical properties. A phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that this strain was a member of the genus Paenibacillus. It exhibited the closest phylogenetic affinity and highest sequence similarity to the strain Paenibacillus mucilaginosus VKPM B-7519 (sequence similarity 99.698%), which is well known as a typical silicate-weathering bacteria that releases lots of nutritional ions from minerals and the soil. Because P. mucilaginosus can excrete carbonic anhydrase (CA) to capture atmospheric CO2 through hydration of CO2 , it is possible that KLBB0001 might use a similar strategy for heterotrophs in the BSCs to sequester CO2 from the air. Because of its potential role in the reestablishment of the BSC ecosystem due to its ability to improve water relations, sand stabilization, and chemical erosion, EPS-producing bacterial inoculation was concluded to be a suitable and effective treatment for BSC recovery

  6. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D. (Principal Investigator); Breed, C. S.

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Recent acquisition of generally high quality color prints for most of the test sites has enabled the project to make significant advances in preparing mosaics of sand desert areas under study. Computer enhancement of imagery of selected sites, where details of complex dune forms need to be determined, has been achieved with arrival of computer-compatible ERTS-1 tapes. Further, a comparator, recently received, gives precise visual measurements of width, length, and spacing of sand bodies and so improves comparison of patterns in various test sites. Considerable additional meteorological data recently received on sand-moving winds in China, Pakistan, Libya and other areas enabled much progress to be made in developing overlays for the dune mosaics. These data show direction, speed, and frequency of winds. Other new data for use in preparing overlays used with ERTS-1 image mosaics include ground truth on moisture control, geologic settings, and plant distribution. With the addition of visual observation data and prints from hand-held photography now being obtained by the Skylab mission, much progress in interpreting the patterns of sand seas for 17 desert sites is anticipated.

  7. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D. (Principal Investigator); Breed, C. S.

    1974-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Recent acquisition of generally high quality color prints for most of the test sites has enabled this project to make significant advances in preparing mosaics of sand desert areas under study. Computer enhancement of imagery, where details of complex dune forms need to be determined, has been achieved with arrival of computer-compatible ERTS-1 tapes. Further, a comparator, recently received, gives precise visual measurements of width, length, and spacing of sand bodies and so improves comparison of patterns in various test sites. Considerable additional meteorological data recently received on sand-moving winds in China, Pakistan, Libya, and other study areas enabled much progress to be made in developing overlays for the dune mosaics. These data show direction, speed, and frequency of winds. Other new data for use in preparing overlays used with ERTS-1 image mosaics include ground truth on moisture control, geologic settings, and plant distribution. With the addition of visual observation data and prints from hand-held photography now being obtained by the Skylab 4 mission, much progress in interpreting the patterns of sand seas for 17 desert sites is anticipated.

  8. Effects of Sand Dune Stabilization on the Spatial Pattern of Artemisia ordosica Population in Mu Us Desert, Northwest China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jiachen; Zhang, Yuqing; Fan, Dongqing; Qin, Shugao; Jia, Xin; Wu, Bin; Chen, Dong; Gao, Hao; Zhu, Linfeng

    2015-01-01

    Vegetation patterns are strongly influenced by sand mobility in desert ecosystems. However, little is known about the spatial patterns of Artemisia ordosica, a dominant shrub in the Mu Us desert of Northwest China, in relation to sand fixation. The aim of this study was to investigate and contrast the effects of sand dune stabilization on the population and spatial distribution of this desert shrub. Spatial autocorrelation, semi-variance analysis, and point-pattern analysis were used jointly in this study to investigate the spatial patterns of A. ordosica populations on dunes in Yanchi County of Ningxia, China. The results showed that the spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity declined gradually, and the distance between the clustered individuals shortened following sand dune fixation. Seedlings were more aggregated than adults in all stage of dune stabilization, and both were more aggregated on shifting sand dunes separately. Spatial associations of the seedlings with the adults were mostly positive at distances of 0-5 m in shifting sand dunes, and the spatial association changed from positive to neutral in semi-fixed sand dunes. The seedlings were spaced in an almost random pattern around the adults, and their distances from the adults did not seem to affect their locations in semi-fixed sand dunes. Furthermore, spatial associations of the seedlings with the adults were negative in the fixed sand dune. These findings demonstrate that sand stabilization is an important factor affecting the spatial patterns of A. ordosica populations in the Mu Us desert. These findings suggest that, strong association between individuals may be the mechanism to explain the spatial pattern formation at preliminary stage of dune fixation. Sand dune stabilization can change the spatial pattern of shrub population by weakening the spatial association between native shrub individuals, which may affect the development direction of desert shrubs.

  9. Effects of Sand Dune Stabilization on the Spatial Pattern of Artemisia ordosica Population in Mu Us Desert, Northwest China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jiachen; Zhang, Yuqing; Fan, Dongqing; Qin, Shugao; Jia, Xin; Wu, Bin; Chen, Dong; Gao, Hao; Zhu, Linfeng

    2015-01-01

    Vegetation patterns are strongly influenced by sand mobility in desert ecosystems. However, little is known about the spatial patterns of Artemisia ordosica, a dominant shrub in the Mu Us desert of Northwest China, in relation to sand fixation. The aim of this study was to investigate and contrast the effects of sand dune stabilization on the population and spatial distribution of this desert shrub. Spatial autocorrelation, semi-variance analysis, and point-pattern analysis were used jointly in this study to investigate the spatial patterns of A. ordosica populations on dunes in Yanchi County of Ningxia, China. The results showed that the spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity declined gradually, and the distance between the clustered individuals shortened following sand dune fixation. Seedlings were more aggregated than adults in all stage of dune stabilization, and both were more aggregated on shifting sand dunes separately. Spatial associations of the seedlings with the adults were mostly positive at distances of 0–5 m in shifting sand dunes, and the spatial association changed from positive to neutral in semi-fixed sand dunes. The seedlings were spaced in an almost random pattern around the adults, and their distances from the adults did not seem to affect their locations in semi-fixed sand dunes. Furthermore, spatial associations of the seedlings with the adults were negative in the fixed sand dune. These findings demonstrate that sand stabilization is an important factor affecting the spatial patterns of A. ordosica populations in the Mu Us desert. These findings suggest that, strong association between individuals may be the mechanism to explain the spatial pattern formation at preliminary stage of dune fixation. Sand dune stabilization can change the spatial pattern of shrub population by weakening the spatial association between native shrub individuals, which may affect the development direction of desert shrubs. PMID:26102584

  10. 78 FR 37845 - Meeting of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) Subgroup of the California Desert...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-06-24

    ... From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management Meeting of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) Subgroup of the... 92-463 and 94-579, that the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Subgroup of the California Desert...

  11. Mineralogical and sedimentological study of gypsiferous sands from the Saharian Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Somma, Roberta; Bella, Francesca

    2016-04-01

    A mineralogical and sedimentological study was carried out in Quaternary aeolian sands from the Sahara Desert (Tunisia and Libya). Gypsum resulted to be the dominant mineral (65%), whereas quartz resulted to be in significant amount (25%) in all samples. Aragonite and calcite, related to marine organisms, was found especially in the Libyan sands. Gypsum grains appear in euhedral crystals or as polycrystalline twinned crystals. Crystal habitus is pseudo-octahedric or tabular. Due to the euhedral habitus, the forms of the grains is discoid or bladed but with a low roundness. Quartz grains are mostly ialin or orange as the grain surfaces are coated with thin hematite films. Quartz grains dominantly appear as subhedral crystals. Habitus is prismatic or hexagonal. Due to the subhedral habitus, quartz grain forms can be classified as bladed with a low roundness. A minor amount of quartz grains is formed by well rounded and spherical grains showing frosted and pitted surfaces. The particle size analysis indicated that the studied sediments consist of well sorted very fine sands. The studied Quaternary aeolian sands can be classified as gypsiferous sands. Notwithstanding sands are well sorted, they are immature under a mineralogical and textural point of view. Particularly, gypsum formed in present or past sabkha and the amount of marine bioclasts should suggest that the source area of the Lybian gypsum grains could be a sabkha near the sea.

  12. Multi-Method Provenance Analysis of Namibian Desert Sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vermeesch, P.; Garzanti, E.

    2014-12-01

    Mineralogical, geochemical and geochronological provenance proxies each have their own strengths and weaknesses: a. Bulk geochemistry, framework petrography and heavy mineral compositions can differentiate between source areas characterised by different lithologies, but are sensitive to hydraulic sorting and chemical alteration. b. Detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology is insensitive to winnowing effects, but is 'blind' to lithologies devoid of zircon and cannot differentiate between first cycle and recycled sediments. c. Cosmogenic neon isotopes can be used to identify different generations of surface exposure while simultaneously tracking different magmatic sources. The challenge is then to combine these different proxies into a self consistent story, and do so in as objective a manner as possible. We here present a case study of Namibia's Namib Sand Sea and Skeleton Coast ergs, in which all the aforementioned methods have been combined using a three-way multidimensional scaling (aka INDividual Differences SCALing or INDSCAL) analysis: 1. Each of the datasets was represented by a 'dissimilarity matrix' of pairwise distances between samples. 2. The set of these matrices was fed into the INDSCAL algorithm, which produces two pieces of graphical output: the 'group configuration', which is a scatter plot or 'map' in which similar samples plot close together and dissimilar samples plot far apart, and the 'proxy weights', in which not the samples but the proxies are plotted according to the weight they attached to the 'group configuration' axes. The INDSCAL map of the Namibia dataset indicates that (a) long-shore drift of Orange River sediments dominates the coastal sediment compositions all along the Namibian coast until Angola, and (b) that light and heavy minerals tell complementary parts of the provenance story.

  13. Mycobiota of biological soil crusts in the Negev desert, Israel - differences on a regional and local scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grishkan, I.; Zaady, E.; Kidron, G.

    2012-04-01

    On a regional scale, we examined variations in microfungal communities inhabiting the biological soil crusts (BSC) and non-crusted soil of the northern and central Negev desert in 10 locations along a southward rainfall gradient (from 325 mm to 81 mm of annual rainfall). A total of 87 species from 49 genera were isolated using the soil dilution plate method. The mycobiota of BSC (80 species) was characterized by dominance of melanin-containing fungi, remarkable contribution of sexual Ascomycota, and low abundance of the typical soil genera Penicillium and Aspergillus. Morphological adaptations to the stressful desert environment were expressed in the prevalence of dark-colored microfungi with large, many-celled spores in the localities of the "drier" part of the rainfall gradient and in dark thick-walled fruit bodies of sexual ascomycetes. The abundance of melanin-containing species with multicellular spores was the only characteristic showed a highly significant (negative) correlation with the rainfall amount. We assume that the main factor influencing the content of these species was the latitudinal position of the locations, determining also the intensity of solar (UV) radiation. In the BSC communities, the xeric "desert" component (melanics, slow-reproducing fungi with large, thick-walled spores) was significantly more pronounced and the mesic "forest" component (Penicillium, fast-reproducing fungi with small, light-colored, and thin-walled spores) was much less represented than in the non-crusted shrub communities. In BSC, density of fungal isolates which can be considered an indirect characteristic of fungal biomass was significantly lower than in the non-crusted soil. Cluster analysis indicated that in most cases, the BSC and shrub localities, separated only by a few meters or less, differed on microfungal community structure much more significantly than BSC or shrub localities in the distance of tens of kilometers. The results of this analysis, together

  14. Element Geochemical Analysis of the Contribution of Aeolian Sand to Suspended Sediment in Desert Stream Flash Floods

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Haibing

    2014-01-01

    The interaction of wind and water in semiarid and arid areas usually leads to low-frequency flash flood events in desert rivers, which have adverse effects on river systems and ecology. In arid zones, many aeolian dune-fields terminate in stream channels and deliver aeolian sand to the channels. Although aeolian processes are common to many desert rivers, whether the aeolian processes contribute to fluvial sediment loss is still unknown. Here, we identified the aeolian-fluvial cycling process responsible for the high rate of suspended sediment transport in the Sudalaer desert stream in the Ordos plateau of China. On the basis of element geochemistry data analysis, we found that aeolian sand was similar to suspended sediment in element composition, which suggests that aeolian sand contributes to suspended sediment in flash floods. Scatter plots of some elements further confirm that aeolian sand is the major source of the suspended sediment. Factor analysis and the relation between some elements and suspended sediment concentration prove that the greater the aeolian process, the higher the suspended sediment concentration and the greater the contribution of aeolian sand to suspended sediment yield. We conclude that aeolian sand is the greatest contributor to flash floods in the Sudalaer desert stream. PMID:25089295

  15. Element geochemical analysis of the contribution of aeolian sand to suspended sediment in desert stream flash floods.

    PubMed

    Jia, Xiaopeng; Wang, Haibing

    2014-01-01

    The interaction of wind and water in semiarid and arid areas usually leads to low-frequency flash flood events in desert rivers, which have adverse effects on river systems and ecology. In arid zones, many aeolian dune-fields terminate in stream channels and deliver aeolian sand to the channels. Although aeolian processes are common to many desert rivers, whether the aeolian processes contribute to fluvial sediment loss is still unknown. Here, we identified the aeolian-fluvial cycling process responsible for the high rate of suspended sediment transport in the Sudalaer desert stream in the Ordos plateau of China. On the basis of element geochemistry data analysis, we found that aeolian sand was similar to suspended sediment in element composition, which suggests that aeolian sand contributes to suspended sediment in flash floods. Scatter plots of some elements further confirm that aeolian sand is the major source of the suspended sediment. Factor analysis and the relation between some elements and suspended sediment concentration prove that the greater the aeolian process, the higher the suspended sediment concentration and the greater the contribution of aeolian sand to suspended sediment yield. We conclude that aeolian sand is the greatest contributor to flash floods in the Sudalaer desert stream.

  16. Living in Salt: The formation and development of extremophile habitats and biosignatures within salt crusts of the hyperarid Atacama Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finstad, K. M.; Amundson, R.

    2013-12-01

    It has become increasing apparent that salt-rich deposits are present on the Martian surface and that aqueous alteration has occurred sometime during the planet's past. In the hyperarid Atacama Desert in Chile, an important Earth-based analogue to Mars, microbial life has been discovered inhabiting halite (NaCl) surface crust deposits. Is it possible that similar salt deposits on Mars once harbored microbial life? If so, what adaptations were likely necessary for survival in such an environment and what biosignatures are expected to remain? Although this fascinating ecosystem in the Atacama Desert has been recognized, neither the physical processes of halite crust formation, nor the microorganisms residing within the salts have been extensively studied. To better understand the formation and geochemical dynamics of this unique habitat, we chose two sites within the Atacama Desert which exhibit both active crust formation as well as the presence of microbial communities: one site is on a dry Holocene age lake bed, while the other is of Pleistocene age. At each site soil profiles were excavated and total geochemical analyses were performed. Field observations clearly showed that the soils exhibited transitions of carbonate to sulfate to chloride salt deposition with decreasing depth, and that the thickness and mass of halite in the surficial crust was related to the age of the soil. Isotope profiles of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur from these soils were also analyzed. Once exposed to the atmosphere, the halite crusts reside in a dynamic state of dissolution and erosion by wind and fog, and reformation due to fog and dew. In the crust nodules, microbial communities were sampled, in centimeter increments from the surface, for carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotope/concentration profiles. Our analyses help elucidate the physical and geochemical processes linked to the formation and evolution of these dynamic salt crusts, and the imprint of microbial life within them. A

  17. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The most significant result to date is recongition that complexes are indeed visible on ERTS-1 images, and that the extent and nature of dune fields in many remote areas of the world can, for the first time, be observed almost simultaneously and directly compared. The primary scientific problem is to determine accurately the relationships among certain patterns, trends, and boundaries clearly revealed on ERTS-1 imagery to true surface configurations of desert landforms, and further, to relate the defined features to controlling factors such as wind direction and intensity, moisture in the air and on the ground and barriers to sand movement. It is hoped to produce, by photographic and cartographic extraction from ERTS-1 images, a set of thematic maps that will illustrate the relationships of optical appearance of various materials and effects of the color of various sand bodies upon ERTS-1 images.

  18. Rapidly restoring biological soil crusts and ecosystem functions in a severely disturbed desert ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Chiquoine, Lindsay P; Abella, Scott R; Bowker, Matthew A

    2016-06-01

    Restoring biological soil crusts (biocrusts) in degraded drylands can contribute to recovery of ecosystem functions that have global implications, including erosion resistance and nutrient cycling. To examine techniques for restoring biocrusts, we conducted a replicated, factorial experiment on recently abandoned road surfaces by applying biocrust inoculation (salvaged and stored dry for two years), salvaged topsoil, an abiotic soil amendment (wood shavings), and planting of a dominant perennial shrub (Ambrosia dumosa). Eighteen months after treatments, we measured biocrust abundance and species composition, soil chlorophyll a content and fertility, and soil resistance to erosion. Biocrust addition significantly accelerated biocrust recovery on disturbed soils, including increasing lichen and moss cover and cyanobacteria colonization. Compared to undisturbed controls, inoculated plots had similar lichen and moss composition, recovered 43% of total cyanobacteria density, had similar soil chlorophyll content, and exhibited recovery of soil fertility and soil stability. Inoculation was the only treatment that generated lichen and moss cover. Topsoil application resulted in partial recovery of the cyanobacteria community and soil properties. Compared to untreated disturbed plots, topsoil application without inoculum increased cyanobacteria density by 186% and moderately improved soil chlorophyll and ammonium content and soil stability. Topsoil application produced 22% and 51% of the cyanobacteria density g⁻¹ soil compared to undisturbed and inoculated plots, respectively. Plots not treated with either topsoil or inoculum had significantly lower cyanobacteria density, soil chlorophyll and ammonium concentrations, and significantly higher soil nitrate concentration. Wood shavings and Ambrosia had no influence on biocrust lichen and moss species recovery but did affect cyanobacteria composition and soil fertility. Inoculation of severely disturbed soil with native

  19. Seed dormancy-breaking in a cold desert shrub in relation to sand temperature and moisture.

    PubMed

    Liu, Huiliang; Abudureheman, Buhailiqiemu; Zhang, Lingwei; Baskin, Jerry M; Baskin, Carol C; Zhang, Daoyuan

    2017-01-24

    Seasonal periodicity of seed germination and its relationship to seasonal changes in temperature and soil moisture have been well studied in seeds of species with physiological dormancy. However, relatively little information is available on the role of these environmental factors in controlling germination of seeds with physical dormancy (PY). Our primary aim was to determine if seeds of the cold desert sand dune semi-shrub Eremosparton songoricum exhibits seasonal periodicity of seed germination and the relationship between seed dormancy break and soil temperature and moisture. In the laboratory, seeds incubated on dry, wet, wet-dry and dry-wet sand were exposed to a 1-year sequence of temperature regimes simulating those in the field. In the field, seeds were buried at different depths on a sand dune, and germination of periodically exhumed seeds was tested at five temperature regimes during a 2-year period. In the one-year sequence of simulated natural temperature regimes, breaking of PY was more effective under constantly wet than under constantly dry conditions, and germination percentage was significantly higher under dry-wet than under wet-dry conditions. Seeds buried in the field exhibited a distinct peak of germination in spring and little or no germination in other seasons. The final (two-year) monthly cumulative germination percentage differed among burial depths and temperature, and it was highest (47%) in seeds buried at 3 cm and tested at 25/10 °C. A seed cohort of E. songoricum likely exhibits a long-term annual periodicity of spring germination in the field, and dormancy break appears to be driven by low (winter) temperatures and relatively high sand moisture content. To our knowledge this is the first study to document seasonal periodicity in seed germination in a cold desert species with PY and to identify the mechanism (at the whole-seed level) of its occurrence.

  20. Seed dormancy-breaking in a cold desert shrub in relation to sand temperature and moisture

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Huiliang; Abudureheman, Buhailiqiemu; Zhang, Lingwei; Baskin, Jerry M.; Baskin, Carol C.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Seasonal periodicity of seed germination and its relationship to seasonal changes in temperature and soil moisture have been well studied in seeds of species with physiological dormancy. However, relatively little information is available on the role of these environmental factors in controlling germination of seeds with physical dormancy (PY). Our primary aim was to determine if seeds of the cold desert sand dune semi-shrub Eremosparton songoricum exhibits seasonal periodicity of seed germination and the relationship between seed dormancy break and soil temperature and moisture. In the laboratory, seeds incubated on dry, wet, wet-dry and dry-wet sand were exposed to a 1-year sequence of temperature regimes simulating those in the field. In the field, seeds were buried at different depths on a sand dune, and germination of periodically exhumed seeds was tested at five temperature regimes during a 2-year period. In the 1-year sequence of simulated natural temperature regimes, breaking of PY was more effective under constantly wet than under constantly dry conditions, and germination percentage was significantly higher under dry-wet than under wet-dry conditions. Seeds buried in the field exhibited a distinct peak of germination in spring and little or no germination in other seasons. The final (2-year) monthly cumulative germination percentage differed among burial depths and temperature, and it was highest (47 %) in seeds buried at 3 cm and tested at 25/10 °C. A seed cohort of E. songoricum likely exhibits a long-term annual periodicity of spring germination in the field, and dormancy break appears to be driven by low (winter) temperatures and relatively high sand moisture content. To our knowledge this is the first study to document seasonal periodicity in seed germination in a cold desert species with PY and to identify the mechanism (at the whole-seed level) of its occurrence. PMID:28122736

  1. Don’t bust the biological soil crust: Preserving and restoring an important desert resource

    Treesearch

    Sue Miller; Steve Warren; Larry St. Clair

    2017-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are a complex of microscopic organisms growing on the soil surface in many arid and semi-arid ecosystems. These crusts perform the important role of stabilizing soil and reducing or eliminating water and wind erosion. One of the largest threats to biological soil crusts in the arid and semi-arid areas of the western United States is mechanical...

  2. Germination, survival and growth of three vascular plants on biological soil crusts from a Mexican tropical desert.

    PubMed

    Godínez-Alvarez, H; Morín, C; Rivera-Aguilar, V

    2012-01-01

    Information about the effects of biological soil crusts (BSC) on germination, seedling survival and growth of vascular plants is controversial because they can have positive, neutral or negative effects. This controversy may be because most studies conducted until now have just analysed one or two recruitment stages independently. To understand the BSC effects on vascular plants, it is necessary to consider each stage of the recruitment process and synthesise all this information. The goal of this study was twofold. First, we analyse germination, seedling survival and growth of three vascular plants (Agave marmorata, Prosopis laevigata and Neobuxbaumia tetetzo) on BSC (cyanobacteria and mixed crust) from a tropical desert region of south-central México. Second, we synthesise the information to determine the total effect of BSC on plant species performance. We conducted experiments under controlled conditions to evaluate the proportion of germinated seeds, proportion of surviving seedlings and seedling dry weight in BSC and bare soil. Results showed that BSC have different effects on germination, seedling survival and growth of plant species. Plant species performance was qualitatively higher on BSC than bare soil. The highest performance of A. marmorata and P. laevigata was observed on cyanobacteria and mixed crusts, respectively. The highest performance of N. tetetzo was on both crust types.

  3. Cryptogamic communities in biological soil crusts in arid deserts of China: Diversity and their relationships to habitats in different scales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, X. R.; He, M. Z.; Li, X. J.; Jia, R. L.

    2012-04-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are widespread communities of various diminutive organisms, including cryptogams such as cyanobacteria, algae, lichens and mosses, and other invisible organisms that are closely integrated with particles of topsoil. Few studies have considered their diversity and distribution pattern as related to environmental and climatic factors at different scales - in particular, little is known concerning the factors inducing the differences in crustal floral diversity for arid deserts in China. We investigated the distribution and characteristics of crustal communities with a total of 350 soil samplings in the main desert regions of northern China: the Horqin Sandland, Mu Us Sandland-Ordos Plateau, Tengger-Alxa Plateau, Qaidam Desert and Guerbantunggut Desert, which present a precipitation gradient, reducing from 450 mm in eastern to 80-100 mm in western deserts. The maximum cryptogamic species richness in crustal communities was 66, 42, 56, 22 and 54, respectively, in the above deserts. In general, species richness and biomass of crustal mosses were positive related with precipitation, while that of cyanobacteria and algae, as well as lichens were negative at a landscape scale. The results indicated topsoil physiochemical properties largely influenced the distribution pattern of crustal communities at the regional scale. Fine-textured and gypsum soils and soils with higher pH were favorable for various lichens, which were restricted by soils with higher total salt content. Moss species and biomass were closely related with soil water content rather than other properties, whereas there was higher diversity in cyanobacteria and algae at the site with relatively dry topsoil. In addition, the cover and biomass of mosses was positive correlated with the cover of C3 plants such as xerophytic shrubs due to providing shade. However, cover and biomass of lichens, cyanobacteria and algae were closely correlated with C4 plants, especially annuals

  4. SAND FLUX IN THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT, NEW MEXICO, USA, AND THE INFLUENCE OF MESQUITE-DOMINATED LANDSCAPES

    EPA Science Inventory

    This study was designed to test two hypotheses: (1) that land dominated by mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) is the most important area for active sand movement at the Jornada Experimental Range, located in the northern part of the Chihuahuan desert, and (2) that the most active san...

  5. SAND FLUX IN THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT, NEW MEXICO, USA, AND THE INFLUENCE OF MESQUITE-DOMINATED LANDSCAPES

    EPA Science Inventory

    This study was designed to test two hypotheses: (1) that land dominated by mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) is the most important area for active sand movement at the Jornada Experimental Range, located in the northern part of the Chihuahuan desert, and (2) that the most active san...

  6. Changes in aggregation states of light-harvesting complexes as a mechanism for modulating energy transfer in desert crust cyanobacteria

    PubMed Central

    Bar Eyal, Leeat; Cohen, Eyal; Eisenberg, Ido; Tamburu, Carmen; Dorogi, Márta; Ünnep, Renata; Nevo, Reinat; Raviv, Uri; Reich, Ziv; Garab, Győző; van Amerongen, Herbert; Paltiel, Yossi; Keren, Nir

    2017-01-01

    In this paper we propose an energy dissipation mechanism that is completely reliant on changes in the aggregation state of the phycobilisome light-harvesting antenna components. All photosynthetic organisms regulate the efficiency of excitation energy transfer (EET) to fit light energy supply to biochemical demands. Not many do this to the extent required of desert crust cyanobacteria. Following predawn dew deposition, they harvest light energy with maximum efficiency until desiccating in the early morning hours. In the desiccated state, absorbed energy is completely quenched. Time and spectrally resolved fluorescence emission measurements of the desiccated desert crust Leptolyngbya ohadii strain identified (i) reduced EET between phycobilisome components, (ii) shorter fluorescence lifetimes, and (iii) red shift in the emission spectra, compared with the hydrated state. These changes coincide with a loss of the ordered phycobilisome structure, evident from small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering and cryo-transmission electron microscopy data. Based on these observations we propose a model where in the hydrated state the organized rod structure of the phycobilisome supports directional EET to reaction centers with minimal losses due to thermal dissipation. In the desiccated state this structure is lost, giving way to more random aggregates. The resulting EET path will exhibit increased coupling to the environment and enhanced quenching. PMID:28808031

  7. Changes in aggregation states of light-harvesting complexes as a mechanism for modulating energy transfer in desert crust cyanobacteria.

    PubMed

    Bar Eyal, Leeat; Ranjbar Choubeh, Reza; Cohen, Eyal; Eisenberg, Ido; Tamburu, Carmen; Dorogi, Márta; Ünnep, Renata; Appavou, Marie-Sousai; Nevo, Reinat; Raviv, Uri; Reich, Ziv; Garab, Győző; van Amerongen, Herbert; Paltiel, Yossi; Keren, Nir

    2017-08-29

    In this paper we propose an energy dissipation mechanism that is completely reliant on changes in the aggregation state of the phycobilisome light-harvesting antenna components. All photosynthetic organisms regulate the efficiency of excitation energy transfer (EET) to fit light energy supply to biochemical demands. Not many do this to the extent required of desert crust cyanobacteria. Following predawn dew deposition, they harvest light energy with maximum efficiency until desiccating in the early morning hours. In the desiccated state, absorbed energy is completely quenched. Time and spectrally resolved fluorescence emission measurements of the desiccated desert crust Leptolyngbya ohadii strain identified (i) reduced EET between phycobilisome components, (ii) shorter fluorescence lifetimes, and (iii) red shift in the emission spectra, compared with the hydrated state. These changes coincide with a loss of the ordered phycobilisome structure, evident from small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering and cryo-transmission electron microscopy data. Based on these observations we propose a model where in the hydrated state the organized rod structure of the phycobilisome supports directional EET to reaction centers with minimal losses due to thermal dissipation. In the desiccated state this structure is lost, giving way to more random aggregates. The resulting EET path will exhibit increased coupling to the environment and enhanced quenching.

  8. Effects of sand burial on biomass, chlorophyll fluorescence and extracellular polysaccharides of man-made cyanobacterial crusts under experimental conditions.

    PubMed

    Wang, WeiBo; Yang, CuiYun; Tang, DongShan; Li, DunHai; Liu, YongDing; Hu, ChunXiang

    2007-08-01

    Soil cyanobacterial crusts occur throughout the world, especially in the semiarid and arid regions. It always encounters sand burial, which is an important feature of mobile sand dunes. A greenhouse study was conducted to determine the effects of sand burial on biomass, chlorophyll fluorescence and extracellular polysaccharides of man-made cyanobacterial crusts in six periods of time (0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 d after burying) and at five depths (0, 0.2, 0.5, 1 and 2 cm). The results indicated that with the increase of the burial time and burial depth extracellular polysaccharides content and Fv/Fm decreased correspondingly and there were no significant differences between 20 and 30 burial days under different burial depths. The degradation of chlorophyll a content appeared only at 20 and 30 burial days and there was also no significant difference between them under different burial depths. It was also observed a simultaneous decrease of the values of the Fv/Fm and the content of extracellular polysaccharides happened in the crusted cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus Gom. It may suggest that there exists a relationship between extracellular polysaccharides and recovery of the activity of photosystem II (PS II) after rehydration.

  9. Impact of environmental factors and biological soil crust types on soil respiration in a desert ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Feng, Wei; Zhang, Yuqing; Jia, Xin; Wu, Bin; Zha, Tianshan; Qin, Shugao; Wang, Ben; Shao, Chenxi; Liu, Jiabin; Fa, Keyu

    2014-01-01

    The responses of soil respiration to environmental conditions have been studied extensively in various ecosystems. However, little is known about the impacts of temperature and moisture on soils respiration under biological soil crusts. In this study, CO2 efflux from biologically-crusted soils was measured continuously with an automated chamber system in Ningxia, northwest China, from June to October 2012. The highest soil respiration was observed in lichen-crusted soil (0.93 ± 0.43 µmol m-2 s-1) and the lowest values in algae-crusted soil (0.73 ± 0.31 µmol m-2 s-1). Over the diurnal scale, soil respiration was highest in the morning whereas soil temperature was highest in the midday, which resulted in diurnal hysteresis between the two variables. In addition, the lag time between soil respiration and soil temperature was negatively correlated with the soil volumetric water content and was reduced as soil water content increased. Over the seasonal scale, daily mean nighttime soil respiration was positively correlated with soil temperature when moisture exceeded 0.075 and 0.085 m3 m-3 in lichen- and moss-crusted soil, respectively. However, moisture did not affect on soil respiration in algae-crusted soil during the study period. Daily mean nighttime soil respiration normalized by soil temperature increased with water content in lichen- and moss-crusted soil. Our results indicated that different types of biological soil crusts could affect response of soil respiration to environmental factors. There is a need to consider the spatial distribution of different types of biological soil crusts and their relative contributions to the total C budgets at the ecosystem or landscape level.

  10. Impact of Environmental Factors and Biological Soil Crust Types on Soil Respiration in a Desert Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Wei; Zhang, Yuqing; Jia, Xin; Wu, Bin; Zha, Tianshan; Qin, Shugao; Wang, Ben; Shao, Chenxi; Liu, Jiabin; Fa, Keyu

    2014-01-01

    The responses of soil respiration to environmental conditions have been studied extensively in various ecosystems. However, little is known about the impacts of temperature and moisture on soils respiration under biological soil crusts. In this study, CO2 efflux from biologically-crusted soils was measured continuously with an automated chamber system in Ningxia, northwest China, from June to October 2012. The highest soil respiration was observed in lichen-crusted soil (0.93±0.43 µmol m−2 s−1) and the lowest values in algae-crusted soil (0.73±0.31 µmol m−2 s−1). Over the diurnal scale, soil respiration was highest in the morning whereas soil temperature was highest in the midday, which resulted in diurnal hysteresis between the two variables. In addition, the lag time between soil respiration and soil temperature was negatively correlated with the soil volumetric water content and was reduced as soil water content increased. Over the seasonal scale, daily mean nighttime soil respiration was positively correlated with soil temperature when moisture exceeded 0.075 and 0.085 m3 m−3 in lichen- and moss-crusted soil, respectively. However, moisture did not affect on soil respiration in algae-crusted soil during the study period. Daily mean nighttime soil respiration normalized by soil temperature increased with water content in lichen- and moss-crusted soil. Our results indicated that different types of biological soil crusts could affect response of soil respiration to environmental factors. There is a need to consider the spatial distribution of different types of biological soil crusts and their relative contributions to the total C budgets at the ecosystem or landscape level. PMID:25050837

  11. Soil fertility in deserts: a review on the influence of biological soil crusts and the effect of soil surface disturbance on nutrient inputs and losses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reynolds, R.; Phillips, S.; Duniway, M.; Belnap, J.

    2003-01-01

    Sources of desert soil fertility include parent material weathering, aeolian deposition, and on-site C and N biotic fixation. While parent materials provide many soil nutrients, aeolian deposition can provide up to 75% of plant-essential nutrients including N, P, K, Mg, Na, Mn, Cu, and Fe. Soil surface biota are often sticky, and help retain wind-deposited nutrients, as well as providing much of the N inputs. Carbon inputs are from both plants and soil surface biota. Most desert soils are protected by cyanobacterial-lichen-moss soil crusts, chemical crusts and/or desert pavement. Experimental disturbances applied in US deserts show disruption of soil surfaces result in decreased N and C inputs from soil biota by up to 100%. The ability to glue aeolian deposits in place is compromised, and underlying soils are exposed to erosion. The ability to withstand wind increases with biological and physical soil crust development. While most undisturbed sites show little sediment production, disturbance by vehicles or livestock produce up to 36 times more sediment production, with soil movement initiated at wind velocities well below commonly-occurring wind speeds. Soil fines and flora are often concentrated in the top 3 mm of the soil surface. Winds across disturbed areas can quickly remove this material from the soil surface, thereby potentially removing much of current and future soil fertility. Thus, disturbances of desert soil surfaces can both reduce fertility inputs and accelerate fertility losses.

  12. Population differentiation and the effects of herbivory and sand compaction on the subterranean growth of a desert lily.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-R, Natalia; Ward, David; Saltz, David

    2006-01-01

    Differences in level of herbivory can select for local adaptation and genetic differentiation of plant populations in different environments. Mean bulb depth of the desert lily Pancratium sickenbergeri, differs considerably among populations differing in the level of herbivory by the dorcas gazelle. The gazelle digs in the sand to remove most of the bulb of the lily. Deeper bulbs have less material removed by herbivory than shallow bulbs and have higher fitness. A possible confounding factor is the degree of sand compaction, which may retard the downward growth of the bulb. We conducted a common garden experiment with 2 sand types with seeds from source populations with different levels of herbivory. There was a large genetic difference among populations. Two of 3 analyses indicated that there was an interaction between population and sand type, indicating that there is a heritable component of plasticity.

  13. Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water by Absorptive Media-U.S. EPA Demonstration Project at Desert Sands MDWCA, NM Final Performance Evaluation Report

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report documents the activities performed and the results obtained for the arsenic removal treatment technology demonstration project at the Desert Sands Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (MDWCA) facility in Anthony, NM. The objectives of the project were to evalu...

  14. Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water by Absorptive Media-U.S. EPA Demonstration Project at Desert Sands MDWCA, NM Final Performance Evaluation Report

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report documents the activities performed and the results obtained for the arsenic removal treatment technology demonstration project at the Desert Sands Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (MDWCA) facility in Anthony, NM. The objectives of the project were to evalu...

  15. Nd-Sr isotope geochemistry of fine-grained sands in the basin-type deserts, West China: Implications for the source mechanism and atmospheric transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rao, Wenbo; Tan, Hongbing; Chen, Jun; Ji, Junfeng; Chen, Yang; Pan, Yaodong; Zhang, Wenbing

    2015-10-01

    The basin-type deserts of West China are among the greatest dust emission areas in the world. Mineral dust that is emitted from the deserts is transported and deposited in east-central China and even in far-east regions. This study investigates the Nd-Sr isotopic compositions of fine-grained surface sands (< 75 μm) from two basin-type deserts of West China (the Taklimakan and Gurbantunggut deserts) to clarify the source areas and atmospheric transport of mineral dust. The Nd isotopes are useful for tracing the provenance and transport of sediments because they depend on the source rocks and are usually used with Sr isotopes which are affected by multiple factors such as chemical weathering, particle sorting and parent rock. The radiogenic isotopic compositions of the dune sands from the Taklimakan Desert range from εNd (0) = - 10.9 to - 15 and 87Sr/86Sr = 0.714 to 0.718, while those of the dune sands from the Gurbantunggut Desert range from εNd (0) = - 4.5 to - 6 and 87Sr/86Sr = 0.711 to 0.713. The isotopic compositions of the fine-grained surface sands are not spatially uniform within each desert and are controlled by the lithological characteristics of the tectonic units in which the deserts are located. The isotopic comparison of the dune sands with other sediments indicates that tectonic denudation and fluvial processes are the main mechanisms of fine particle production of the modern desert sands. In terms of isotope analyses and forward trajectory results, it is further found that the mineral dust is deposited not only in proximal areas, such as the Hexi Corridor, the Chinese Loess Plateau and the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau, but also in distal regions, such as Japan, the Pacific Ocean and Greenland once it is blown out of the Taklimakan Desert. However, the transport and sinks of mineral dust vary with the atmospheric currents.

  16. [Effects of vegetation cover on physical and chemical properties of bio-crust and under-layer soil in Horqin Sand Land].

    PubMed

    Zhao, Ha-Lin; Guo, Yi-Rui; Zhou, Rui-Lian; Zhao, Xue-Yong

    2009-07-01

    To understand the effects of different vegetation cover on the bio-crust and its under-layer soil in Horqin Sand Land, the bio-crust and 0-5 cm soil samples in Artemisia frigida, Salix microstachya, Populus simonii, and Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica stands were collected, and their physical and chemical properties were studied. After fifteen years enclosure protection and vegetation establishment, the flowing sand dune in most natural and artificial vegetation sites was covered with bio-crusts. The coverage degree of the crust was 50%-80%, with a thickness of 1-2 cm. In S. microstachya stand, the crust thickness, hardness, and organic matter and nutrient contents were the highest, followed by in P. sylvestris var. mongolica stand, and in A. frigida and A. frigida stands. Moss crust had higher thickness, hardness, and organic matter and nutrient contents than lichen crust. Comparing with those in flowing sand land, the physical and chemical properties of under-layer soil in test stands were improved obviously, the improvement degree being higher under moss crust than under lichen crust, and higher in S. microstachya and P. sylvestris var. mongolica stands than in A. frigida and P. simonii stands. Vegetations with moderate height and rich branches and leaves were more helpful to the development of bio-crust and the improvement of under-layer soil, because they could reduce wind velocity and accumulate more dust and litters, and the development of moss crust was more favorable than lichen crust to the improvement of its under-layer soil.

  17. Microbial colonization of Ca-sulfate crusts in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert: implications for the search for life on Mars.

    PubMed

    Wierzchos, J; Cámara, B; de Los Ríos, A; Davila, A F; Sánchez Almazo, I M; Artieda, O; Wierzchos, K; Gómez-Silva, B; McKay, C; Ascaso, C

    2011-01-01

    The scarcity of liquid water in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert makes this region one of the most challenging environments for life on Earth. The low numbers of microbial cells in the soils suggest that within the Atacama Desert lies the dry limit for life on our planet. Here, we show that the Ca-sulfate crusts of this hyperarid core are the habitats of lithobiontic micro-organisms. This microporous, translucent substrate is colonized by epilithic lichens, as well as endolithic free-living algae, fungal hyphae, cyanobacteria and non photosynthetic bacteria. We also report a novel type of endolithic community, "hypoendoliths", colonizing the undermost layer of the crusts. The colonization of gypsum crusts within the hyperarid core appears to be controlled by the moisture regime. Our data shows that the threshold for colonization is crossed within the dry core, with abundant colonization in gypsum crusts at one study site, while crusts at a drier site are virtually devoid of life. We show that the cumulative time in 1 year of relative humidity (RH) above 60% is the best parameter to explain the difference in colonization between both sites. This is supported by controlled humidity experiments, where we show that colonies of endolithic cyanobacteria in the Ca-sulfate crust undergo imbibition process at RH >60%. Assuming that life once arose on Mars, it is conceivable that Martian micro-organisms sought refuge in similar isolated evaporite microenvironments during their last struggle for life as their planet turned arid.

  18. Geodermatophilus africanus sp. nov., a halotolerant actinomycete isolated from Saharan desert sand.

    PubMed

    Montero-Calasanz, María del Carmen; Göker, Markus; Pötter, Gabriele; Rohde, Manfred; Spröer, Cathrin; Schumann, Peter; Gorbushina, Anna A; Klenk, Hans-Peter

    2013-08-01

    A novel Gram-strain positive, aerobic, actinobacterial strain, designated CF11/1(T), was isolated from a sand sample obtained in the Sahara Desert, Chad. The black-pigmented isolate was aerobic and exhibited optimal growth from 25 to 35 °C at pH 6.0-8.0 and with 0-8 % (w/v) NaCl, indicating that it is a halotolerant mesophile. Chemotaxonomic and molecular characteristics of the isolate matched those described for members of the genus Geodermatophilus. The G+C content in the genome was 74.4 mol%. The peptidoglycan contained meso-diaminopimelic acid as diagnostic diaminoacid. The main phospholipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol and a minor fraction of phosphatidylglycerol; MK-9(H4) was the dominant menaquinone, and galactose was detected as a diagnostic sugar. The major cellular fatty acid was branched-chain saturated acid iso-C16:0. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences showed 95.3-98.6 % pairwise sequence identity with the members of the genus Geodermatophilus. Based on phenotypic and chemotaxonomic properties, as well as phylogenetic distinctiveness, the isolate represents a novel species, Geodermatophilus africanus, with the type strain CF11/1(T) (DSM 45422 = CCUG 62969 = MTCC 11556).

  19. Temporal variation in community composition, pigmentation, and Fv/Fm of desert cyanobacterial soil crusts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowker, M.A.; Reed, S.C.; Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.

    2002-01-01

    Summers on the Colorado Plateau (USA) are typified by harsh conditions such as high temperatures, brief soil hydration periods, and high UV and visible radiation. We investigated whether community composition, physiological status, and pigmentation might vary in biological soil crusts as a result of such conditions. Representative surface cores were sampled at the ENE, WSW, and top microaspects of 20 individual soil crust pedicels at a single site in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, in spring and fall of 1999. Frequency of cyanobacterial taxa, pigment concentrations, and dark adapted quantum yield (Fv/Fm) were measured for each core. The frequency of major cyanobacterial taxa was lower in the fall compared to spring. The less-pigmented cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus showed significant mortality when not in the presence of Nostoc spp. and Scytonema myochrous (Dillw.) Agardh. (both synthesizers of UV radiation-linked pigments) but had little or no mortality when these species were abundant. We hypothesize that the sunscreen pigments produced by Nostoc and Scytonema in the surface of crusts protect other, less-pigmented taxa. When fall and spring samples were compared, overall cyanobacterial frequency was lower in fall, while sunscreen pigment concentrations, chlorophyll a concentration, and Fv/Fm were higher in fall. The ratio of cyanobacterial frequency/chlorophyll a concentrations was 2-3 times lower in fall than spring. Because chlorophyll a is commonly used as a surrogate measure of soil cyanobacterial biomass, these results indicate that seasonality needs to be taken into consideration. In the fall sample, most pigments associated with UV radiation protection or repair were at their highest concentrations on pedicel tops and WSW microaspects, and at their lowest concentrations on ENE microaspects. We suggest that differential pigment concentrations between microaspects are induced by varying UV radiation dosage at the soil surface on these different

  20. Alluvial sediment or playas: What is the dominant source of sand and silt in desert soil vesicular A horizons, southwest USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sweeney, Mark R.; McDonald, Eric V.; Markley, Christopher E.

    2013-03-01

    Vesicular A (Av) soil horizons form beneath desert pavements from the accretion of aeolian sediment (dust) commonly thought to be derived primarily from desiccating pluvial lakes and playas, with contributions from ephemeral washes and alluvial fans. Particle size distributions of Av horizons are typically bimodal with primary modes of very fine silt and fine sand, suggesting that the horizon matrix is derived from multiple sources. Here we conduct detailed chemical and physical analysis of both Av horizon soil samples and potential sources of aeolian sediment to better constrain the relative contributions of dust associated with the development of Av horizons. Geochemical data from both sand (125-250 µm) and silt (2-32 µm) fractions in Av horizons and potential dust sources in the eastern Mojave Desert and western Sonora Desert, USA, point to large contributions from nearby sources including distal alluvial fans and washes, and comparably lower contributions from regional sources such as playas. The silt mode is derived from suspension transport of dust, and the fine sand mode is derived from saltating sand. The desiccation of pluvial lakes in the Mojave Desert is commonly believed to have driven episodes of aeolian activity, contributing to sand dunes and Av horizon formation. We propose that alluvial fans and washes are underappreciated as desert dust sources and that pulses of dust from late Pleistocene and Holocene alluvial fans dwarfed pulses of dust from desiccating pluvial lakes in the eastern Mojave Desert.

  1. SAR studies in the Yuma Desert, Arizona: Sand penetration, geology, and the detection of military ordnance debris

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schaber, G.G.

    1999-01-01

    Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images acquired over part of the Yuma Desert in southwestern Arizona demonstrate the ability of C-band (5.7-cm wavelength), L-band (24.5 cm), and P-band (68 cm) AIRSAR signals to backscatter from increasingly greater depths reaching several meters in blow sand and sandy alluvium. AIRSAR images obtained within the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing and Gunnery Range near Yuma, Arizona, show a total reversal of C- and P-band backscatter contrast (image tone) for three distinct geologic units. This phenomenon results from an increasingly greater depth of radar imaging with increasing radar wavelength. In the case of sandy- and small pebble-alluvium surfaces mantled by up to several meters of blow sand, backscatter increases directly with SAR wavelength as a result of volume scattering from a calcic soil horizon at shallow depth and by volume scattering from the root mounds of healthy desert vegetation that locally stabilize blow sand. AIRSAR images obtained within the military range are also shown to be useful for detecting metallic military ordnance debris that is located either at the surface or covered by tens of centimeters to several meters of blow sand. The degree of detectability of this ordnance increases with SAR wavelength and is clearly maximized on P-band images that are processed in the cross-polarized mode (HV). This effect is attributed to maximum signal penetration at P-band and the enhanced PHV image contrast between the radar-bright ordnance debris and the radar-dark sandy desert. This article focuses on the interpretation of high resolution AIRSAR images but also Compares these airborne SAR images with those acquired from spacecraft sensors such as ERS-SAR and Space Radar Laboratory (SIR-C/X-SAR).Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images acquired over part of the Yuma Desert in southwestern Arizona demonstrate the ability of C-band (5.7-cm wavelength), L-band (24.5 cm), and P-band (68 cm) AIRSAR signals to backscatter from

  2. Isolation of a significant fraction of non-phototroph diversity from a desert Biological Soil Crust

    SciTech Connect

    Nunes da Rocha, Ulisses; Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby; Karaoz, Ulas; Rajeev, Lara; Klitgord, Niels; Dunn, Sean; Truong, Viet; Buenrostro, Mayra; Bowen, Benjamin P.; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila; Northen, Trent R.; Brodie, Eoin L.

    2015-04-14

    Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) are organosedimentary assemblages comprised of microbes and minerals in topsoil of terrestrial environments. BSCs strongly impact soil quality in dryland ecosystems (e.g., soil structure and nutrient yields) due to pioneer species such as Microcoleus vaginatus; phototrophs that produce filaments that bind the soil together, and support an array of heterotrophic microorganisms. These microorganisms in turn contribute to soil stability and biogeochemistry of BSCs. Non-cyanobacterial populations of BSCs are less well known than cyanobacterial populations. Therefore, we attempted to isolate a broad range of numerically significant and phylogenetically representative BSC aerobic heterotrophs. Combining simple pre-treatments (hydration of BSCs under dark and light) and isolation strategies (media with varying nutrient availability and protection from oxidative stress) we recovered 402 bacterial and one fungal isolate in axenic culture, which comprised 116 phylotypes (at 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence homology), 115 bacterial and one fungal. Each medium enriched a mostly distinct subset of phylotypes, and cultivated phylotypes varied due to the BSC pre-treatment. The fraction of the total phylotype diversity isolated, weighted by relative abundance in the community, was determined by the overlap between isolate sequences and OTUs reconstructed from metagenome or metatranscriptome reads. Together, more than 8% of relative abundance of OTUs in the metagenome was represented by our isolates, a cultivation efficiency much larger than typically expected from most soils. We conclude that simple cultivation procedures combined with specific pre-treatment of samples afford a significant reduction in the culturability gap, enabling physiological and metabolic assays that rely on ecologically relevant axenic cultures.

  3. Isolation of a significant fraction of non-phototroph diversity from a desert Biological Soil Crust

    DOE PAGES

    Nunes da Rocha, Ulisses; Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby; Karaoz, Ulas; ...

    2015-04-14

    Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) are organosedimentary assemblages comprised of microbes and minerals in topsoil of terrestrial environments. BSCs strongly impact soil quality in dryland ecosystems (e.g., soil structure and nutrient yields) due to pioneer species such as Microcoleus vaginatus; phototrophs that produce filaments that bind the soil together, and support an array of heterotrophic microorganisms. These microorganisms in turn contribute to soil stability and biogeochemistry of BSCs. Non-cyanobacterial populations of BSCs are less well known than cyanobacterial populations. Therefore, we attempted to isolate a broad range of numerically significant and phylogenetically representative BSC aerobic heterotrophs. Combining simple pre-treatments (hydration ofmore » BSCs under dark and light) and isolation strategies (media with varying nutrient availability and protection from oxidative stress) we recovered 402 bacterial and one fungal isolate in axenic culture, which comprised 116 phylotypes (at 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence homology), 115 bacterial and one fungal. Each medium enriched a mostly distinct subset of phylotypes, and cultivated phylotypes varied due to the BSC pre-treatment. The fraction of the total phylotype diversity isolated, weighted by relative abundance in the community, was determined by the overlap between isolate sequences and OTUs reconstructed from metagenome or metatranscriptome reads. Together, more than 8% of relative abundance of OTUs in the metagenome was represented by our isolates, a cultivation efficiency much larger than typically expected from most soils. We conclude that simple cultivation procedures combined with specific pre-treatment of samples afford a significant reduction in the culturability gap, enabling physiological and metabolic assays that rely on ecologically relevant axenic cultures.« less

  4. Isolation of a significant fraction of non-phototroph diversity from a desert Biological Soil Crust

    PubMed Central

    Nunes da Rocha, Ulisses; Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby; Karaoz, Ulas; Rajeev, Lara; Klitgord, Niels; Dunn, Sean; Truong, Viet; Buenrostro, Mayra; Bowen, Benjamin P.; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila; Northen, Trent R.; Brodie, Eoin L.

    2015-01-01

    Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) are organosedimentary assemblages comprised of microbes and minerals in topsoil of terrestrial environments. BSCs strongly impact soil quality in dryland ecosystems (e.g., soil structure and nutrient yields) due to pioneer species such as Microcoleus vaginatus; phototrophs that produce filaments that bind the soil together, and support an array of heterotrophic microorganisms. These microorganisms in turn contribute to soil stability and biogeochemistry of BSCs. Non-cyanobacterial populations of BSCs are less well known than cyanobacterial populations. Therefore, we attempted to isolate a broad range of numerically significant and phylogenetically representative BSC aerobic heterotrophs. Combining simple pre-treatments (hydration of BSCs under dark and light) and isolation strategies (media with varying nutrient availability and protection from oxidative stress) we recovered 402 bacterial and one fungal isolate in axenic culture, which comprised 116 phylotypes (at 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence homology), 115 bacterial and one fungal. Each medium enriched a mostly distinct subset of phylotypes, and cultivated phylotypes varied due to the BSC pre-treatment. The fraction of the total phylotype diversity isolated, weighted by relative abundance in the community, was determined by the overlap between isolate sequences and OTUs reconstructed from metagenome or metatranscriptome reads. Together, more than 8% of relative abundance of OTUs in the metagenome was represented by our isolates, a cultivation efficiency much larger than typically expected from most soils. We conclude that simple cultivation procedures combined with specific pre-treatment of samples afford a significant reduction in the culturability gap, enabling physiological and metabolic assays that rely on ecologically relevant axenic cultures. PMID:25926821

  5. Testing portable luminescence reader signals against late Pleistocene to modern OSL ages of coastal and desert dunefield sand in Israel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roskin, Joel; Sivan, Dorit; Bookman, Revital; Porat, Naomi; López, Gloria I.

    2017-04-01

    Rapid assessment of luminescence signals of poly-mineral samples by a pulsed-photon portable OSL reader (PPSL) is useful for interpreting sedimentary sections during fieldwork, and can assist with targeted field sampling for later full OSL dating and prioritize laboratory work. This study investigates PPSL signal intensities in order to assess its usefulness in obtaining relative OSL ages from linear regressions created by interpolating newly generated PPSL values of samples with existing OSL ages from two extensive Nilotic-sourced dunefields. Eighteen OSL-dated sand samples from two quartz-dominated sand systems in Israel were studied:(1) the Mediterranean littoral-sourced coastal dunefields that formed since the middle Holocene; and (2) the inland north-western Negev desert dunefield that rapidly formed between the Last Glacial Maximum and the Holocene. Samples from three coastal dune profiles were also measured. Results show that the PPSL signals differ by several orders of magnitude between modern and late Pleistocene sediments. The coastal and desert sand have different OSL age - PPSL signal ratios. Coastal sand show better correlations between PPSL values and OSL ages. However, using regression curves for each dunefield to interpolate ages is less useful than expected as samples with different ages exhibit similar PPSL signals. The coastal dune profiles yielded low luminescence signal values depicting a modern profile chronology. This study demonstrates that a rapid assessment of the relative OSL ages across different and extensive dunefields is useful and may be achieved. However, the OSL ages obtained by linear regression are only a very rough age estimate. The reasons for not obtaining more reliable ages need to be better understood, as several variables can affect the PPSL signal such as mineral provenance, intrinsic grain properties, micro-dosimetry and moisture content.

  6. Rhizobium arenae sp. nov., isolated from the sand of Desert Mu Us, China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shengnan; Yang, Shanshan; Chen, Wei; Chen, Yong; Zhang, Mingjuan; Zhou, Xinai; Fan, Guohua; Feng, Fu Ying

    2017-07-01

    A Gram-strain-negative, rod-shaped, motile bacterium, designated MIM27T, was isolated from the sand of the Mu Us Desert, PR China. The strain could grow at 4-45 °C (optimum, 37 °C), at pH 6.6-9.0 (optimum, 8.0) and in the presence of 0-3 % (w/v) NaCl (optimum, 0 % in RNA liquid medium). The results of phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that the strain represented a member of the genus Rhizobium, with the highest similarity (96.5 %) to Rhizobium pakistanense BN-19T. The results of analysis of the sequences of the nitrogen fixation gene nifH and three housekeeping genes, recA, atpD and glnII, also indicated that MIM27T was most closely related to the species of the genus Rhizobiumwith validly published names but the similarities were low (≤90.7 %). MIM27T did not form nodules on Pisum sativum, Vicia faba, Astragalus sinicus and Phaseolus vulgaris. The major respiratory quinone of MIM27T was Q-10. The genomic DNA G+C content was 59.8 mol%. Major fatty acids of MIM27T were summed feature 8 (C18 : 1ω7c and/or C18 : 1ω6c), C18 : 1ω7c 11-methyl, C16 : 0, summed feature 3 (C16 : 1ω7c and/or C16 : 1ω6c) and summed feature 2 (C12 : 0 aldehyde and/or unknown ECL 10.9525). On the basis of the physiological, chemotaxonomic and phenotypic data, MIM27T is suggested to represent a novel species of the genus Rhizobium, for which the name Rhizobium arenae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is MIM27T (=KCTC 52299T=MCCC 1K03215T).

  7. Quantifying dust emissions from desert landforms, eastern Mojave Desert, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sweeney, Mark R.; McDonald, Eric V.; Etyemezian, Vicken

    2011-12-01

    The measurement of natural dust emissions from desert landforms is crucial in environmental hazard assessment and field checking the accuracy of global dust models. More than 500 individual dust measurements from eight common desert landforms in southern California were collected using the PI-SWERL (Portable In Situ Wind Erosion Lab). The largest emitters of dust are dry washes (13.787 to 0.007 mg m - 2 s - 1 ), dunes, playa margins, distal alluvial fans, and lacustrine beaches. Low emitters include salt-crusted playas (0.692 to 0.002 mg m - 2 s - 1 ), silt-clay-crusted playas, and desert pavements. High emissions are a function of saltating sand that bombards the surface, liberating dust-sized particles for entrainment. Low dust emissions are primarily a function of surface crusting, gravel armoring, and vegetation density. PI-SWERL measurements reveal that emission rates can vary by at least three orders of magnitude, reflecting local variability in soil texture and continuity of surface crusts. Shear-stress partitioning models can be applied to dust data measured by the PI-SWERL to account for large surface roughness features, such as vegetation. The results presented here give an approximation of the contributions to atmospheric dust loading by landforms in the Mojave Desert, and can potentially be used to improve atmospheric dust models.

  8. Ecological restoration and recovery in the wind-blown sand hazard areas of northern China: relationship between soil water and carrying capacity for vegetation in the Tengger Desert.

    PubMed

    Li, XingRong; Zhang, ZhiShan; Tan, HuiJuan; Gao, YanHong; Liu, LiChao; Wang, XingPing

    2014-05-01

    The main prevention and control area for wind-blown sand hazards in northern China is about 320000 km(2) in size and includes sandlands to the east of the Helan Mountain and sandy deserts and desert-steppe transitional regions to the west of the Helan Mountain. Vegetation recovery and restoration is an important and effective approach for constraining wind-blown sand hazards in these areas. After more than 50 years of long-term ecological studies in the Shapotou region of the Tengger Desert, we found that revegetation changed the hydrological processes of the original sand dune system through the utilization and space-time redistribution of soil water. The spatiotemporal dynamics of soil water was significantly related to the dynamics of the replanted vegetation for a given regional precipitation condition. The long-term changes in hydrological processes in desert areas also drive replanted vegetation succession. The soil water carrying capacity of vegetation and the model for sand fixation by revegetation in aeolian desert areas where precipitation levels are less than 200 mm are also discussed.

  9. High Bacterial Diversity of Biological Soil Crusts in Water Tracks over Permafrost in the High Arctic Polar Desert

    DOE PAGES

    Steven, Blaire; Lionard, Marie; Kuske, Cheryl R.; ...

    2013-08-13

    In this paper we report the bacterial diversity of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) inhabiting polar desert soils at the northern land limit of the Arctic polar region (83° 05 N). Employing pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes this study demonstrated that these biocrusts harbor diverse bacterial communities, often as diverse as temperate latitude communities. The effect of wetting pulses on the composition of communities was also determined by collecting samples from soils outside and inside of permafrost water tracks, hill slope flow paths that drain permafrost-affected soils. The intermittent flow regime in the water tracks was correlated with altered relativemore » abundance of phylum level taxonomic bins in the bacterial communities, but the alterations varied between individual sampling sites. Bacteria related to the Cyanobacteria and Acidobacteria demonstrated shifts in relative abundance based on their location either inside or outside of the water tracks. Among cyanobacterial sequences, the proportion of sequences belonging to the family Oscillatoriales consistently increased in relative abundance in the samples from inside the water tracks compared to those outside. Acidobacteria showed responses to wetting pulses in the water tracks, increasing in abundance at one site and decreasing at the other two sites. Subdivision 4 acidobacterial sequences tended to follow the trends in the total Acidobacteria relative abundance, suggesting these organisms were largely responsible for the changes observed in the Acidobacteria. Finally, taken together, these data suggest that the bacterial communities of these high latitude polar biocrusts are diverse but do not show a consensus response to intermittent flow in water tracks over high Arctic permafrost.« less

  10. High Bacterial Diversity of Biological Soil Crusts in Water Tracks over Permafrost in the High Arctic Polar Desert

    SciTech Connect

    Steven, Blaire; Lionard, Marie; Kuske, Cheryl R.; Vincent, Warwick F.

    2013-08-13

    In this paper we report the bacterial diversity of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) inhabiting polar desert soils at the northern land limit of the Arctic polar region (83° 05 N). Employing pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes this study demonstrated that these biocrusts harbor diverse bacterial communities, often as diverse as temperate latitude communities. The effect of wetting pulses on the composition of communities was also determined by collecting samples from soils outside and inside of permafrost water tracks, hill slope flow paths that drain permafrost-affected soils. The intermittent flow regime in the water tracks was correlated with altered relative abundance of phylum level taxonomic bins in the bacterial communities, but the alterations varied between individual sampling sites. Bacteria related to the Cyanobacteria and Acidobacteria demonstrated shifts in relative abundance based on their location either inside or outside of the water tracks. Among cyanobacterial sequences, the proportion of sequences belonging to the family Oscillatoriales consistently increased in relative abundance in the samples from inside the water tracks compared to those outside. Acidobacteria showed responses to wetting pulses in the water tracks, increasing in abundance at one site and decreasing at the other two sites. Subdivision 4 acidobacterial sequences tended to follow the trends in the total Acidobacteria relative abundance, suggesting these organisms were largely responsible for the changes observed in the Acidobacteria. Finally, taken together, these data suggest that the bacterial communities of these high latitude polar biocrusts are diverse but do not show a consensus response to intermittent flow in water tracks over high Arctic permafrost.

  11. High Bacterial Diversity of Biological Soil Crusts in Water Tracks over Permafrost in the High Arctic Polar Desert

    PubMed Central

    Steven, Blaire; Lionard, Marie; Kuske, Cheryl R.; Vincent, Warwick F.

    2013-01-01

    In this study we report the bacterial diversity of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) inhabiting polar desert soils at the northern land limit of the Arctic polar region (83° 05 N). Employing pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes this study demonstrated that these biocrusts harbor diverse bacterial communities, often as diverse as temperate latitude communities. The effect of wetting pulses on the composition of communities was also determined by collecting samples from soils outside and inside of permafrost water tracks, hill slope flow paths that drain permafrost-affected soils. The intermittent flow regime in the water tracks was correlated with altered relative abundance of phylum level taxonomic bins in the bacterial communities, but the alterations varied between individual sampling sites. Bacteria related to the Cyanobacteria and Acidobacteria demonstrated shifts in relative abundance based on their location either inside or outside of the water tracks. Among cyanobacterial sequences, the proportion of sequences belonging to the family Oscillatoriales consistently increased in relative abundance in the samples from inside the water tracks compared to those outside. Acidobacteria showed responses to wetting pulses in the water tracks, increasing in abundance at one site and decreasing at the other two sites. Subdivision 4 acidobacterial sequences tended to follow the trends in the total Acidobacteria relative abundance, suggesting these organisms were largely responsible for the changes observed in the Acidobacteria. Taken together, these data suggest that the bacterial communities of these high latitude polar biocrusts are diverse but do not show a consensus response to intermittent flow in water tracks over high Arctic permafrost. PMID:23967218

  12. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D.; Breed, C. S.; Harris, L. F. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Examination of sand samples from both dune and interdune areas at White Sands, New Mexico, indicates marked differences in composition and texture between these two types of facies. If these differences are characteristics of dune fields in general, information concerning them may help to explain the contrast in appearance of the two kinds of sand areas on ERTS imagery and to permit interpretation of similar features in remote areas, such as Saudi Arabia.

  13. Intermediate complex morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of the cold desert sand dune geophyte Eremurus anisopterus (Xanthorrhoeaceae; Liliaceae s.l.).

    PubMed

    Mamut, Jannathan; Tan, Dun Yan; Baskin, Carol C; Baskin, Jerry M

    2014-10-01

    Little is known about morphological (MD) or morphophysiological (MPD) dormancy in cold desert species and in particular those in Liliaceae sensu lato, an important floristic element in the cold deserts of Central Asia with underdeveloped embyos. The primary aim of this study was to determine if seeds of the cold desert liliaceous perennial ephemeral Eremurus anisopterus has MD or MPD, and, if it is MPD, then at what level. Embryo growth and germination was monitored in seeds subjected to natural and simulated natural temperature regimes and the effects of after-ripening and GA3 on dormancy break were tested. In addition, the temperature requirements for embryo growth and dormancy break were investigated. At the time of seed dispersal in summer, the embryo length:seed length (E:S) ratio was 0·73, but it increased to 0·87 before germination. Fresh seeds did not germinate during 1 month of incubation in either light or darkness over a range of temperatures. Thus, seeds have MPD, and, after >12 weeks incubation at 5/2 °C, both embryo growth and germination occurred, showing that they have a complex level of MPD. Since both after-ripening and GA3 increase the germination percentage, seeds have intermediate complex MPD. Embryos in after-ripened seeds of E. anisopterus can grow at low temperatures in late autumn, but if the soil is dry in autumn then growth is delayed until snowmelt wets the soil in early spring. The ecological advantage of embryo growth phenology is that seeds can germinate at a time (spring) when sand moisture conditions in the desert are suitable for seedling establishment. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. Intermediate complex morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of the cold desert sand dune geophyte Eremurus anisopterus (Xanthorrhoeaceae; Liliaceae s.l.)

    PubMed Central

    Mamut, Jannathan; Tan, Dun Yan; Baskin, Carol C.; Baskin, Jerry M.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Little is known about morphological (MD) or morphophysiological (MPD) dormancy in cold desert species and in particular those in Liliaceae sensu lato, an important floristic element in the cold deserts of Central Asia with underdeveloped embyos. The primary aim of this study was to determine if seeds of the cold desert liliaceous perennial ephemeral Eremurus anisopterus has MD or MPD, and, if it is MPD, then at what level. Methods Embryo growth and germination was monitored in seeds subjected to natural and simulated natural temperature regimes and the effects of after-ripening and GA3 on dormancy break were tested. In addition, the temperature requirements for embryo growth and dormancy break were investigated. Key Results At the time of seed dispersal in summer, the embryo length:seed length (E:S) ratio was 0·73, but it increased to 0·87 before germination. Fresh seeds did not germinate during 1 month of incubation in either light or darkness over a range of temperatures. Thus, seeds have MPD, and, after >12 weeks incubation at 5/2 °C, both embryo growth and germination occurred, showing that they have a complex level of MPD. Since both after-ripening and GA3 increase the germination percentage, seeds have intermediate complex MPD. Conclusions Embryos in after-ripened seeds of E. anisopterus can grow at low temperatures in late autumn, but if the soil is dry in autumn then growth is delayed until snowmelt wets the soil in early spring. The ecological advantage of embryo growth phenology is that seeds can germinate at a time (spring) when sand moisture conditions in the desert are suitable for seedling establishment. PMID:25180288

  15. The formation of the patterns of desert shrub communities on the Western Ordos Plateau, China: the roles of seed dispersal and sand burial.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yange; Yang, Xiaohui; Shi, Zhongjie

    2013-01-01

    The western Ordos Plateau is a key area of shrub diversity and a National Nature Reserve of endangered shrub species in north-west China. Desert expansion is becoming the most important threat to these endangered species. However, little is known about the effects of sand burial on the dynamics of the shrub community. This study aims to investigate how the shrubs as a community and as different individual shrubs respond to the disturbances caused by the desert expansion. The approach used by this study is to separate the seed-dispersal strategy from the sand-burial forces that are involved in structuring the shrub communities at different disturbance stages. Four communities for different disturbance stages were surveyed by using 50×50 m plots. The individual shrubs were classified into coloniser and successor groups at the seed-dispersal stage and strong and weak sand-burial tolerance groups at the sand-expansion stage. We employed spatial point pattern analysis with null models for each community to examine the seed-dispersal strategy and sand-burial forces affecting community distribution patterns. At the seed-dispersal stage, the interactions between the colonisers and the successors showed significant positive correlation at a scale of 0-1 m and significant negative correlation at a scale of 2 m; significant negative correlations between the groups with strong and weak sand-burial tolerance in the early stage of sand expansion at scales of 3-6 m, and significant positive correlation in the later stage of sand expansion at a scale of 13 m, were found. Seed-dispersal strategy is a reasonable mechanism to explain the shrub community pattern formation in the earlier stages, whereas sand burial is the primary reason for the disappearance of shrubs with weak sand-burial tolerance, this irreversible disturbance causes homogenisation of the community structure and produces aging populations of shrub species. This has an important influence on the succession direction

  16. An investigation of major sand seas in desert areas throughout the world

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D.; Breed, C. S.

    1974-01-01

    This study of sand seas on a global scale consists of identifying and measuring characteristic sand forms, examining structures, determining the processes involved, and ascertaining the world distribution of various types of sand bodies. Fifteen major areas or sites in the Eastern Hemisphere and three sites in the Western Hemisphere have been examined. In this study an attempt is made to develop a strictly objective classification of worldwide application. Ultimate objectives are threefold. First, a better understanding of stratification in ancient rocks of dune origin; such structures are important in the migration of water and oil. Second, a further insight into the controls of sand migration that in some areas adversely affects various enterprises of man may be obtained. Finally, an appreciation of certain similar patterns on Mars, apparently wind-formed, may result.

  17. Controls on the chemical composition of saline surface crusts and emitted dust from a wet playa in the Mojave Desert (USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Goldstein, Harland L.; Breit, George N.; Reynolds, Richard L.

    2017-01-01

    Saline-surface crusts and their compositions at ephemeral, dry, and drying lakes are important products of arid-land processes. Detailed understanding is lacking, however, about interactions among locally variable hydrogeologic conditions, compositional control of groundwater on vadose zone and surface salts, and dust composition. Chemical and physical data from groundwater, sediments, and salts reveal compositional controls on saline-surface crusts across a wet playa, Mojave Desert, with bearing on similar settings elsewhere. The compositions of chemically and isotopically distinctive shallow (<3 m) water masses are recorded in the composition of associated salts. In areas with deeper and more saline groundwater, however, not all ions are transported through the vadose zone. Retention of arsenic and other elements in the vadose zone diminishes the concentrations of potentially toxic elements in surface salts, but creates a reservoir of these elements that may be brought to the surface during wetter conditions or by human disturbance. Selective wind-erosion loss of sulfate salts was identified by the compositional contrast between surface salt crusts and underlying groundwater. At the sub-basin scale, compositional links exist among groundwater, salt crusts, and dust from wet playas. Across the study basin, however, lateral variations in groundwater and solid-salt compositions are produced by hydrogeologic heterogeneity.

  18. Seismites in continental sand sea deposits of the Late Cretaceous Caiuá Desert, Bauru Basin, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, Luiz Alberto; de Castro, Alice Bonatto; Basilici, Giorgio

    2007-07-01

    Two large-scale sediment deformation structures, minor fold occurrences in cross-bedded sand dune deposits and complex convolute folds, are observed in red sandstones, in a zone about 1.5 km long in floodway cuts at the Sérgio Motta/Porto Primavera dam, São Paulo state, Brazil. The most important structures are confined to planar zones, up to 10 m thick, in undeformed dune foreset strata were they can be traced laterally for about 50-60 m. The sandstones are part of the Rio Paraná Formation, Caiuá Group, which accumulated in a great sand sea of about 100,000 km 2. The Caiuá Desert developed during the Late Cretaceous in the southern part of the Bauru Basin, an intracontinental subsiding area in the central-southern part of the South-American Platform. The basin was filled by a sandy sequence about 300 m thick. The sand sea deposits correspond to the Caiuá Group and comprise: a) deposits of dry sand sheets (Santo Anastácio Formation), b) deposits of medium-sized dunes and humid interdunes of the sand sea peripheral zones (Goio Erê Formation), and c) deposits of large-sized complex aeolian dunes and draas, that correspond to the central part of the inland sand sea (Rio Paraná Formation). The deformations in the sediments are attributed to the effects of fluidization, liquefaction and shear stress, which are interpreted as being earthquake-induced structures, mainly because: (1) the deformed horizons are confined between undeformed cross-bedded strata, (2) the complex convolute folds sometimes include nappe-like structures that overlie foreset facies, (3) during the Bauru Basin infilling there was tectonic activity associated with alkaline volcanism on the borders of the basin and related silicification in the central-southern part. The main silicification zones are aligned to regional lineaments that cross the area near the large-scale sedimentary deformation structures.

  19. A new biofilm based microalgal cultivation approach on shifting sand surface for desert cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus.

    PubMed

    Lan, Shubin; Wu, Li; Yang, Haijian; Zhang, Delu; Hu, Chunxiang

    2017-08-01

    Biofilm based microalgal cultivation has recently received great attention because of its low water requirement and harvesting cost. However, the contradiction between microalgal attachment and harvesting still hinders the development of this technology. Therefore, in this study the most readily available and inexpensive shifting sand was used as attached substrate for microalgal (Microcoleus vaginatus) biofilm cultivation under different water conditions. After the inoculation, a stable and easily peeled microalgal biofilm formed through filamentous binding and exopolysaccharide cementing. In general, microalgal biomass, photosynthetic activity and exopolysaccharide accumulation were all significantly affected by the cultivation time, water content and their interaction (P<0.001). According to the maximal photosynthetic activity and microalgal productivity, cultivation time of microalgal biofilm on sand surface should be controlled around 15-25days, with water content at 10%. Based on the biofilm cultivation system, microalgal biomass yield reached up to 11gm(-2) eventually on the sand surface. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  20. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D.; Breed, C. S.; Harris, L. F. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The assembling of photomosaics from color prints of ERTS images has made possible the recognition and description of san patterns, and these are to be the basis of a worldwide classification of sand bodies. Progress has been as rapid as the acquisition of the bulk composite images will permit and for some areas the mosaics are now nearly complete. A second step, which consists of the accumulation and analysis of regional wind data, to be plotted as overlays for the dune patterns, is now underway and should soon give tangible results. Other aspects of the project include the gathering of ground truth in the form of air photographs, needed to interpret geomorphic forms and the sampling of sand deposits for analyzing the texture and composition of sand bodies. A start has been made on these studies in several selected areas.

  1. What makes the desert bloom? Contribution of dust and crusts to soil fertility on the Colorado Plateau

    Treesearch

    Jayne Belnap; Richard Reynolds; Marith Reheis; Susan L. Phillips

    2001-01-01

    Eolian dust (windblown silt and clay) and biological soil crusts are both important to ecosystem functioning of arid lands. Dust furnishes essential nutrients, influences hydrology, contributes to soil formation, and renders surfaces vulnerable to erosion. Biological soil crusts contribute directly to soil fertility by fixing carbon and nitrogen, and indirectly by...

  2. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D.; Breed, C. S.

    1973-01-01

    A description and classification of major types of sand seas on the basis of morphological pattern and lineation are discussed. The steps involved in analyzing the patterns of deposits on ERTS-1 imagery, where the visible forms are mostly dune complexes rather than individual dunes are outlined. After completion of thematic maps portraying the pattern and lineation of the sand bodies, data on directions and intensity of prevailing and other winds are plotted on corresponding bases, as a preliminary to determination of internal structures through ground truth.

  3. Dynamics of soil organic carbon and its fractions after revegetation on sand dunes in the Tengger Desert, Northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, X.; Liu, Y.; Li, X.

    2015-12-01

    Revegetation has become increasingly important for desertified land restoration in arid and semiarid regions. Little is known about the dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC) after the establishment of shrubland on shifting sand dunes; especially the changes in SOC fractions following planting were poorly understood. 0-10 cm soil samples were collected along chronosequence plots were to: (1) quantitatively analyze the changes of SOC and its fractions over time following the establishment of shrublands on shifting sand dunes; (2) precisely assess the relative contribution of different components to total organic carbon at different times. The results showed that revegetation can promote SOC accumulation in desert regions. SOC increased from 0.33±0.11 g kg-1 in mobile sand dunes to 5.08±0.11 g kg-1 in 57-year shrublands, while the light fraction of organic C (LF-OC) ranged from 0.05±0.02 g kg-1 to 2.96±0.24 g kg-1, the dissolved organic C (DOC) increased from 5.95±0.42 mg kg-1 to 23.63±2.79 mg kg-1 and microbial biomass C (MBC) from 6.54±1.64 mg kg-1 to 135.35±19.49 mg kg-1. Their dynamics patterns can be divided into three stages, i.e. slow increase, fast increase and slow increase stages; especially, both SOC and its fractions showed no significant changes in the first 14 years, which suggested that soil restoration is a slow process in dry environments, and therefore the maintenance of soil habitat is a crucial for land management. Our results also demonstrated that revegetation can increase the ratio of labile to stable pools in desert regions. Although, the content of HF-OC significantly increased after afforestation, but its contribution to SOC decreased from 85.15% to 41.52%, implied that more SOC stocks were stabilized in labile pools with the elapse of time, this would give rise to the risk of significant SOC losses caused by potential global warming and human-induced disturbances.

  4. Dynamics of cover, UV-protective pigments, and quantum yield in biological soil crust communities of an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.; Smith, S.D.

    2007-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are an integral part of dryland ecosystems. We monitored the cover of lichens and mosses, cyanobacterial biomass, concentrations of UV-protective pigments in both free-living and lichenized cyanobacteria, and quantum yield in the soil lichen species Collema in an undisturbed Mojave Desert shrubland. During our sampling time, the site received historically high and low levels of precipitation, whereas temperatures were close to normal. Lichen cover, dominated by Collema tenax and C. coccophorum, and moss cover, dominated by Syntrichia caninervis, responded to both increases and decreases in precipitation. This finding for Collema spp. at a hot Mojave Desert site is in contrast to a similar study conducted at a cool desert site on the Colorado Plateau in SE Utah, USA, where Collema spp. cover dropped in response to elevated temperatures, but did not respond to changes in rainfall. The concentrations of UV-protective pigments in free-living cyanobacteria at the Mojave Desert site were also strongly and positively related to rainfall received between sampling times (R2 values ranged from 0.78 to 0.99). However, pigment levels in the lichenized cyanobacteria showed little correlation with rainfall. Quantum yield in Collema spp. was closely correlated with rainfall. Climate models in this region predict a 3.5-4.0 ??C rise in temperature and a 15-20% decline in winter precipitation by 2099. Based on our data, this rise in temperature is unlikely to have a strong effect on the dominant species of the soil crusts. However, the predicted drop in precipitation will likely lead to a decrease in soil lichen and moss cover, and high stress or mortality in soil cyanobacteria as levels of UV-protective pigments decline. In addition, surface-disturbing activities (e.g., recreation, military activities, fire) are rapidly increasing in the Mojave Desert, and these disturbances quickly remove soil lichens and mosses. These stresses combined are likely to lead to

  5. A study of morphology, provenance, and movement of desert sand seas in Africa, Asia, and Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, E. D.; Breed, C. S. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The regional studies of sand seas made possible by analysis of ERTS-1 imagery have established that widespread patterns of eolian sand deposition exist in many places and that similarities and differences in these patterns can be measured and compared, on a worldwide scale. Analysis of the relationships of depositional patterns to controlling factors will require completion of the color mosaics of the test sites, and acquisition of adequate supporting ground truth data, especially wind data. Once analyses are complete, the results will be applicable to the regional study of ancient eolian sandstones. Such sandstones were formed many millions of years ago under conditions believed to be identical to those under which the sand seas that are observed being formed today. The understanding of the deposition of eolian sands provided by analysis of ERTS-1 imagery will be applicable to an understanding of the structure and distribution of ancient eolian sandstones and their potential as reservoirs of oil and water.

  6. Drought effect on biocrust resilience: High-speed winds result in crust burial and crust rupture and flaking.

    PubMed

    Kidron, Giora J; Ying, Wang; Starinsky, Abraham; Herzberg, Moshe

    2017-02-01

    Once established, biocrusts (known also as biological soil crusts or microbiotic crusts) are thought to be relatively resilient to wind erosion, with crust burial being considered as the main mechanism responsible for crust death. Thus far, to the best of our knowledge, crust flaking and rupture under natural conditions were not reported. We report herein a two-year study during two severe drought years (2010-2012) in a dunefield in the Negev Desert during which in addition to crust burial, crust rupture and flaking also took place. As for crust burial, it took place under sand sheets or coppice dunes (mounds). Subsequent removal of the coppice dunes by wind resulted in crust disintegration and erosion of the formerly buried crust and the formation of patches devoid of crusts termed herein 'erosion cirques'. As for crust flaking and rupture, it is explained by a large change in the properties of the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) composing the crust. The EPS adherence and viscoelastic properties were monitored using a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCD-M) technology. EPS adherence and viscoelastic properties deduced from the QCM-D experiments suggest that crust coherence and elasticity, mediated by the EPS, were affected by droughts. Although crust flaking affected up to 25% of the interdunal surface, it is suggested that with continuous rain shortage, further crust flaking is likely to take place under continuous drought-driven dry surface conditions. This positive feedback mechanism, during which initially eroded crusts trigger additional crust erosion, may have severe consequences on the structure and function of drought-prone ecosystems, and may endanger the stability of dunefields, causing dust storms, triggering dune encroachment and declining air quality.

  7. The effect of lichen-dominated biological soil crusts on growth and physiological characteristics of three plant species in a temperate desert of northwest China.

    PubMed

    Zhuang, W W; Serpe, M; Zhang, Y M

    2015-11-01

    Biocrusts (biological soil crusts) cover open spaces between vascular plants in most arid and semi-arid areas. Information on effects of biocrusts on seedling growth is controversial, and there is little information on their effects on plant growth and physiology. We examined impacts of biocrusts on growth and physiological characteristics of three habitat-typical plants, Erodium oxyrhynchum, Alyssum linifolium and Hyalea pulchella, growing in the Gurbantunggut Desert, northwest China. The influence of biocrusts on plant biomass, leaf area, leaf relative water content, photosynthesis, maximum quantum efficiency of PSII (F(v)/F(m)), chlorophyll, osmotic solutes (soluble sugars, protein, proline) and antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase) was investigated on sites with or without biocrust cover. Biomass, leaf area, leaf water content, photosynthesis, F(v)/F(m) and chlorophyll content in crusted soils were higher than in uncrusted soils during early growth and lower later in the growth period. Soluble sugars, proline and antioxidant enzyme activity were always higher in crusted than in uncrusted soils, while soluble protein content was always lower. These findings indicate that biocrusts have different effects on these three ephemeral species during growth in this desert, primarily via effects on soil moisture, and possibly on soil nutrients. The influence of biocrusts changes during plant development: in early plant growth, biocrusts had either positive or no effect on growth and physiological parameters. However, biocrusts tended to negatively influence plants during later growth. Our results provide insights to explain why previous studies have found different effects of biocrusts on vascular plant growth.

  8. [Variations of ground vegetation and soil properties during the growth process of artificial sand-fixing Caragana intermedia plantations in desert steppe].

    PubMed

    Liu, Ren-Tao; Chai, Yong-Qing; Xu, Kun; Zhu, Fan

    2012-11-01

    To study the variation characteristics of ground vegetation and soil properties during the growth process of Caragana intermedia plantations in desert steppe is of scientific significance in revealing the ecological effect of the plantations on the restoration of desertified grassland ecosystem. In this paper, an investigation was conducted on the ground vegetation and soil properties in 6-, 15-, 24-, and 36-yr artificial sand-fixing C. intermedia plantations in desert steppe of Ningxia, Northwest China, with the variation characteristics of the ground vegetation and soil properties during the growth process of the C. intermedia plantations analyzed. With the growth and development of the plantations, the shrub crown width, height, sprout number, and basal diameter all increased significantly, the contents of soil coarse sand and fine sand had significant decrease while those of very fine sand and clay silt were in adverse, the soil organic carbon, total N, and total P contents increased linearly, and the soil pH decreased significantly. During the growth process of the plantations, the species number and individual number of ground vegetation increased significantly, and the vegetation coverage and height presented the order of 24- > 15- > 6- > 36-yr plantation. The soil texture, bulk density, nutrient contents, and pH value were the main factors affecting the species and individual number as well as the coverage of ground vegetation in C. intermedia plantations. It was suggested that in desert steppe, the growth process of artificial sand-fixing C. intermedia plantation benefited the improvement of soil conditions and the recovery of ground vegetation, and promoted the restoration of degraded grassland ecosystem in desert steppe.

  9. The characteristic of aeolian environment and its impact on engineering construction in the Gurbantonggut Desert, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lei, Jiaqiang; Zhao, Congju

    2003-07-01

    Gurbantonggut Desert, located at the center of Jungar Basin, has an area of 48,800km2, which is the biggest immovable and semi-immovable desert in China. There is profuse oil-gas resource. Along with the oil-gas resource exploiting, more and more engineering has been built in the center of the desert, such as the desert highway and the oil fields and so on. However, aeolian environment in the Gurbantonggut Desert has a great impact on the engineering building and engineering safety. There are more than 20 gale-days per year in the center of the desert, and the main directions of the effective sand-moving winds are NE and NW, and sometimes the strong SE winds occur in the east part of the desert. The effective sand-moving winds appear mainly between April and September, which occupies 80% of whole year. It is obvious that the huge transport potential formed by the strong wind force badly endangers the engineering construction. Primary shapes of sand dunes in the desert are longitudinal and dendritic dunes, which occupy 80% of total area of the immovable and semi-immovable desert. The sand grains of the desert are coarser, and the average grain size is 0.2~0.22mm and 0.15~0.17mm in the southern and the northern part of the desert respectively. The vegetation coverage is 15~50%, and also there is about 85% of the total sand surface to be covered by the microbial crust. In this case, most dunes are fixed or semi-fixed, only on the top of the dunes existing about 30m mobile or semi-mobile sand belts. That indicates that the fixed or semi-fixed sand surfaces are dominant in desert, which prevents blown sand from doing harm to the engineering construction. Meanwhile, with the engineering construction, the fixed or semi-fixed sand surfaces are easy to be destroyed in the desert, which threatens the engineering construction and safety greatly. In general, there are about 1m thick moist sand layers in the desert and the moisture content has great changes in time and space

  10. WIND VELOCITIES AND SAND FLUXES IN MESQUITE DUNE-LANDS IN THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT: A COMPARISON BETWEEN FIELD MEASUREMENTS AND THE QUIC (QUICK URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX) MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    The poster shows comparisons of wind velocities and sand fluxes between field measurements and a computer model, called QUIC (Quick Urban & Industrial Complex). The comparisons were made for a small desert region in New Mexico.

  11. WIND VELOCITIES AND SAND FLUXES IN MESQUITE DUNE-LANDS IN THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT: A COMPARISON BETWEEN FIELD MEASUREMENTS AND THE QUIC (QUICK URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX) MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    The poster shows comparisons of wind velocities and sand fluxes between field measurements and a computer model, called QUIC (Quick Urban & Industrial Complex). The comparisons were made for a small desert region in New Mexico.

  12. The Formation of the Patterns of Desert Shrub Communities on the Western Ordos Plateau, China: The Roles of Seed Dispersal and Sand Burial

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yange; Yang, Xiaohui; Shi, Zhongjie

    2013-01-01

    The western Ordos Plateau is a key area of shrub diversity and a National Nature Reserve of endangered shrub species in north-west China. Desert expansion is becoming the most important threat to these endangered species. However, little is known about the effects of sand burial on the dynamics of the shrub community. This study aims to investigate how the shrubs as a community and as different individual shrubs respond to the disturbances caused by the desert expansion. The approach used by this study is to separate the seed-dispersal strategy from the sand-burial forces that are involved in structuring the shrub communities at different disturbance stages. Four communities for different disturbance stages were surveyed by using 50×50 m plots. The individual shrubs were classified into coloniser and successor groups at the seed-dispersal stage and strong and weak sand-burial tolerance groups at the sand-expansion stage. We employed spatial point pattern analysis with null models for each community to examine the seed-dispersal strategy and sand-burial forces affecting community distribution patterns. At the seed-dispersal stage, the interactions between the colonisers and the successors showed significant positive correlation at a scale of 0–1 m and significant negative correlation at a scale of 2 m; significant negative correlations between the groups with strong and weak sand-burial tolerance in the early stage of sand expansion at scales of 3–6 m, and significant positive correlation in the later stage of sand expansion at a scale of 13 m, were found. Seed-dispersal strategy is a reasonable mechanism to explain the shrub community pattern formation in the earlier stages, whereas sand burial is the primary reason for the disappearance of shrubs with weak sand-burial tolerance, this irreversible disturbance causes homogenisation of the community structure and produces aging populations of shrub species. This has an important influence on the succession

  13. Carbon sequestration capacity of shifting sand dune after establishing new vegetation in the Tengger Desert, northern China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Haotian; Li, Xinrong; Wang, Zengru; Jia, Rongliang; Liu, Lichao; Chen, Yongle; Wei, Yongping; Gao, Yanhong; Li, Gang

    2014-04-15

    Reconstructing vegetation in arid and semiarid areas has become an increasingly important management strategy to realize habitat recovery, mitigate desertification and global climate change. To assess the carbon sequestration potential in areas where sand-binding vegetation has been established on shifting sand dunes by planting xeric shrubs located near the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert in northern China, we conducted a field investigation of restored dune regions that were established at different times (20, 30, 47, and 55 years ago) in the same area. We quantified the total organic carbon (TOC) in each ecosystem by summing the individual carbon contributions from the soil (soil organic carbon; SOC), shrubs, and grasses in each system. We found that the TOC, as well as the amount of organic carbon in the soil, shrubs, and grasses, significantly increased over time in the restored areas. The average annual rate of carbon sequestration was highest in the first 20 years after restoration (3.26 × 10(-2)kg·m(-2) ·year(-1)), and reached a stable rate (2.14 × 10(-2) kg·m(-2) ·year(-1)) after 47 years. Organic carbon storage in soil represented the largest carbon pool for both restored systems and a system containing native vegetation, accounting for 67.6%-85.0% of the TOC. Carbon in grass root biomass, aboveground grass biomass, litter, aboveground shrub biomass, and shrub root biomass account for 10.0%-21.0%, 0.2%-0.6%, 0.1%-0.2%, 1.7%-12.1% and 0.9%-6.2% of the TOC, respectively. Furthermore, we found that the 55-year-old restored system has the capacity to accumulate more TOC (1.02 kg·m(-2) more) to reach the TOC level found in the natural vegetation system. These results suggest that restoring desert ecosystems may be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and mitigate the effects of global climate change. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Effects of an invasive plant on a desert sand dune landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barrows, C.W.; Allen, E.B.; Brooks, M.L.; Allen, M.F.

    2009-01-01

    Given the abundance of non-native species invading wildland habitats, managers need to employ informed triage to focus control efforts on weeds with the greatest potential for negative impacts. Our objective here was to determine the level of threat Sahara mustard, Brassica tournefortii, represents to meeting regional goals for protecting biodiversity. Sahara mustard has spread throughout much of the Mojave and lower Sonoran Deserts. It has occurred in southern California's Coachella Valley for nearly 80 years, punctuated by years of extremely high abundance following high rainfall. In those years the mustard has clear negative impacts on the native flora. Using mustard removal experiments we identified reductions in native plant reproduction, shifting composition increasingly toward Sahara mustard while decreasing the fraction of native species. High between-year variance in precipitation may be a key to maintaining biodiversity as the mustard is less abundant in drier years. Sahara mustard impacts to the native fauna were much less evident. Of the animal species evaluated, only the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, Uma inornata, demonstrated a negative response to mustard abundance; however the impacts were short-lived, lasting no more than a year after the mustard's dominance waned. Without control measures the long-term impacts to desert biodiversity may rest on the changing climate. Wetter conditions or increased periodicity of high rainfall years will favor Sahara mustard and result in reduced biodiversity, especially of native annual plants. Drier conditions will keep the mustard from becoming dominant but may have other negative consequences on the native flora and fauna. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  15. Geodermatophilus telluris sp. nov., an actinomycete isolated from Saharan desert sand.

    PubMed

    Montero-Calasanz, Maria del Carmen; Göker, Markus; Pötter, Gabriele; Rohde, Manfred; Spröer, Cathrin; Schumann, Peter; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Gorbushina, Anna A

    2013-06-01

    A novel Gram-positive, multiloculated thalli-forming, aerobic, actinobacterial strain, CF9/1/1(T), was isolated in 2007 during environmental screening for xerophilic fungi in arid desert soil from the Sahara desert, Chad. The isolate grew best at a temperature range of 20-35 °C and at pH 6.0-8.5 and with 0-4% (w/v) NaCl, forming black-coloured and irregular colonies on GYM agar. Chemotaxonomic and molecular characteristics of the isolate matched those described for members of the genus Geodermatophilus. The DNA G+C content of the novel strain was 75.4 mol%. The peptidoglycan contained meso-diaminopimelic acid as a diagnostic diamino acid. The main phospholipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, a not yet structurally identified aminophospholipid and a small amount of phosphatidylglycerol; MK-9(H4) was identified as the dominant menaquinone and galactose was a diagnostic sugar. The major cellular fatty acids were branched-chain saturated acids: iso-C16:0 and iso-C15:0. The 16S rRNA gene sequence of the isolate showed 94.6-97.0% sequence similarities with those of five members of the genus: Geodermatophilus ruber DSM 45317(T) (94.6%), Geodermatophilus obscurus DSM 43160(T) (94.8%), Geodermatophilus siccatus DSM 45419(T) (96.2%), Geodermatophilus nigrescens DSM 45408(T) (96.7%) and Geodermatophilus arenarius DSM 45418(T) (97.0%). Based on the evidence from this polyphasic taxonomic study, a novel species, Geodermatophilus telluris sp. nov., is proposed; the type strain is CF9/1/1(T) (=DSM 45421(T)=CCUG 62764(T)).

  16. Dune ages in the sand deserts of the southern Sahara and Sahel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bristow, Charlie; Armitage, Simon

    2015-04-01

    In this paper we aim to document the history of aeolian processes within the southern Sahara as part of the INQUA Dune Atlas. We review available luminescence ages for sand dunes across the southern Sahara and attempt to correlate periods of sand accumulation and to develop an improved understanding of the dune chronology on a regional basis. This was achieved by analysing dune age by country, as well as by latitude and longitude. The results show a very patchy spatial distribution of dune ages with large gaps that encompass some of the largest sand seas. Despite these gaps, some related patterns in dune morphology and stratigraphy appear to be consistent between northern Nigeria and southern Mali where older linear dunes are distinct from younger Late Holocene transverse and barchanoid dunes. Elsewhere in Mauretania linear dunes with different orientations appear to have accumulated at different times, most likely in response to changes in atmospheric circulation. Regional climatic changes are identified where dunes are transgressed by lake deposits within endorehic basins. We identify four locations where dune accumulation is terminated by lacustrine transgressions, two of which, in Lake Chad and the Bodélé Depression, occur shortly after the last glacial maximum (LGM). The third example at Gobiero in Niger occurred later, in the early Holocene, around 8.4 ka and a fourth marks a later transgression of Palaeolake MegaChad after 4.7 ka. Larger-scale latitudinal and longitudinal distributions in dune ages across the southern Sahara do not show any consistent patterns, though this may due to the small sample size relative to the study area. In addition, local variations in external controls such as wind regime, rainfall, vegetation and sand supply need to be considered, sometimes on a site by site basis. Limiting the analysis to dune ages determined using the single-aliquot regenerative-dose (SAR) protocol indicates a lack of dune preservation during the LGM and

  17. Degradation of seed mucilage by soil microflora promotes early seedling growth of a desert sand dune plant.

    PubMed

    Yang, Xuejun; Baskin, Carol C; Baskin, Jerry M; Zhang, Wenhao; Huang, Zhenying

    2012-05-01

    In contrast to the extensive understanding of seed mucilage biosynthesis, much less is known about how mucilage is biodegraded and what role it plays in the soil where seeds germinate. We studied seed mucilage biodegradation by a natural microbial community. High-performance anion-exchange chromatography (HPAEC) was used to determine monosaccharide composition in achene mucilage of Artemisia sphaerocephala. Mucilage degradation by the soil microbial community from natural habitats was examined by monosaccharide utilization tests using Biolog plates, chemical assays and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. Glucose (29.4%), mannose (20.3%) and arabinose (19.5%) were found to be the main components of achene mucilage. The mucilage was biodegraded to CO(2) and soluble sugars, and an increase in soil microbial biomass was observed during biodegradation. Fluorescence microscopy showed the presence of mucilage (or its derivatives) in seedling tissues after growth with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled mucilage. The biodegradation also promoted early seedling growth in barren sand dunes, which was associated with a large soil microbial community that supplies substances promoting seedling establishment. We conclude that biodegradation of seed mucilage can play an ecologically important role in the life cycles of plants especially in harsh desert environments to which A. sphaerocephala is well-adapted.

  18. Geodermatophilus saharensis sp. nov., isolated from sand of the Saharan desert in Chad.

    PubMed

    Montero-Calasanz, M C; Göker, M; Pötter, G; Rohde, M; Spröer, C; Schumann, P; Gorbushina, A A; Klenk, H-P

    2013-03-01

    A novel Gram-positive, aerobic, actinobacterial strain, CF5/5, was isolated from soil in the Sahara desert, Chad. It grew best at 20-35 °C and at pH 6.0-8.0 and with 0-4 % (w/v) NaCl, forming black-colored colonies. Chemotaxonomic and molecular characteristics of the isolate matched those described for members of the genus Geodermatophilus. The DNA G + C content was 75.9 mol%. The peptidoglycan contained meso-diaminopimelic acid; galactose and xylose were detected as diagnostic sugars. The main phospholipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylcholine, and phosphatidylinositol; MK-9(H(4)) was the dominant menaquinone. The major cellular fatty acids were: iso-C(16:0) and iso-C(15:0). The 16S rRNA gene showed 95.6-98.3 % sequence similarity with the other named members of the genus Geodermatophilus. Based on the polyphasic taxonomy data, the isolate is proposed to represent a novel species, Geodermatophilus saharensis with the type strain CF5/5(T) = DSM 45423 = CCUG 62813 = MTCC 11416.

  19. Responses of photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of Bryum argenteum from a desert biological soil crust to elevated ultraviolet-B radiation.

    PubMed

    Hui, Rong; Li, Xinrong; Chen, Cuiyun; Zhao, Xin; Jia, Rongliang; Liu, Lichao; Wei, Yongping

    2013-04-01

    Our understanding of plant responses to enhanced ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation has improved over recent decades. However, research on cryptogams is scarce and it remains controversial whether UV-B radiation causes changes in physiology related to photosynthesis. To investigate the effects of supplementary UV-B radiation on photosynthesis and chloroplast ultrastructure in Bryum argenteum Hedw., specimens were cultured for 10 days under four UV-B treatments (2.75, 3.08, 3.25 and 3.41 W m(-2) ), simulating depletion of 0% (control), 6%, 9% and 12% of stratospheric ozone at the latitude of Shapotou, a temperate desert area of northwest China. Analyses showed malondialdehyde content significantly increased, whereas chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence parameters and Chl contents decreased with increased UV-B intensity. These results corresponded with changes in thylakoid protein complexes and chloroplast ultrastructure. Overall, enhanced UV-B radiation leads to significant decreases in photosynthetic function and serious destruction of the chloroplast ultrastructure of B. argenteum. The degree of negative influences increased with the intensity of UV-B radiation. These results may not only provide a potential mechanism for supplemental UV-B effects on photosynthesis of moss crust, but also establish a theoretical basis for further studies of adaptation and response mechanisms of desert ecosystems under future ozone depletion.

  20. Living in biological soil crust communities of African deserts-Physiological traits of green algal Klebsormidium species (Streptophyta) to cope with desiccation, light and temperature gradients.

    PubMed

    Karsten, Ulf; Herburger, Klaus; Holzinger, Andreas

    2016-05-01

    Green algae of the genus Klebsormidium (Klebsormidiales, Streptophyta) are typical members of biological soil crusts (BSCs) worldwide. The phylogeny and ecophysiology of Klebsormidium has been intensively studied in recent years, and a new lineage called superclade G, which was isolated from BSCs in arid southern Africa and comprising undescribed species, was reported. Three different African strains, that have previously been isolated from hot-desert BSCs and molecular-taxonomically characterized, were comparatively investigated. In addition, Klebsormidium subtilissimum from a cold-desert habitat (Alaska, USA, superclade E) was included in the study as well. Photosynthetic performance was measured under different controlled abiotic conditions, including dehydration and rehydration, as well as under a light and temperature gradient. All Klebsormidium strains exhibited optimum photosynthetic oxygen production at low photon fluence rates, but with no indication of photoinhibition under high light conditions pointing to flexible acclimation mechanisms of the photosynthetic apparatus. Respiration under lower temperatures was generally much less effective than photosynthesis, while the opposite was true for higher temperatures. The Klebsormidium strains tested showed a decrease and inhibition of the effective quantum yield during desiccation, however with different kinetics. While the single celled and small filamentous strains exhibited relatively fast inhibition, the uniserate filament forming isolates desiccated slower. Except one, all other strains fully recovered effective quantum yield after rehydration. The presented data provide an explanation for the regular occurrence of Klebsormidium strains or species in hot and cold deserts, which are characterized by low water availability and other stressful conditions. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.

  1. Geodermatophilus siccatus sp. nov., isolated from arid sand of the Saharan desert in Chad.

    PubMed

    del Carmen Montero-Calasanz, Maria; Göker, Markus; Rohde, Manfred; Schumann, Peter; Pötter, Gabriele; Spröer, Cathrin; Gorbushina, Anna A; Klenk, Hans-Peter

    2013-03-01

    A novel Gram-positive, aerobic, actinobacterial strain, CF6/1(T), was isolated in 2007 during environmental screening of arid desert soil in the Sahara near to Ourba, Chad. The isolate was found to grow best in a temperature range of 20-37 °C and at pH 6.0-8.5 and showed no NaCl tolerance, forming black-coloured and nearly circular colonies on GYM agar. Chemotaxonomic and molecular characteristics determined for the isolate match those previously described for members of the genus Geodermatophilus. The DNA G + C content of the novel strain was determined to be 74.9 mol %. The peptidoglycan was found to contain meso-diaminopimelic acid as the diagnostic diamino acid. The main phospholipids were determined to be phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylcholine, diphosphatidylglycerol and traces of phosphatidylglycerol; MK-9(H(4)) was identified as the dominant menaquinone and galactose as the diagnostic sugar. The major cellular fatty acids were found to be the branched-chain saturated acids iso-C(16:0) and iso-C(15:0), as well as C(17:1ω8c). The 16S rRNA gene sequence shows 97.5-97.9 % sequence identity with the four validly named or at least effectively published members of the genus: Geodermatophilus obscurus (97.5 %), Geodermatophilus arenarius (97.7 %), Geodermatophilus ruber (97.9 %) and Geodermatophilus nigrescens (97.9 %). Based on the results from this polyphasic taxonomic analysis and DNA-DNA hybridizations with all type strains of the genus, we propose that strain CF6/1(T) represents a novel species, Geodermatophilus siccatus, with the type strain CF6/1(T) = DSM 45419(T) = CCUG 62765(T) = MTCC 11414(T).

  2. Geodermatophilus arenarius sp. nov., a xerophilic actinomycete isolated from Saharan desert sand in Chad.

    PubMed

    Montero-Calasanz, M C; Göker, M; Pötter, G; Rohde, M; Spröer, C; Schumann, P; Gorbushina, A A; Klenk, H-P

    2012-11-01

    A novel Gram-positive, aerobic, actinobacterial strain, CF5/4(T), was isolated in 2007 during an environmental screening of arid desert soil in Ouré Cassoni, Chad. The isolate grew best in a temperature range of 28-40 °C and at pH 6.0-8.5, with 0-1 % (w/v) NaCl, forming brown-coloured and nearly circular colonies on GYM agar. Chemotaxonomic and molecular characteristics of the isolate matched those described for members of the genus Geodermatophilus. The DNA G + C content of the novel strain was 75.9 mol %. The peptidoglycan contained meso-diaminopimelic acid as diagnostic diaminoacid. The main phospholipids were phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylinositol, diphosphatidylglycerol and a small amount of phosphatidylglycerol; MK-9(H(4)) was identified as the dominant menaquinone and galactose as diagnostic sugar. The major cellular fatty acids were branched-chain saturated acids: iso-C(15:0) and iso-C(16:0). The 16S rRNA gene showed 96.2-98.3 % sequence identity with the three members of the genus Geodermatophilus: G. obscurus (96.2 %), G. ruber (96.5 %), and G. nigrescens (98.3 %). Based on the chemotaxonomic results, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization with the type strain of G. nigrescens, the isolate is proposed to represent a novel species, Geodermatophilus arenarius (type strain CF5/4(T) = DSM 45418(T) = MTCC 11413(T) = CCUG 62763(T)).

  3. Runoff initiation versus runoff yield: Understanding the complexity of the hydrological effect of biological soil crusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidron, G. J.; Monger, H. C.; Büdel, B.; Vonshak, A.; Conrod, W.

    2012-04-01

    The differentiation between runoff initiation and runoff yield (amount) is not always clear. In many cases they often seem interchangeable. Some of the differences were pinpointed following research conducted at two sand fields in Israel (Nizzanim, NIM, at the southern coast and Nizzana, NIZ in the Negev) and three sites in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA (silty-loessial sediments at the Jornada Experimental Range, JER; quartzose sand in the Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge, SEV; gypseous sand at the White Sands National Monument, WS) during which intact plots were compared to scalped plots. While the parent material, the effective rain, and the exopolysacharide (EPS) content of the crust determined runoff initiation in the Chihuahuan Desert, the effective rain and the crust microrelief determined the amount (yield) of runoff in areas where runoff initiation took place. Low EPS-crusts did not facilitated runoff initiation, even at high-chlorophyll crusts such as in WS. Similar results were obtained for NIM. Data from NIZ also highlighted the fundamental role played by the EPS in the determination of the amounts of runoff. This however was not the case with the chlorophyll content per se, that did not determine runoff initiation or yield. The findings also indicate that under the conditions examined, microrelief could not have controlled runoff initiation. Nevertheless, it affected the runoff amounts, as found in the Chihuahuan Desert and the Negev. The presence of rills and gullies may be indicative of the potentiality of BSCs to initiate runoff.

  4. Intraspecific variation of a desert shrub species in phenotypic plasticity in response to sand burial.

    PubMed

    Xu, Liang; Huber, Heidrun; During, Heinjo J; Dong, Ming; Anten, Niels P R

    2013-09-01

    Shoot elongation is one of the main plastic responses of plants to burial, a ubiquitous stress factor in dry ecosystems. Yet, intraspecific variation in this response to burial and the extent to which this variation is functionally coordinated with variation in other trait responses are largely unknown. We subjected seedlings of the shrub Caragana intermedia from 18 maternal parents (i.e. different half-sib families) to repeated partial burial to investigate how burial affects shoot growth, stem mechanical traits and associated plasticity. Burial increased both stem elongation and diameter growth of plants, but decreased biomass production. Half-sib families had different rates of shoot elongation, and differed in their response to burial with respect to biomechanical stem properties. Across half-sib families, the magnitude of these responses in mechanical traits was positively correlated with the magnitude of the stem elongation response. These results indicate that plasticity in different stem traits in response to sand burial and intraspecific variation therein are functionally coordinated with respect to mechanical stability. The results emphasize the importance of considering functionally coordinated traits when analyzing phenotypic plasticity in plants.

  5. Temporal observations of a linear sand dune in the Simpson Desert, central Australia: Testing models for dune formation on planetary surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craddock, Robert A.; Tooth, Stephen; Zimbelman, James R.; Wilson, Sharon A.; Maxwell, Ted A.; Kling, Corbin

    2015-10-01

    Linear dunes are the most common dune form found on planetary surfaces, yet questions remain about their formation. Temporal observations of a linear dune located in the Simpson Desert of central Australia were made to monitor dune movement and to test competing hypotheses regarding linear dune formation. Our observations were collected on three separate occasions from 2006 to 2014. Rebar stakes were placed in a gridded pattern so that multiple measurements of sand thickness, GPS surveys, and photographs could be taken at the same locations over time. We observed widespread reworking of sand on and around the dune crest, with sand accumulation locally exceeding a meter between surveys. Overall, the height of the dune crest increased by several centimeters. We also observed fluctuations in the sand cover in the adjacent swales that often exceeded 2-3 cm between surveys, yet we did not observe any appreciable changes in the position of the dune's downwind terminus. Weather data indicate that the effective sand-transporting winds in the Simpson are widely unimodal. Net sediment flux (resultant drift direction) is toward the north-northwest, locally at an oblique angle to dune orientation. Collectively, our results suggest that the linear dune is actively maintained by vertical accretion. The implications from our observations are that linear dunes on other planetary surfaces could form in wind regimes that are widely unimodal, even where the resultant drift direction is locally oblique to dune orientation. In particular, such findings may provide support for global circulation models of Titan.

  6. Community assembly of biological soil crusts of different successional stages in a temperate sand ecosystem, as assessed by direct determination and enrichment techniques.

    PubMed

    Langhans, Tanja Margrit; Storm, Christian; Schwabe, Angelika

    2009-08-01

    In temperate regions, biological soil crusts (BSCs: complex communities of cyanobacteria, eukaryotic algae, bryophytes, and lichens) are not well investigated regarding community structure and diversity. Furthermore, studies on succession are rare. For that reason, the community assembly of crusts representing two successional stages (initial, 5 years old; and stable, >20 years old) were analyzed in an inland sand ecosystem in Germany in a plot-based approach (2 x 18 plots, each 20 x 20 cm). Two different methods were used to record the cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae in these communities comprehensively: determination directly out of the soil and enrichment culture techniques. Additionally, lichens, bryophytes, and phanerogams were determined. We examine four hypotheses: (1) A combination of direct determination and enrichment culture technique is necessary to detect cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae comprehensively. In total, 45 species of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae were detected in the study area with both techniques, including 26 eukaryotic algae and 19 cyanobacteria species. With both determination techniques, 22 identical taxa were detected (11 eukaryotic algae and 11 cyanobacteria). Thirteen taxa were only found by direct determination, and ten taxa were only found in enrichment cultures. Hence, the hypothesis is supported. Additionally, five lichen species (three genera), five bryophyte species (five genera), and 24 vascular plant species occurred. (2) There is a clear difference between the floristic structure of initial and stable crusts. The different successional stages are clearly separated by detrended correspondence analysis, showing a distinct structure of the community assembly in each stage. In the initial crusts, Klebsormidium flaccidum, Klebsormidium cf. klebsii, and Stichococcus bacillaris were important indicator species, whereas the stable crusts are especially characterized by Tortella inclinata. (3) The biodiversity of BSC taxa

  7. Characterization of the thermally metamorphosed mantle-crust transition zone of the Neoproterozoic ophiolite at Gebel Mudarjaj, south Eastern Desert, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahmed, Ahmed Hassan; Gharib, Moustafa E.; Arai, Shoji

    2012-06-01

    A suite of mantle-crust transition zone (Moho transition zone = MTZ) rocks are exceptionally well exposed in Gebel Mudarjaj area, southeastern desert of Egypt. The MTZ rocks were thermally metamorphosed by younger granitic intrusion, forming mafic-ultramafic hornfels with characteristic metamorphic mineral assemblages. The MTZ rocks are remarkably thin (30-50 m thick) and are composed mainly of dunites, troctolites, gabbroic rocks and pyroxenite masses overlying a basal serpentinized mantle harzburgite section. The Cr# of spinels of the basal serpentinized harzburgites and the MTZ dunites are on average 0.76 and 0.74, respectively, which is consistent with the range for arc peridotite spinels. The melt in equilibrium with these MTZ rocks is compositionally similar to boninitic magmas produced by high degrees of partial melting. The basal harzburgites and MTZ dunites have been produced by 19-23% mantle melting, and are compositionally similar to supra-subduction zone (SSZ) peridotites. The mantle melt in equilibrium with pyroxenites was formed after 16-17% partial melting, which subsequently reacted with the lower crustal gabbroic rocks to produce pyroxenites. The occurrence of pyroxenite masses at the crust-mantle boundary suggests a medium- to high-pressure accumulation of pyroxenes in mid- to lower crustal magma chambers. The original MTZ rocks were partially or fully hydrated, prior to the granitic intrusion, during the regional metamorphism, tectonic disruption and emplacement as various fragments of a dismembered ophiolite, to form antigorite-bearing serpentinized mafic-ultramafic rocks. Progressive metamorphic assemblages then overprinted the primary features due to the contact metamorphism of the MTZ rocks. The resultant metamorphic mineral assemblages are: (1) olivine + anthophyllite + tremolite ± chlorite ± talc (in the basal serpentinites), (2) olivine + enstatite ± chlorite (in the MTZ dunites), and (3) olivine + aluminous spinel (pleonaste

  8. Thar Desert

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2001-10-22

    This ASTER sub-scene covers an area of 12 x 15 km in NW India in the Thar Desert. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert constantly shift and take on new shapes. Located in northwestern India and eastern Pakistan, the desert is bounded on the south by a salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch, and on the west by the Indus River plain. About 800 kilometers long and about 490 kilometers wide, the desert's terrain is mainly rolling sandhills with scattered growths of shrub and rock outcroppings. Only about 12 to 25 centimeters of rain fall on the desert each year, and temperatures rise as high as 52 degrees Celsius. Much of the population is pastoral, raising sheep for their wool. The image is located at 24.4 degrees north latitude and 69.3 degrees east longitude. http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA11094

  9. Changes in vegetation and biological soil crust communities on sand dunes stabilizing after a century of grazing on San Miguel Island, Channel Island National Park, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zellman, Kristine L.

    2014-01-01

    San Miguel Island is the westernmost of the California Channel Islands and one of the windiest areas on the west coast of North America. The majority of the island is covered by coastal sand dunes, which were stripped of vegetation and subsequently mobilized due to droughts and sheep ranching during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Since the removal of grazing animals, vegetation and biological soil crusts have once again stabilized many of the island's dunes. In this study, historical aerial photographs and field surveys were used to develop a chronosequence of the pattern of change in vegetation communities and biological soil crust levels of development (LOD) along a gradient of dune stabilization. Historical aerial photographs from 1929, 1954, 1977, and 2009 were georeferenced and used to delineate changes in vegetation canopy cover and active (unvegetated) dune extent among 5 historical periods (pre-1929, 1929–1954, 1954–1977, 1977–2009, and 2009–2011). During fieldwork, vegetation and biological soil crust communities were mapped along transects distributed throughout San Miguel Island's central dune field on land forms that had stabilized during the 5 time periods of interest. Analyses in a geographic information system (GIS) quantified the pattern of changes that vegetation and biological soil crust communities have exhibited on the San Miguel Island dunes over the past 80 years. Results revealed that a continuing increase in total vegetation cover and a complex pattern of change in vegetation communities have taken place on the San Miguel Island dunes since the removal of grazing animals. The highly specialized native vascular vegetation (sea rocket, dunedelion, beach-bur, and locoweed) are the pioneer stabilizers of the dunes. This pioneer community is replaced in later stages by communities that are dominated by native shrubs (coastal goldenbush, silver lupine, coyote-brush, and giant coreopsis), with apparently overlapping or

  10. Microbial Community Structure and the Persistence of Cyanobacterial Populations in Salt Crusts of the Hyperarid Atacama Desert from Genome-Resolved Metagenomics

    DOE PAGES

    Finstad, Kari M.; Probst, Alexander J.; Thomas, Brian C.; ...

    2017-07-28

    Although once thought to be devoid of biology, recent studies have identified salt deposits as oases for life in the hyperarid Atacama Desert. To examine spatial patterns of microbial species and key nutrient sources, we genomically characterized 26 salt crusts from three sites along a fog gradient. The communities are dominated by a large variety of Halobacteriales and Bacteroidetes, plus a few algal and Cyanobacterial species. CRISPR locus analysis suggests the distribution of a single Cyanobacterial population among all sites. This is in stark contrast to the extremely high sample specificity of most other community members. Only present at themore » highest moisture site is a genomically characterized Thermoplasmatales archaeon (Marine Group II) and six Nanohaloarchaea, one of which is represented by a complete genome. Parcubacteria (OD1) and Saccharibacteria (TM7), not previously reported from hypersaline environments, were found at low abundances. We found no indication of a N2 fixation pathway in the communities, suggesting acquisition of bioavailable nitrogen from atmospherically derived nitrate. Samples cluster by site based on bacterial and archaeal abundance patterns and photosynthetic capacity decreases with increasing distance from the ocean. We conclude that moisture level, controlled by coastal fog intensity, is the strongest driver of community membership.« less

  11. Observed particle sizes and fluxes of Aeolian sediment in the near surface layer during sand-dust storms in the Taklamakan Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huo, Wen; He, Qing; Yang, Fan; Yang, Xinghua; Yang, Qing; Zhang, Fuyin; Mamtimin, Ali; Liu, Xinchun; Wang, Mingzhong; Zhao, Yong; Zhi, Xiefei

    2016-08-01

    Monitoring, modeling and predicting the formation and movement of dust storms across the global deserts has drawn great attention in recent decades. Nevertheless, the scarcity of real-time observations of the wind-driven emission, transport and deposition of dusts has severely impeded progress in this area. In this study, we report an observational analysis of sand-dust storm samples collected at seven vertical levels from an 80-m-high flux tower located in the hinterland of the great Taklamakan Desert for ten sand-dust storm events that occurred during 2008-2010. We analyzed the vertical distribution of sandstorm particle grain sizes and horizontal sand-dust sediment fluxes from the near surface up to 80 m high in this extremely harsh but highly representative environment. The results showed that the average sandstorm grain size was in the range of 70 to 85 μm. With the natural presence of sand dunes and valleys, the horizontal dust flux appeared to increase with height within the lower surface layer, but was almost invariant above 32 m. The average flux values varied within the range of 8 to 14 kg m-2 and the vertical distribution was dominated by the wind speed in the boundary layer. The dominant dust particle size was PM100 and below, which on average accounted for 60-80 % of the samples collected, with 0.9-2.5 % for PM0-2.5, 3.5-7.0 % for PM0-10, 5.0-14.0 % for PM0-20 and 20.0-40.0 % for PM0-50. The observations suggested that on average the sand-dust vertical flux potential is about 0.29 kg m-2 from the top of the 80 m tower to the upper planetary boundary layer and free atmosphere through the transport of particles smaller than PM20. Some of our results differed from previous measurements from other desert surfaces and laboratory wind-dust experiments, and therefore provide valuable observations to support further improvement of modeling of sandstorms across different natural environmental conditions.

  12. Evaluation of a metofluthrin fan vaporizer device against phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in a cutaneous leishmaniasis focus in the Judean Desert, Israel.

    PubMed

    Zollner, Gabriela; Orshan, Laor

    2011-03-01

    The OFF! Clip-On fan vaporizer device releasing metofluthrin was evaluated against phletobomine sand flies in the Judean Desert, Israel, in October, 2009. A total of 76,400 sand flies was collected, with male flies representing 98.3%Phlebotomus sergenti and 1.7%P. papatasi. Females comprised 43.0% of the total catch and included 6.7% blood-fed females. Similar proportions of flies were collected in both suction and sticky traps. In trials with unbaited suction traps, similar numbers of sand flies were collected in traps with a metofluthrin device, blank device, or no device (i.e., suction only). In suction traps baited with CO(2) , higher numbers of P. sergenti males and blood-fed females were collected in traps with a blank device compared to traps with a metofluthrin device. In sticky traps baited with CO(2) , there were no significant differences between catches in traps with a metofluthrin device, blank device, or no device. The results suggest metofluthrin from the device is not repellent against sand flies in a field environment despite showing insecticidal activity against flies collected in suction traps. © 2011 The Society for Vector Ecology.

  13. Correlations of foliar Δ with K concentration and ash content in sand-fixing plants in the Tengger Desert of China: patterns and implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Liangju; Xiao, Honglang; Liu, Xiaohong; Juan, Ren; Mingfeng, Lu; Maoxian, Zhou

    2007-01-01

    In different-aged sand-fixing zones and shifting sand dunes, the seasonal variations of foliar carbon isotope discrimination (Δ), potassium (K) concentration and ash content were investigated in three dominated deserted plants ( Artemisia ordosica, Hedysarum scoparium and Caragana korshinskii) during growth season in Shapotou, which is in the southeast margin of the Tengger Desert. The correlations of foliar Δ with foliar K concentration and ash content were examined to evaluate the foliar K and ash content as surrogates of Δ in those deserted plants. Results showed that there were significant effects of plant species, micro-habitation and growth season on foliar Δ, K concentration and ash content. Foliar Δ of C. korshinskii was significantly lower than those of A. ordosica and H. scoparium, and K concentrations in A. ordosica were 2.14 and 2.36 times those of C. korshinskii and H. scoparium. At the same time, micro-habitation and the conditions in growth seasons had significant effects on foliar Δ, K concentration and ash content. Ash content and K concentration were positively correlated to Δ in A. ordosica and H. scoparium, while there was significantly negative relationship between foliar K concentration and Δ in C. korshinskii. Thus, those findings suggest that foliar ash content and K concentration can serve as surrogates of carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) in A. ordosica and H. scoparium, while they do not in C. korshinskii. This result implied that the correlations of foliar Δ with ash content and K concentration were various due to the physiological features of plant species, and species differences should be fully considered when evaluating the surrogates of carbon isotope discrimination in plants.

  14. Selection and Characterization of Terrestrial Analogs to the Martian Crust: Field Sites in the U.S. Desert Southwest for Testing Radar Sounders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dinwiddie, C. L.; Stamatakos, J. A.; Gonzalez, S. H.; Grimm, R. E.; McKague, H. L.; Browning, L. B.; Ferrill, D. A.

    2004-05-01

    present available site characterization data, including results of complementary geophysical investigations (e.g., electromagnetic and magnetotelluric) for field locations in the U.S. Desert Southwest that satisfy requirements for suitability as terrestrial analogues to the Martian crust. In particular, we have assembled a wide range of geological, hydrogeological, geophysical, and geochemical data from the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These data have been acquired over the past 15 years as part of our on-going technical work to support the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in review of a potential license application for a high-level radioactive waste repository. These data make this region of southern Nevada an ideal site for testing existing and planned Martian exploration devices, including radar sounders.

  15. [Storages and distributed patterns of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen during the succession of artificial sand-binding vegetation in arid desert ecosystem].

    PubMed

    Jia, Xiao-Hong; Li, Xin-Rong; Zhou, Yu-Yan; Li, Yuan-Shou

    2012-03-01

    Soil carbon pool acts as the largest one of carbon pools in the terrestrial ecosystem. The storages and distributed patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) evaluated accurately are helpful to predict the feedback between the terrestrial ecosystem and climate changes. Based on the data about bulk density, content of SOC and TN at 0-100 cm soil profile, the density of SOC and TN at the temporal (chronosequence of artificial vegetation) and spatial (vertical) distributed patterns have been estimated. The results indicated that storages of SOC and TN at 0-100 cm depth increased with the chronosequence of artificial vegetation. The storages of SOC and TN showed the same tendency with the succession time of artificial vegetation. Storages of SOC and TN significantly increased at the early stage of banding sand by artificially vegetation (< 16 a), then piled up at the mid-stage (16-25 a), and markedly increased at the late stage (> 25 a). The variation of storages mainly occurred in the 0-20 cm depth. The storages decreased with the soil vertical depth. At the early stage of banding sand, increase in storage included every depth (0-100 cm). Whereas, at the later stage, increase in storage at 0-20 cm depth was main, and increase in the 20-100 cm was inconspicuous. The accumulation of storage at the shallow soil depth was more notability with the succession of artificial vegetation. The distributed pattern of storage in SOC and TN has been confirmed in arid desert regions below 200 mm annual precipitation. This was beneficial to understand the carbon cycle and to predict the feedback relationship between desert ecosystem and climate changes.

  16. Desert Patterns

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-09-27

    Desert Patterns - April 13th, 2003 Description: Seen through the "eyes" of a satellite sensor, ribbons of Saharan sand dunes seem to glow in sunset colors. These patterned stripes are part of Erg Chech, a desolate sand sea in southwestern Algeria, Africa, where the prevailing winds create an endlessly shifting collage of large, linear sand dunes. The term "erg" is derived from an Arabic word for a field of sand dunes. Credit: USGS/NASA/Landsat 7 To learn more about the Landsat satellite go to: landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/ NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Join us on Facebook

  17. The physiology mechanisms on drought tolerance and adaptation of biological soil crust moss Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis in Tenger Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, X.; Shi, Y.; Chen, C.; Jia, R.; Li, X.

    2012-04-01

    Bryum argenteum Hedw. and Didymodon vinealis Brid are two dominant moss species in the restored vegetation area in Tenger Desert, which sampled from biological soil crusts and where is an extreme drought regions. We found that they resorted to different osmotic adjustment strategies to mitigate osmotic stress. Under the gradual drought stress, both Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis accumulated K+ and soluble sugar such as sucrose and trehalose. Their glycine betaine contents both decreased, while their proline content had no significant change. With enhanced drought stress, Bryum argenteum's Na+ content was low and decreased significantly, whereas Didymodon vinealis's Na+ content increased sharply and reached to a high level. We found the different of the mechanism of between active oxygen scavenging on Enzymatic and non - enzymatic system in two species moss of Bryum argenteum Hedw and Didymodon vinealis Brid under extreme drought stress. The result showed that two species of Moss of SOD activity gradually enhanced, and they have the material basis for effectively eliminates in vivo of Superoxide free radical. POD in Didymodon nigrescen and CAT in Bryum argeneum are major resistance o oxidative stress effects. The content of GSH rise with the stress also enhanced. The mechanism of finding Bryum argenteum Hedw and Didymodon vinealis Brid tolerance of dehydration ability were focus on different direction, but they are all given positive response to stress and enhance resistance. We investigated the responses of signal transduction substances to gradual drought stress in Didymodon vinealis and Bryum argenteum. The results suggested that: under gradual drought stress, the activities of TP H+-ATPase and PM H+-ATPase of Didymodon vinealis and Bryum argenteum both increased, resulting in their increase of K+ contents and turgor pressures, and triggered biosynthesis of signal transduction substances. ABA had no obvious effect in signal transduction of Bryum argenteum

  18. Fractal Scaling of Particle Size Distribution and Relationships with Topsoil Properties Affected by Biological Soil Crusts

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Guang-Lei; Ding, Guo-Dong; Wu, Bin; Zhang, Yu-Qing; Qin, Shu-Gao; Zhao, Yuan-Yuan; Bao, Yan-Feng; Liu, Yun-Dong; Wan, Li; Deng, Ji-Feng

    2014-01-01

    Background Biological soil crusts are common components of desert ecosystem; they cover ground surface and interact with topsoil that contribute to desertification control and degraded land restoration in arid and semiarid regions. Methodology/Principal Findings To distinguish the changes in topsoil affected by biological soil crusts, we compared topsoil properties across three types of successional biological soil crusts (algae, lichens, and mosses crust), as well as the referenced sandland in the Mu Us Desert, Northern China. Relationships between fractal dimensions of soil particle size distribution and selected soil properties were discussed as well. The results indicated that biological soil crusts had significant positive effects on soil physical structure (P<0.05); and soil organic carbon and nutrients showed an upward trend across the successional stages of biological soil crusts. Fractal dimensions ranged from 2.1477 to 2.3032, and significantly linear correlated with selected soil properties (R2 = 0.494∼0.955, P<0.01). Conclusions/Significance Biological soil crusts cause an important increase in soil fertility, and are beneficial to sand fixation, although the process is rather slow. Fractal dimension proves to be a sensitive and useful index for quantifying changes in soil properties that additionally implies desertification. This study will be essential to provide a firm basis for future policy-making on optimal solutions regarding desertification control and assessment, as well as degraded ecosystem restoration in arid and semiarid regions. PMID:24516668

  19. Radiotelemetry Study of a Desert Tortoise Population: Sand Hill Training Mea, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1998-05-01

    have dramatically declined, making it economically feasible to extend the utility and applications of this important field technique. The most...increases the probability of local extinctions from inbreeding depression, loss of heterosis (decreased genetic variability), and genetic drift (the...USACERLTR-98/39 57 Bürge, B.L., "Daily and Seasonal Behavior, and Areas Utilized by the Desert Tortoise Gopherus Agassizii in Southern Nevada," The

  20. Drawing a line in the sand: Effectiveness of off-highway vehicle management in California's Sonoran desert.

    PubMed

    Custer, Nathan A; DeFalco, Lesley A; Nussear, Kenneth E; Esque, Todd C

    2017-05-15

    Public land policies manage multiple uses while striving to protect vulnerable plant and wildlife habitats from degradation; yet the effectiveness of such policies are infrequently evaluated, particularly for remote landscapes that are difficult to monitor. We assessed the use and impacts of recreational vehicles on Mojave Desert washes (intermittent streams) in the Chemehuevi Desert Wildlife Management Area (DWMA) of southern California. Wash zones designated as open and closed to off-highway vehicle (OHV) activity were designed in part to protect Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) habitat while allowing recreation in designated areas. OHV tracks were monitored in washes located near access roads during winter and early spring holidays - when recreation is typically high - and at randomly dispersed locations away from roads. Washes near access roads had fewer vehicle tracks within closed than open zones; further away from roads, OHV tracks were infrequent and their occurrence was not different between wash designations. Washes were in better condition in closed zones following major holidays as indicated by less vegetation damage, presence of trash, and wash bank damage. Furthermore, the frequency of washes with live tortoises and their sign was marginally greater in closed than open wash zones. Collectively, these results suggest that low impacts to habitats in designated closed wash zones reflect public compliance with federal OHV policy and regulations in the Chemehuevi DWMA during our study. Future monitoring to contrast wash use and impacts during other seasons as well as in other DWMAs will elucidate spatial and temporal patterns of recreation in these important conservation areas.

  1. Drawing a line in the sand: Effectiveness of off-highway vehicle management in California's Sonoran desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Custer, Nathan; Defalco, Lesley A.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.

    2017-01-01

    Public land policies manage multiple uses while striving to protect vulnerable plant and wildlife habitats from degradation; yet the effectiveness of such policies are infrequently evaluated, particularly for remote landscapes that are difficult to monitor. We assessed the use and impacts of recreational vehicles on Mojave Desert washes (intermittent streams) in the Chemehuevi Desert Wildlife Management Area (DWMA) of southern California. Wash zones designated as open and closed to off-highway vehicle (OHV) activity were designed in part to protect Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) habitat while allowing recreation in designated areas. OHV tracks were monitored in washes located near access roads during winter and early spring holidays – when recreation is typically high – and at randomly dispersed locations away from roads. Washes near access roads had fewer vehicle tracks within closed than open zones; further away from roads, OHV tracks were infrequent and their occurrence was not different between wash designations. Washes were in better condition in closed zones following major holidays as indicated by less vegetation damage, presence of trash, and wash bank damage. Furthermore, the frequency of washes with live tortoises and their sign was marginally greater in closed than open wash zones. Collectively, these results suggest that low impacts to habitats in designated closed wash zones reflect public compliance with federal OHV policy and regulations in the Chemehuevi DWMA during our study. Future monitoring to contrast wash use and impacts during other seasons as well as in other DWMAs will elucidate spatial and temporal patterns of recreation in these important conservation areas.

  2. Desert Landscape, Mauritania, Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    The hyperarid western extremity of the Sahara Desert of Mauritania (19.0N, 15.0W). The foreground is dominated by a series of dramatic, elongated linear dunes and the richat depression. Desert winds regularly blow desert sand towards the coast parallel with the dunes and much of it is actually blown out to sea. Dust storms often move hundreds of miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, sometimes even reaching South America and the Caribbean.

  3. Temperature and humidity measurements within desert barchan sand dunes, relation to dune aeolian mobility and microbial growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Louge, Michel; Hay, Anthony; Richer, Renee; Valance, Alexandre; Ould el Moctar, Ahmed; Xu, Jin; Abdul-Majid, Sara

    2013-04-01

    We present diurnal variations of temperature and humidity profiles below the surface of hyper-arid aeolian crescent-shaped "barchan" dunes in Qatar and Mauritania, measured using a thermal probe and a new ultra-sensitive capacitance instrument that we developed for this purpose. We also report long-term measurements from a probe sunk on the downwind avalanche face of a mobile Qatar barchan, recording temperature and humidity until it emerged on the upwind slope 15 months later. We interpret the data by modeling heat and moisture transfer at the surface in terms of measured net surface radiation, wind, and atmospheric conditions. We demonstrate the presence of microbes on sand grains within these mobile dunes using microscopic observations, fluorescence counts, metagenomic sequencing, and C12/C13 isotope analysis of carbon dioxide sampled below the surface. By determining how water activity grows with moisture adsorbed on these sands, we delimit regions within the dune where our instruments recorded humidity conducive to microbial growth. Finally, we compare the mobility of two adjacent Mauritania barchans having distinct surface grain size, shape, and depth humidity profiles. Armored by large grains on its surface, the smaller dune was more oblong. As a result, it lacked flow recirculation in its wake, trapped less aeolian sand downwind, and was much less mobile than its smaller size would suggest. This slower mobility led to greater humidity and cohesion at depth than the larger dune exposed to the same atmospheric and wind conditions.

  4. Thar Desert

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    This ASTER sub-scene covers an area of 12 x 15 km in NW India in the Thar Desert. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert constantly shift and take on new shapes. Located in northwestern India and eastern Pakistan, the desert is bounded on the south by a salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch, and on the west by the Indus River plain. About 800 kilometers long and about 490 kilometers wide, the desert's terrain is mainly rolling sandhills with scattered growths of shrub and rock outcroppings. Only about 12 to 25 centimeters of rain fall on the desert each year, and temperatures rise as high as 52 degrees Celsius. Much of the population is pastoral, raising sheep for their wool. The image is located at 24.4 degrees north latitude and 69.3 degrees east longitude.

    The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

  5. Geodermatophilus tzadiensis sp. nov., a UV radiation-resistant bacterium isolated from sand of the Saharan desert.

    PubMed

    Montero-Calasanz, Maria del Carmen; Göker, Markus; Broughton, William J; Cattaneo, Arlette; Favet, Jocelyne; Pötter, Gabriele; Rohde, Manfred; Spröer, Cathrin; Schumann, Peter; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Gorbushina, Anna A

    2013-05-01

    Three novel Gram-positive, aerobic, actinobacterial strains, CF5/2(T), CF5/1 and CF7/1, were isolated in 2007 during environmental screening of arid desert soil in the Sahara desert, Chad. Results from riboprinting, MALDI-TOF protein spectra and 16S rRNA sequence analysis confirmed that all three strains belonged to the same species. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA sequences with the strains' closest relatives indicated that they represented a distinct species. The three novel strains also shared a number of physiological and biochemical characteristics distinct from previously named Geodermatophilus species. The novel strains' peptidoglycan contained meso-diaminopimelic acid; their main phospholipids were phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol and a small amount of phosphatidylglycerol; MK-9(H4) was the dominant menaquinone. The major cellular fatty acids were the branched-chain saturated acids iso-C16:0 and iso-C15:0. Galactose was detected as diagnostic sugar. Based on these chemotaxonomic results, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization between strain CF5/2(T) and the type strains of Geodermatophilus saharensis, Geodermatophilus arenarius, Geodermatophilus nigrescens, Geodermatophilus telluris and Geodermatophilus siccatus, the isolates CF5/2(T), CF5/1 and CF7/1 are proposed to represent a novel species, Geodermatophilus tzadiensis, with type strain CF5/2(T)=DSM 45416=MTCC 11411 and two reference strains, CF5/1 (DSM 45415) and CF7/1 (DSM 45420). Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  6. Characterization of magnetic spherical fractions in sand deposits for interpretation of environmental change around the El- Zayyan temple, Kharga Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watanabe, Makiko; Koizumi, Natsuko; Kato, Sayuri; Kikuchi, Ryohei; Kamei, Hiroyuki

    2014-05-01

    Desertification in North Africa has rapidly advanced over the last 6,000 years. Such environmental changes began in the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt (4200 - 3150 BC), and the occupation of Achaemenid Persian and Roman cultures in Egypt occurred under even drier climates. Kharga is the largest oasis of the five oases, located in the western desert of Egypt that contains a treasure trove of archaeological resources. This oasis has been highlighted to promote resource exploration and development of archaeological tourism since the 1980's. The El-Zayyan temple is located 27 km south of the central Kharga oasis. Zayyan was once called 'Tchonemyris', which has connection with the means of 'huge well' in Greek. Although major portions of the temple were rebuilt in 140 AD during the rule of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, this temple is considered to be originally built in the Ptolemaic period (4c-1c BC). It is likely that the area had a sufficient water supply in the past as the El-Zayyan temple stands at the lowest point (-18 m a.s.l.) in the Kharga oasis. Furthermore, the El-Ghueita temple that stands on a hill top at 68.5 m a.s.l., 4 km northward from the El-Zayyan temple, has given name that means 'beautiful garden' in Greek. From these facts, we can imagine that the past landscape of this area contained green surroundings. The El-Ghueita temple was well known as a production centre of high quality wine since the mid-Dynastic age (2050 -1786 BC). As this area is currently arid, it is expected that there were irrigation facilities to maintain the vast farm land during the ancient period. To deepen our knowledge of how people developed their technologies and conducted their life within the natural environment of a drastic drying period, understanding the process of environmental change on a region scale is necessary. The aim of this study was to extract proxies from sand deposits in the western desert area to estimate the change in the environment. We examined the

  7. Ubiquity, diversity and physiological characteristics of Geodermatophilaceae in Shapotou National Desert Ecological Reserve

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Hong-Min; Zhang, Tao; Yu, Li-Yan; Sen, Keya; Zhang, Yu-Qin

    2015-01-01

    The goal of this study was to gain insight into the diversity of culturable actinobacteria in desert soil crusts and to determine the physiological characteristics of the predominant actinobacterial group in these crusts. Culture-dependent method was employed to obtain actinobacterial strains from desert soil samples collected from Shapotou National Desert Ecological Reserve (NDER) located in Tengger Desert, China. A total of 376 actinobacterial strains were isolated and 16S rRNA gene sequences analysis indicated that these isolates belonged to 29 genera within 18 families, among which the members of the family Geodermatophilaceae were predominant. The combination of 16S rRNA gene information and the phenotypic data allowed these newly-isolated Geodermatophilaceae members to be classified into 33 “species clusters,” 11 of which represented hitherto unrecognized species. Fermentation broths from 19.7% of the isolated strains showed activity in at least one of the six screens for antibiotic activity. These isolates exhibited bio-diversity in enzymatic characteristics and carbon utilization profiles. The physiological characteristics of the isolates from different types of crusts or bare sand samples were specific to their respective micro-ecological environments. Our study revealed that members of the family Geodermatophilaceae were ubiquitous, abundant, and diverse in Shapotou NDER, and these strains may represent a new major group of potential functional actinobacteria in desert soil. PMID:26483778

  8. Ubiquity, diversity and physiological characteristics of Geodermatophilaceae in Shapotou National Desert Ecological Reserve.

    PubMed

    Sun, Hong-Min; Zhang, Tao; Yu, Li-Yan; Sen, Keya; Zhang, Yu-Qin

    2015-01-01

    The goal of this study was to gain insight into the diversity of culturable actinobacteria in desert soil crusts and to determine the physiological characteristics of the predominant actinobacterial group in these crusts. Culture-dependent method was employed to obtain actinobacterial strains from desert soil samples collected from Shapotou National Desert Ecological Reserve (NDER) located in Tengger Desert, China. A total of 376 actinobacterial strains were isolated and 16S rRNA gene sequences analysis indicated that these isolates belonged to 29 genera within 18 families, among which the members of the family Geodermatophilaceae were predominant. The combination of 16S rRNA gene information and the phenotypic data allowed these newly-isolated Geodermatophilaceae members to be classified into 33 "species clusters," 11 of which represented hitherto unrecognized species. Fermentation broths from 19.7% of the isolated strains showed activity in at least one of the six screens for antibiotic activity. These isolates exhibited bio-diversity in enzymatic characteristics and carbon utilization profiles. The physiological characteristics of the isolates from different types of crusts or bare sand samples were specific to their respective micro-ecological environments. Our study revealed that members of the family Geodermatophilaceae were ubiquitous, abundant, and diverse in Shapotou NDER, and these strains may represent a new major group of potential functional actinobacteria in desert soil.

  9. Oxidation of aliphatic, branched chain, and aromatic hydrocarbons by Nocardia cyriacigeorgica isolated from oil-polluted sand samples collected in the Saudi Arabian Desert.

    PubMed

    Le, Thi Nhi-Cong; Mikolasch, Annett; Awe, Susanne; Sheikhany, Halah; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Schauer, Frieder

    2010-06-01

    A soil bacterium isolated from oil-polluted sand samples collected in the Saudi Arabian Desert has been determined as Nocardia cyriacigeorgica, which has a high capacity of degrading and utilizing a broad range of hydrocarbons. The metabolic pathways of three classes of hydrocarbons were elucidated by identifying metabolites in cell-free extracts analyzed by GC/MS and HPLC/UV-Vis in comparison with standard compounds. During tetradecane oxidation, tetradecanol; tetradecanoic acid; dodecanoic acid; decanoic acid could be found as metabolites, indicating a monoterminal degradation pathway of n -alkanes. The oxidation of pristane resulted in the presence of pristanoic acid; 2-methylglutaric acid; 4,8-dimethylnonanoic acid; and 2,6-dimethylheptanoic acid, which give rise to a possible mono- and di-terminal oxidation. In case of sec -octylbenzene, eight metabolites were detected including 5-phenylhexanoic acid; 3-phenylbutyric acid; 2-phenylpropionic acid; beta -methylcinnamic acid; acetophenone; beta -hydroxy acetophenone; 2,3-dihydroxy benzoic acid and succinic acid. From these intermediates a new degradation pathway for sec -octylbenzene was investigated. Our results indicate that N. cyriacigeorgica has the ability to degrade aliphatic and branched chain alkanes as well as alkylbenzene effectively and, therefore, N. cyriacigeorgica is probably a suitable bacterium for biodegradation of oil or petroleum products in contaminated soils.

  10. Reproductive cycle of free-living male Saharan sand vipers, Cerastes vipera (Viperidae) in the Negev desert, Israel.

    PubMed

    Sivan, Jaim; Kam, Michael; Hadad, Shlomo; Allan Degen, A; Rozenboim, Israel; Rosenstrauch, Avi

    2012-11-01

    The Saharan sand viper, Cerastes vipera (Linnaeus, 1758), is distributed in all Saharan countries, being confined to sand and dune systems. This relatively small snake, up to 35 cm, is nocturnal, is active from spring to autumn (April to October) and hibernates during the winter (November to March). We predicted that C. vipera would have peak plasma testosterone concentration at mating and that the vas deferens would contain abundant spermatozoa at that time. To test our predictions, we collected information on the time of mating and measured monthly testosterone concentration, testes size and testicular activity in free-living male C. vipera during its active period from April to October. Mating occurred only during spring. The pattern of plasma testosterone concentration, testes volume, seminiferous tubule diameter and spermatogenesis all followed the general pattern of high values in autumn and spring and low values in early summer. Our predictions were partially supported. There was a high plasma testosterone concentration at mating in spring and the vas deferens contained abundant spermatozoa, as predicted, but there was also a high plasma testosterone concentration in autumn without mating. We concluded that: (1) males are both aestival in that they produce spermatozoa in autumn, which they store over the winter hibernation period, and vernal in that they produce spermatozoa in spring prior to mating; (2) matings are associated with spermatogenesis; and (3) the high plasma testosterone concentration is concomitant with both matings and spermatogenesis in spring and with spermatogenesis in autumn. We propose that C. vipera has a single peak of testicular activity and plasma testosterone concentration which start in autumn and end in spring. We also propose that spermatogenesis is prior to spring mating and, consequently, is prenuptial.

  11. Recovery of symbiotic nitrogen fixing acacia rhizobia from Merzouga Desert sand dunes in South East Morocco--Identification of a probable new species of Ensifer adapted to stressed environments.

    PubMed

    Sakrouhi, Ilham; Belfquih, Meryem; Sbabou, Laïla; Moulin, Patricia; Bena, Gilles; Filali-Maltouf, Abdelkarim; Le Quéré, Antoine

    2016-03-01

    Bacteria capable of nodulating Acacia tortilis and A. gummifera could be recovered from sand dunes collected in the Moroccan Merzouga desert. The trapping approach enabled the recovery of 17 desert rhizobia that all clustered within the Ensifer (Sinorhizobium) genus. Four isolates of the dominant genotype comprising 15 strains as well as 2 divergent strains were further characterized by MLSA. Phylogenetic analyzes indicated that the dominant genetic type was belonging to a new and yet undefined species within the Ensifer genus. Interestingly, housekeeping gene phylogenies showed that this possibly new species is also present in another desert but in India. Phylogenetic analyses of nifH and nodC sequences showed high sequence conservation among the Moroccan strains belonging to the dominant genotype but high divergence with sequences from Indian isolates suggesting acquisition of symbiotic genes through Horizontal Gene Transfer. These desert rhizobia were capable of growing in media containing high salt concentrations, under high pH and most of the strains showed growth at 45°C. Only recovered from desert type of Biome, yet, this new taxon appears particularly adapted to such harsh environment.

  12. The effect of the time interval used to calculate mean wind velocity on the calculated drift potential, relative drift potential, and resultant drift direction for sands from three deserts in northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhengcai; Dong, Zhibao; Zhao, Aiguo

    2016-01-01

    Wind is the power behind many erosion processes and is responsible for many of the characteristics of arid zone geomorphology. Wind velocity is a key factor in determining the potential sand transport, but the nature of the wind velocity data can strongly affect assessments of the risk of blowing sand. In this study, we obtained real-time wind velocity data in a region of the Tengger Desert with shifting sands, in the Badain Jaran Desert, and in the Madoi desertification land, with the data obtained at 1-min intervals, and used the data to determine the influence of how the wind velocity was calculated (mean versus mid-point values and the averaging time used to calculate these values) on sand drift potential. In the three regions, for both the mean and the mid-point wind velocities, the estimated drift potential decreased with increasing averaging time. The relationships between velocities calculated using the different averaging time intervals and the value calculated using a 1-min interval could be expressed as linear functions. The drift potential calculated using the mid-point wind velocity was larger than that calculated using the mean wind velocity.

  13. Hydrated mucilage reduces post-dispersal seed removal of a sand desert shrub by ants in a semiarid ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Yang, Xuejun; Baskin, Carol C; Baskin, Jerry M; Gao, Ruiru; Yang, Fan; Wei, Lingling; Li, Leilei; He, Hongju; Huang, Zhenying

    2013-12-01

    Post-dispersal seed removal by animals can lead to extensive seed loss and thus is an important factor in structuring plant communities. However, we know much less about post-dispersal seed predation than about other forms of herbivory. Mucilage plays many ecological roles in adaptation of plants to diverse environments; nevertheless, until now the role of mucilage in ant-mediated seed movement remains largely hypothetical. We studied the role of mucilage in seed removal of Artemisia sphaerocephala by ants in Mu Us Sandland in Inner Mongolia, China. Messor aciculatus was the most active seed predator of Artemisia sphaerocephala. Time to first ant collecting (T 1st) of wet intact seeds was longest and significantly different from that for dry intact seeds, wet demucilaged seeds, and dry demucilaged seeds; number of seeds removed to ant nests was lowest for wet intact seeds. After they were collected by ants, 5 % of wet intact seeds were dropped during transport. Our results indicate that seed mucilage of Artemisia sphaerocephala may play a significant role in post-dispersal seed removal by (1) making seeds less attractive to ants, thus resulting in a delay of collection time; (2) forming a strong bond to soil particles, making it difficult for ants to remove seeds; and (3) making seeds more likely to be dropped during transport, thereby allowing them to escape from predation even after collection by ants. This study demonstrates the importance of mucilage in reducing seed removal by ants and thus in anchoring seeds of desert plants in the vicinity of mother plants.

  14. High Resolution Mapping of Soils and Landforms for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Potter, Christopher S.; Li, Shuang

    2014-01-01

    The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California's renewable energy planning efforts, is intended to provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems, while allowing for the sensible development of renewable energy projects. This NASA mapping report was developed to support the DRECP and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We outline in this document remote sensing image processing methods to deliver new maps of biological soils crusts, sand dune movements, desert pavements, and sub-surface water sources across the DRECP area. We focused data processing first on the largely unmapped areas most likely to be used for energy developments, such as those within Renewable Energy Study Areas (RESA) and Solar Energy Zones (SEZs). We used imagery (multispectral and radar) mainly from the years 2009-2011.

  15. Does size matter? Comparison of body temperature and activity of free-living Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) and the smaller Arabian sand gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa marica) in the Saudi desert.

    PubMed

    Hetem, Robyn Sheila; Strauss, Willem Maartin; Fick, Linda Gayle; Maloney, Shane Kevin; Meyer, Leith Carl Rodney; Shobrak, Mohammed; Fuller, Andrea; Mitchell, Duncan

    2012-04-01

    Heterothermy, a variability in body temperature beyond the normal limits of homeothermy, is widely viewed as a key adaptation of arid-adapted ungulates. However, desert ungulates with a small body mass, i.e. a relatively large surface area-to-volume ratio and a small thermal inertia, are theoretically less likely to employ adaptive heterothermy than are larger ungulates. We measured body temperature and activity patterns, using implanted data loggers, in free-ranging Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx, ±70 kg) and the smaller Arabian sand gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa marica, ±15 kg) inhabiting the same Arabian desert environment, at the same time. Compared to oryx, sand gazelle had higher mean daily body temperatures (F(1,6) = 47.3, P = 0.0005), higher minimum daily body temperatures (F(1,6) = 42.6, P = 0.0006) and higher maximum daily body temperatures (F(1,6) = 11.0, P = 0.02). Despite these differences, both species responded similarly to changes in environmental conditions. As predicted for adaptive heterothermy, maximum daily body temperature increased (F(1,6) = 84.0, P < 0.0001), minimum daily body temperature decreased (F(1,6) = 92.2, P < 0.0001), and daily body temperature amplitude increased (F(1,6) = 97.6, P < 0.0001) as conditions got progressively hotter and drier. There were no species differences in activity levels, however, both gazelle and oryx showed a biphasic or crepuscular rhythm during the warm wet season but shifted to a more nocturnal rhythm during the hot dry season. Activity was attenuated during the heat of the day at times when both species selected cool microclimates. These two species of Arabian ungulates employ heterothermy, cathemerality and shade seeking very similarly to survive the extreme, arid conditions of Arabian deserts, despite their size difference.

  16. Diurnal emissivity dynamics in bare versus biocrusted sand dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rozenstein, O.

    2015-12-01

    Land surface emissivity (LSE) in the thermal infrared depends mainly on the ground cover and on changes in soil moisture. The LSE is a critical variable that affects the prediction accuracy of geophysical models requiring land surface temperature as an input, highlighting the need for an accurate derivation of LSE. The primary aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that diurnal changes in emissivity, as detected from space, are larger for areas mostly covered by biocrusts (composed mainly of cyanobacteria) than for bare sand areas. The LSE dynamics were monitored from geostationary orbit by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) over a sand dune field in a coastal desert region extending across both sides of the Israel-Egypt political borderline. Different land-use practices by the two countries have resulted in exposed, active sand dunes on the Egyptian side (Sinai), and dunes stabilized by biocrusts on the Israeli side (Negev). Since biocrusts adsorb more moisture from the atmosphere than bare sand does, and LSE is affected by the soil moisture, diurnal fluctuations in LSE were larger for the crusted dunes in the 8.7 μm channel. This phenomenon is attributed to water vapor adsorption by the sand / biocrust particles. The results indicate that LSE is sensitive to minor changes in soil water content caused by water vapor adsorption and can, therefore, serve as a tool for quantifying this effect, which has a large spatial impact. As biocrusts cover vast regions in deserts worldwide, this discovery has repercussions for LSE estimations in deserts around the globe, and these LSE variations can potentially have considerable effects on geophysical models from local to regional scales.

  17. Diurnal emissivity dynamics in bare versus biocrusted sand dunes.

    PubMed

    Rozenstein, Offer; Agam, Nurit; Serio, Carmine; Masiello, Guido; Venafra, Sara; Achal, Stephen; Puckrin, Eldon; Karnieli, Arnon

    2015-02-15

    Land surface emissivity (LSE) in the thermal infrared depends mainly on the ground cover and on changes in soil moisture. The LSE is a critical variable that affects the prediction accuracy of geophysical models requiring land surface temperature as an input, highlighting the need for an accurate derivation of LSE. The primary aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that diurnal changes in emissivity, as detected from space, are larger for areas mostly covered by biocrusts (composed mainly of cyanobacteria) than for bare sand areas. The LSE dynamics were monitored from geostationary orbit by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) over a sand dune field in a coastal desert region extending across both sides of the Israel-Egypt political borderline. Different land-use practices by the two countries have resulted in exposed, active sand dunes on the Egyptian side (Sinai), and dunes stabilized by biocrusts on the Israeli side (Negev). Since biocrusts adsorb more moisture from the atmosphere than bare sand does, and LSE is affected by the soil moisture, diurnal fluctuations in LSE were larger for the crusted dunes in the 8.7 μm channel. This phenomenon is attributed to water vapor adsorption by the sand/biocrust particles. The results indicate that LSE is sensitive to minor changes in soil water content caused by water vapor adsorption and can, therefore, serve as a tool for quantifying this effect, which has a large spatial impact. As biocrusts cover vast regions in deserts worldwide, this discovery has repercussions for LSE estimations in deserts around the globe, and these LSE variations can potentially have considerable effects on geophysical models from local to regional scales.

  18. Deserts : geology and resources

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walker, Alta S.

    1996-01-01

    Approximately one-third of the Earth's land surface is desert, arid land with meager rainfall that supports only sparse vegetation and a limited population of people and animals. Deserts stark, sometimes mysterious worlds have been portrayed as fascinating environments of adventure and exploration from narratives such as that of Lawrence of Arabia to movies such as "Dune." These arid regions are called deserts because they are dry. They may be hot, they may be cold. They may be regions of sand or vast areas of rocks and gravel peppered with occasional plants. But deserts are always dry. Deserts are natural laboratories in which to study the interactions of wind and sometimes water on the arid surfaces of planets. They contain valuable mineral deposits that were formed in the arid environment or that were exposed by erosion. Because deserts are dry, they are ideal places for human artifacts and fossils to be preserved. Deserts are also fragile environments. The misuse of these lands is a serious and growing problem in parts of our world.

  19. Deriving Polarization Properties of Desert-Reflected Solar Spectra with PARASOL Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sun, Wenbo; Baize, Rosemary R.; Lukashin, Constantine

    2015-01-01

    Reflected solar radiation from desert is strongly polarized by sand particles. To date, there is no reliable desert surface reflection model to calculate desert reflection matrix. In this study, the PARASOL data are used to retrieve physical properties of desert. These physical properties are then used in the ADRTM to calculate polarization of desert-reflected light for the whole solar spectra.

  20. Cyanobacterial crust induction using two non-previously tested cyanobacterial inoculants: crusting capability and role of EPSs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mugnai, Gianmarco; Rossi, Federico; De Philippis, Roberto

    2017-04-01

    The use of cyanobacteria as soil improvers and bio-conditioners (a technique often referred to as algalization) has been studied for decades. Several studies proved that cyanobacteria are feasible eco-friendly candidates to trigger soil fertilization and enrichment from agricultural to arid and hyper-arid systems. This approach can be successful to achieve stabilization and rehabilitation of degraded environments. Much of the effectiveness of algalization is due to the productivity and the characteristics of extracellular polysaccharides (EPSs) which, among their features, embed soil particles and promote the development of a first stable organo-mineral layer (cyanobacterial crusts). In natural settings, cyanobacterial crust induction represents a first step of a succession that may lead to the formation of mature biological soil crusts (Lan et al., 2014). The aim of this research was to investigate the crusting capabilities, and the characteristics of excreted EPSs by two newly tested non-heterocystous cyanobacterial inoculants, in microcosm experiments carried out using oligothrophic sand collected from sand dunes in Negev Desert, Israel. The cyanobacteria tested were Schizothrix AMPL1601, originally isolated from biocrusts collected in Hobq Desert, Inner Mongolia (China) and Leptolyngbia ohadii, originally isolated from biocrusts collected in Negev Desert, Israel. Inoculated microcosms were maintained at 30 °C in a growth chamber under continuous illumination and minimal water availability. Under such stressing conditions, and for a three-months incubation time, the growth and the colonization of the strains in the microcosms were monitored. At the same time, EPSs production and their chemical and macromolecular characteristics were determined by applying a methodology optimized for the purpose. Notably, EPSs were analyzed in two operationally-defined fractions, one more dispersed in the crust matrix (loosely bound EPSs, LB-EPSs) and one more condensed and

  1. Cyanobacterial composition and spatial distribution based on pyrosequencing data in the Gurbantunggut Desert, Northwestern China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Bingchang; Li, Renhui; Xiao, Peng; Su, Yangui; Zhang, Yuanming

    2016-03-01

    Cyanobacteria are the primary colonizers and form a dominant component of soil photosynthetic communities in biological soil crusts. They are crucial in improving soil environments, namely accumulating soil carbon and nitrogen. Many classical studies have examined cyanobacterial diversity in desert crusts, but relatively few comprehensive molecular surveys have been conducted. We used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA to investigate cyanobacterial composition and distribution on regional scales in the Gurbantunggut Desert. The relationship between cyanobacterial distribution and environmental factors was also explored. A total of 24,973 cyanobacteria partial 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained, and 507OTUs were selected, as most OTUs had very few reads. Among these, 347 OTU sequences were of cyanobacteria origin, belonging to Oscillatoriales, Nostocales, Chroococcales, and uncultured cyanobacterium clone, respectively. Microcoleus vaginatus, Chroococcidiopsis spp. and M. steenstrupii were the dominant species in most areas of the Gurbantunggut Desert. Compared with other desert, the Gurbantunggut Desert differed in the prominence of Chroococcidiopsis spp. and lack of Pseudanabaenales. Species composition and abundance of cyanobacteria also showed distinct variations. Soil texture, precipitation, and nutrients and salt levels affected cyanobacterial distribution. Increased precipitation was helpful in improving cyanobacterial diversity. A higher content of coarse sand promoted the colonization and growth of Oscillatoriales and some phylotypes of Chroococcales. The fine-textured soil with higher nutrients and salts supported more varied populations of cyanobacteria, namely some heterocystous cyanobacteria. The results suggested that the Gurbantunggut Desert was rich in cyanobacteria and that precipitation was a primary regulating factor for cyanobacterial composition on a regional scale.

  2. Calorimetric studies of cryptogamic crust metabolism in response to temperature, water vapor, and liquid water

    Treesearch

    Dorothy A. Stradling; Tonya Thygerson; Bruce N. Smith; Lee D. Hansen; Richard S. Criddle; Rosemary L. Pendleton

    2001-01-01

    Cryptogamic crusts are communities composed of lichens, cyanobacteria, algae, mosses, and fungi. These integrated soil crusts are susceptible to disturbance, but if intact, appear to play a role in providing nutrients, especially nitrogen, to higher plants. It is not known how or under what conditions desert crusts can grow. Crust samples from localities on the...

  3. Aeolian responses to climate variability during the past century on Mesquite Lake Playa, Mojave Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitney, J. W.; Breit, G. N.; Buckingham, S. E.; Reynolds, R. L.; Bogle, R. C.; Luo, L.; Goldstein, H. L.; Vogel, J. M.

    2015-02-01

    The erosion and deposition of sediments by wind from 1901 to 2013 have created large changes in surface features of Mesquite Lake playa in the Mojave Desert. The decadal scale recurrence of sand-sheet development, migration, and merging with older dunes appears related to decadal climatic changes of drought and wetness as recorded in the precipitation history of the Mojave Desert, complemented by modeled soil-moisture index values. Historical aerial photographs, repeat land photographs, and satellite images document the presence and northward migration of a mid-20th century sand sheet that formed during a severe regional drought that coincided with a multi-decadal cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The sand sheet slowly eroded during the wetter conditions of the subsequent PDO warm phase (1977-1998) due to a lack of added sediment. Sand cohesion gradually increased in the sand sheet by seasonal additions of salt and clay and by re-precipitation of gypsum, which resulted in the wind-carving of yardangs in the receding sand sheet. Smaller yardangs were aerodynamically shaped from coppice dunes with salt-clay crusts, and larger yardangs were carved along the walls and floor of trough blowouts. Evidence of a 19th century cycle of sand-sheet formation and erosion is indicated by remnants of yardangs, photographed in 1901 and 1916, that were found buried in the mid-20th century sand sheet. Three years of erosion measurements on the playa, yardangs, and sand sheets document relatively rapid wind erosion. The playa has lowered 20 to 40 cm since the mid-20th century and a shallow deflation basin has developed since 1999. Annually, 5-10 cm of surface sediment was removed from yardang flanks by a combination of wind abrasion, deflation, and mass movement. The most effective erosional processes are wind stripping of thin crusts that form on the yardang surfaces after rain events and the slumping of sediment blocks from yardang flanks. These wind

  4. Sidewinding snakes on sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marvi, Hamidreza; Dimenichi, Dante; Chrystal, Robert; Mendelson, Joseph; Goldman, Daniel; Hu, David; Georgia Tech and Zoo Atlanta Collaboration

    2012-11-01

    Desert snakes such as the rattlesnake Crotalus cerastes propel themselves over sand using sidewinding, a mode of locomotion relying upon helical traveling waves. While sidewinding on hard ground has been described, the mechanics of movement on more natural substrates such as granular media remain poorly understood. In this experimental study, we use 3-D high speed video to characterize the motion of a sidewinder rattlesnake as it moves on a granular bed. We study the movement both on natural desert sand and in an air-fluidized bed trackway which we use to challenge the animal on different compactions of granular media. Particular attention is paid to rationalizing the snake's thrust on this media using friction and normal forces on the piles of sand created by the snake's body. The authors thank the NSF (PHY-0848894), Georgia Tech, and the Elizabeth Smithgall Watts endowment for support. We would also like to thank Zoo Atlanta staff for their generous help with this project.

  5. Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1990-04-29

    One of the driest regions on Earth, the Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa (23.0N, 15.0E) lies adjacent to the Atlantic coast but the upwelling oceanic water causes a very stable rainless atmosphere. The few local inland rivers do not reach the sea but instead, appear as long indentations where they penetrate the dune fields and end as small dry lakes. The vast dune fields are the result of sands deposited over millions of years by the stream flow.

  6. Effects of surface characteristics on infiltration patterns in an arid shrub desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Xin-Ping; Li, Xin-Rong; Xiao, Hong-Lang; Berndtsson, Ronny; Pan, Yan-Xia

    2007-01-01

    Precipitation is often the sole source of water replenishment in arid and semi-arid areas and, thus, plays a pertinent role in sustaining desert ecosystems. Revegetation over 40 years using mainly Artemisia ordosica and Caragana korshinskii at Shapotou Desert Experimental Research Station near Lanzhou, China, has established a dwarf-shrub and microbiotic soil crust cover on the stabilized sand dunes. The redistribution of infiltrated moisture through percolation, root extraction, and evapotranspiration pathways was investigated. Three sets of time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probes were inserted horizontally at 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 cm depths below the ground surface in a soil pit. The three sets of TDR probes were installed in dwarf-shrub sites of A. ordosica and C. korshinskii community with and without a microbiotic soil crust cover, and an additional set was placed in a bare sand dune area that had neither vegetation nor a microbiotic soil crust present. Volumetric soil moisture content was recorded at hourly intervals and used in the assessment of infiltration for the different surface covers. Infiltration varied greatly, from 7.5 cm to more than 45 cm, depending upon rainfall quantity and soil surface conditions. In the shrub community area without microbiotic soil crust cover, infiltration increased due to preferential flow associated with root tunnels. The microbiotic soil crust cover had a significant negative influence on the infiltration for small rainfall events (10 mm), restricting the infiltration depth to less than 20 cm and increasing soil moisture content just beneath the soil profile of 10 cm, whereas it was not as strong or clear for larger rainfall events (60 mm). For small rainfall events, the wetting front depth for the three kinds of surface cover was as follows: shrub community without microbiotic soil crust > bare area > shrub community with microbiotic soil crust. In contrast, for large rainfall events, infiltration was similar in shrub

  7. Windblown Sand in Ganges Chasma

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-04-25

    Dark, windblown sand covers intricate sedimentary rock layers in this image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) from Ganges Chasma, a canyon in the Valles Marineris system. These features are at once familiar and unusual to those familiar with Earth's beaches and deserts. Most sand dunes on Earth are made of silica-rich sand, giving them a light color; these Martian dunes owe their dark color to the iron and magnesium-rich sand found in the region. https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21600

  8. Crusts: biological

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Elias, Scott A.

    2013-01-01

    Biological soil crusts, a community of cyanobacteria, lichens, mosses, and fungi, are an essential part of dryland ecosystems. They are critical in the stabilization of soils, protecting them from wind and water erosion. Similarly, these soil surface communities also stabilized soils on early Earth, allowing vascular plants to establish. They contribute nitrogen and carbon to otherwise relatively infertile dryland soils, and have a strong influence on hydrologic cycles. Their presence can also influence vascular plant establishment and nutrition.

  9. Use of coal ash for enhancing biocrust development in stabilizing sand dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaady, Eli; Katra, Itzhak; Sarig, Shlomo

    2015-04-01

    In dryland environments, biocrusts are considered ecosystem engineers since they play significant roles in ecosystem processes. In the successional pathway of crust communities, the new areas are colonized after disturbance by pioneers such as filamentous cyanobacteria - Microcoleus spp. This stage is followed by colonization of green algae, mosses, and lichens. Aggregation of soil granules is caused by metabolic polysaccharides secreted by cyanobacteria and green algae, gluing the soil particles to form the crust layer. It was suggested that incorporating dust into the biocrusts encourages the growth of cyanobacteria, leading to a strengthening of the biocrusts' cohesion. Moreover, biocrusts cover a larger portion of the surface when the soil contains finer particles, and it was observed that at least 4-5% of clay and silt is required to support a measurable biocrust. While natural and undisturbed sand dunes are generally stabilized by biocrusts in the north-western Negev desert, stabilization of disturbed and movable sand dunes is one of the main problems in this desertified land, as in vast areas in the world. Daily breezes and seasonal wind storms transport sand particles to populated and agricultural areas causing damages to field crops and livelihood. Moving sand dunes consist of relatively coarse grains (250-2000 μm) with a low percent of clay and silt. This phenomenon negatively affects cyanobacterial colonization rate, even in relatively wet desert areas (100-250 mm rainfalls). In order to face the problem it was suggested to enrich the dune surface by using coal fly-ash. The research was conducted in two stages: first, examining the feasibility in Petri-dishes in laboratory conditions and in Experimental Aeolian Greenhouse conditions. The results showed that adding coal fly-ash and biocrust inoculum increased aggregate stability, penetration resistance and shear strength, as opposed to the control-sand plot. Using mobile wind-tunnel simulations, sand

  10. The age of the Taklimakan Desert.

    PubMed

    Sun, Jimin; Liu, Tungsheng

    2006-06-16

    The Taklimakan Desert is located in the foreland basin of the Tibetan Plateau. We report here the results of stratigraphic investigations of a 1626-meter-thick sequence with interbedded wind-blown silt from the southern marginal Taklimakan Desert. Because the studied section is located downwind of the desert, the eolian silt accumulation is closely linked to desert formation. Our new evidence indicates that shifting sand dunes prevailed in the Tarim Basin by at least 5.3 million years ago, as they do today. We attribute this event to late Cenozoic climatic deterioration, as well as to changes in atmospheric circulation induced by Tibetan Plateau uplift.

  11. Keeping the desert at bay

    SciTech Connect

    El-Kassas, M.

    1981-02-01

    Man-made desert (areas that are no longer productive) has increased the world's deserts from 36.3 to 43% of the land surface. Desertification involves ecological degradation that makes the land less productive or allows an uneconomic type of vegetation, such as mesquite, to replace an economic plant. The process was first thought to be an encroachment by expanding deserts, but, except for the movement of sand dunes, desertification is now viewed as productive land that deteriorated and was added to the desert. Land is lost to agriculture by erosion, loss of nutrients, compaction, salination, urban development, and pollution. The interacting biosphere, technosphere, and social sphere form the framework of man's existence. An understanding of this framework is crucial to those offering technological assistance to developing countries. (DCK)

  12. Deserts of China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walker, Alta S.

    1982-01-01

    Improving arid land quality requires an understanding of the original state of the land and its relationship to wind, water, and plant regimes, as well as understanding of interactions within the present ecosystem.  Chinese scientists and local residents have made significant advances in improving arid environments in gobi and sandy deserts and in less arid sandy lands.  Wind patterns are being changed by planting forest belts to protect oases and sandy lands, and on a smaller scale by planting grasses and shrubs or constructing straw grids.  Research on reclamation of deserts is now focusing on how sand-fixing plants may be adapted to local environments, and how the resources of grazing land and water may be effectively exploited without being overused.

  13. The thoracic morphology of the wingless dune cricket Comicus calcaris (Orthoptera: Schizodactylidae): Novel apomorphic characters for the group and adaptations to sand desert environments.

    PubMed

    Leubner, Fanny; Bradler, Sven; Wipfler, Benjamin

    2017-07-01

    Schizodactylidae, splay-footed or dune crickets, represents a distinct lineage among the highly diverse orthopteran subgroup Ensifera (crickets, katydids and allies). Only two extant genera belong to the Schizodactylidae: the winged Eurasian genus Schizodactylus, whose ecology and morphology is well documented, and the wingless South African Comicus, for which hardly any studies providing morphological descriptions have been conducted since its taxonomic description in 1888. Based on the first in-depth study of the skeletomuscular system of the thorax of Comicus calcaris Irish 1986, we provide information on some unique characteristics of this character complex in Schizodactylidae. They include a rigid connection of prospinasternite and mesosternum, a T-shaped mesospina, and a fused meso- and metasternum. Although Schizodactylidae is mainly characterized by group-specific anatomical traits of the thorax, its bifurcated profuca supports a closer relationship to the tettigonioid ensiferans, like katydids, wetas, and hump-winged crickets. Some specific features of the thoracic musculature of Comicus seem to be correlated to the skeletal morphology, e.g., due to the rigid connection of the tergites and pleurites in the pterothorax not a single direct flight muscle is developed. We show that many of the thoracic adaptations in these insects are directly related to their psammophilous way of life. These include a characteristic setation of thoracic sclerites that prevent sand grains from intrusion into vulnerable membranous areas, the striking decrease in size of the thoracic spiracles that reduces the respirational water loss, and a general trend towards a fusion of sclerites in the thorax. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Desert Communities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    NatureScope, 1985

    1985-01-01

    Provides: (1) background information on desert communities, their similarities, and differences; (2) student activities on this topic; and (3) ready-to-copy student pages with pictures of desert animals and plants. Each activity includes objective(s), recommended age level(s), subject area(s), list of materials needed, and procedures. (DH)

  15. Sahara Desert, Algeria

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1994-09-30

    STS068-228-081 (30 September-11 October 1994) --- This northwest-looking view shows central Algeria with an unusual amount of cloud cover, responsible for one of the infrequent bouts of rain in the Sahara Desert. The lope-shaped, red sand dunes mass in the center of the view is one of the most prominent features in the Sahara as seen from the Space Shuttle Endeavour. It is known as the Tifernine Dunes. The Atlas Mountains (top) are only apparent in this view because of the clouds, which cap their summits.

  16. Total suspended particulate matter emissions at high friction velocities from desert landforms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Steven N.; McDonald, Eric V.; Amit, Rivka; Enzel, Yehouda; Crouvi, Onn

    2011-09-01

    Most wind erosion studies that characterize dust emission potential measure particulate matter smaller than 10 μm (PM10) for air quality purposes or atmospheric modeling. Because the PM10 size fraction is only a portion of the total range of fine-grained particles potentially emitted from desert landforms, we modified the miniature Portable In Situ Wind Erosion Lab (PI-SWERL) by adding a new instrument to measure total suspended particulate matter (TSP). The modified PI-SWERL is capable of measuring TSP with diameters <500 μm emitted from highly erodible surfaces at friction velocities up to 1.28 m s-1. Undisturbed and artificially disturbed surfaces of six common landforms in the Negev Desert of Israel were studied to evaluate the utility of TSP measurements. These landforms include alluvial fans and plains armored by desert pavements, loessial soils with silt-rich surficial crusts, fluvial loess with biological crusts, and active sand dunes. The landforms differ in character and surface age, thereby exhibiting a wide range of surface covers, soil properties, and soil strengths. Our results indicate that the magnitude of TSP emission is primarily controlled by geomorphic setting and surface characteristics. TSP and PM10 concentrations measured from dust-rich loessial soils were significantly correlated, and TSP emission was best predicted at all sites using PM10 content and bearing capacity. Our results demonstrate that further research is needed to determine correction factors for friction velocities related to erodible, anisotropic surface roughness elements and that the modified PI-SWERL is a promising tool to quantify total potential emission flux from desert landforms.

  17. Al Eskan disease: Desert Storm pneumonitis.

    PubMed

    Korényi-Both, A L; Korényi-Both, A L; Molnár, A C; Fidelus-Gort, R

    1992-09-01

    The authors observed an acute desert-related disease when the mixture of the fine Saudi sand dust and pigeon droppings triggered a hyperergic lung condition. It was further aggravated by various kinds of organic pathogenic components contributing to an opportunistic infection of the lung. These all lead to the recognition of a new clinicopathological entity, Desert Storm pneumonitis or Al Eskan disease. For the first time, the Saudi sand dust's elemental composition was studied by ultrastructural and microanalytical means. The authors concluded that, contrary to previous beliefs, sand particles less than 1 microns (0.1 microns to 0.25 microns) in diameter are present in substantial quantities in the Saudi sand and are pathogenic, causing hyperergia. Pathogenesis of the sand dust, induced hyperergia, and its immunopathologic background are highlighted.

  18. Ocean Sand, Bahamas

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-09-27

    NASA image acquired January 17, 2001 Though the above image may resemble a new age painting straight out of an art gallery in Venice Beach, California, it is in fact a satellite image of the sands and seaweed in the Bahamas. The image was taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) instrument aboard the Landsat 7 satellite. Tides and ocean currents in the Bahamas sculpted the sand and seaweed beds into these multicolored, fluted patterns in much the same way that winds sculpted the vast sand dunes in the Sahara Desert. Image courtesy Serge Andrefouet, University of South Florida Instrument: Landsat 7 - ETM+ Credit: NASA/GSFC/Landsat NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Join us on Facebook

  19. Integrated Desert Terrain Forecasting for Military Operations

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-02-15

    McDonald, Yehouda Enzel. Significance of primary hilltop loess in reconstructing dust chronology, accretion rates, and sources: An example from the Negev...as a major proximal dust source for late Pleistocene loess in the Negev Desert, Israel, Quaternary Research, (09 2008): 0. doi: 10.1016/j.yqres...Rivka Amit, Yehouda Enzel, Alan R. Gillespie. Active sand seas and the formation of desert loess , Quaternanry Science Review , (08 2010): 0. doi

  20. Desert and desertification in Iran

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bahrami, M.

    2009-04-01

    One of the greatest environmental concerns in Iran as in other arid and semiarid countries is the transformation of once productive, or marginally productive, land to deteriorated land and soil unable to support plants and animals. Because the land becomes barren and dry, the process is described as desertification, which occurs as a sequence of events. The area of deserts in Iran is about 340,000 Km2 (less than one fifth of its total area), of which 100,000 Km2 is being used for some cultivation, 120,000 Km2 is subjected to moving sands about 40 % of which is active sand dunes. Most of features and processes usual in world famous deserts are also observed in Iran: low precipitation, high evaporation, poor or lack of vegetation, saline and alkaline soils, low population and small and sparse oases. The deserts of Iran are generally classified in the subtropical, warm, arid and semiarid group, but the effect and presence of some geographical and geoclimatical factors such as height, vicinity to Indian Ocean and so on do some changes in climatic conditions and geographical features causing some local and regional differences in them. Geographically, two groups of deserts have been known in Iran: (1) Coastal deserts which, like a ribbon with variable width, stretch from extreme southeast to extreme southwest, at the north parts of Oman Sea and Persian Gulf. One important feature of these deserts is relatively high humidity which differentiates them from other deserts. This causes an increase in vegetation coverage and hence a decrease in eolian erosion and also a dominance of chemical weathering to that of physical. (2) internal deserts, which rest in central, eastern and southeastern plateau of the country and in independent and semi dependent depressions. This situation, which is due to the surrounding high mountains, blocks humidity entry and causes the aridity of these deserts. Wind as a dominant process in the area causes deflated features such as Reg (desert

  1. Desert Dermatoses (Thar Desert, India).

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, Col Manas

    2017-01-01

    Desert dermatology describes the cutaneous changes and the diseases affecting those living in the desert. Diurnal variation in temperature is high and is characteristic of the deserts. The lack of water affects daily activities and impacts dermatological conditions. Adaptation to the desert is, therefore, important to survival. Infections are the most common conditions seen among this population, and among them, fungal infections are the most common. The high incidence of these infections would be accounted for by the poor hygienic conditions due to lack of bathing facilities due to scarcity of water and the consequent sweat retention and overgrowth of cutaneous infective organisms. Pigmentary disorders, photodermatoses, leishmaniasis, and skin tumors are found to be more prevalent in this region. Desert sweat dermatitis was another specific condition found to have an increased incidence. The environment of the desert provides for a wide variety of dermatoses that can result in these regions with few of these dermatoses found in much higher incidence than in other regions.

  2. Desert Dermatoses (Thar Desert, India)

    PubMed Central

    Chatterjee, Col Manas

    2017-01-01

    Desert dermatology describes the cutaneous changes and the diseases affecting those living in the desert. Diurnal variation in temperature is high and is characteristic of the deserts. The lack of water affects daily activities and impacts dermatological conditions. Adaptation to the desert is, therefore, important to survival. Infections are the most common conditions seen among this population, and among them, fungal infections are the most common. The high incidence of these infections would be accounted for by the poor hygienic conditions due to lack of bathing facilities due to scarcity of water and the consequent sweat retention and overgrowth of cutaneous infective organisms. Pigmentary disorders, photodermatoses, leishmaniasis, and skin tumors are found to be more prevalent in this region. Desert sweat dermatitis was another specific condition found to have an increased incidence. The environment of the desert provides for a wide variety of dermatoses that can result in these regions with few of these dermatoses found in much higher incidence than in other regions. PMID:28216726

  3. The Continental Crust.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burchfiel, B. Clark

    1983-01-01

    Continental crust underlies the continents, their margins, and also small shallow regions in oceans. The nature of the crust (much older than oceanic crust) and its dynamics are discussed. Research related to and effects of tectonics, volcanism, erosion, and sedimentation on the crust are considered. (JN)

  4. The Continental Crust.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burchfiel, B. Clark

    1983-01-01

    Continental crust underlies the continents, their margins, and also small shallow regions in oceans. The nature of the crust (much older than oceanic crust) and its dynamics are discussed. Research related to and effects of tectonics, volcanism, erosion, and sedimentation on the crust are considered. (JN)

  5. How biological crusts are stabilizing the soil surface? The devolpment of organo-mineral interactions in the initial phase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, T.; Veste, M.; Wiehe, W.; Lange, P.

    2009-04-01

    First colonizers of new land surfaces are cryptogames which often form biological soil crusts (BSC) covering the first millimetre of the top soil in many ecosystems from polar to desert ecosystems. These BSC are assemblages of cyanobacteria, green algae, mosses, liverworts, fungi and/or lichens. The development of soil surface crusts plays a major role for the further vegetation pattern through changes to the physico-chemical conditions and influencing various ecosystem processes. We studied the development of BSC on quaternary substrate of an initial artificial water catchment in Lusatia, Germany. Due to lack of organic matter in the geological substrate, photoautotrophic organisms like green algae and cyanobacteria dominated the initial phases of ecosystem development and, hence, of organo-mineral ineractions. We combined SEM/EDX and FTIR microscopy to study the contact zone of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) of green algae and cyanobacteria with quartz, spars and mica on a >40 µm scale in undisturbed biological soil crusts, which had a maximum thickness of approx. 2 mm. SEM/EDX microscopy was used to determine the spatial distribution of S, Ca, Fe, Al, Si and K in the profiles, organic compounds were identified using FTIR microscopy. Exudates of crust organisms served as cementing material between sand particles. The crust could be subdivided into two horizontal layers. The upper layer, which had a thickness of approx. 200 µm, is characterized by accumulation of Al and K, but absence of Fe in microbial derived organic matter, indicating capture of weathering products of feldspars and mica by microbial exudates. The pore space between mineral particles was entirely filled with organic matter here. The underlying layer can be characterized by empty pores and organo-mineral bridges between the sand particles. Contrarily to the upper layer of the crust, Fe, Al and Si were associated with organic matter here but K was absent. Highest similarity of the FTIR

  6. Condensation of water vapour on moss-dominated biological soil crust, NW China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Xin-Ping; Pan, Yan-Xia; Hu, Rui; Zhang, Ya-Feng; Zhang, Hao

    2014-03-01

    Characteristics of water vapour condensation, including the onset, duration, and amount of water vapour condensation on moss-dominated biological soil crust (BSC) and dune sand were studied under simulated conditions with varying air temperature and relative humidity. The simulations were performed in a plant growth chamber using an electronic balance recording the weight of condensation. There was a positive linear correlation between the water vapour condensation and relative humidity while the mean temperature was negatively linearly related to amounts of water vapour condensation for both soil surfaces. The amount of water vapour condensation on BSC and dune sand can be described by the difference between air temperature and dew point with an exponential function, indicating that when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 35.3◦C, there will be zero water vapour condensed on BSC. In contrast, when the difference of air temperature and dew point exceeds a value of 20.4◦C, the water vapour condensation will be zero for dune sand. In general, when the air is fully saturated with water and the dew point is equal to the current air temperature, the water vapour condensed on BSC attained its maximum value of 0.398 mm, whereas it was 0.058 mm for dune sand. In comparison, water vapour condensed on BSC was at a relatively high temperature and low relative humidity, while we did not detect water vapour condensation on the dune sand under the similar conditions. Physical and chemical analyses of the samples pointed to a greater porosity, high content of fine particles, and high salinity for BSC compared to the dune sand. These results highlight that soil physicochemical properties are the likely factors influencing the mechanism of water vapour condensation under specific meteorological conditions, as onset was earlier and the duration was longer for water vapour condensation on BSC in comparison with that of dune sand. This contributed to

  7. Spatial distribution of microbial communities associated with dune landform in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Ruyin; Li, Ke; Zhang, Hongxun; Zhu, Junge; Joshi, DevRaj

    2014-11-01

    The microbial community compositions and potential ammonia oxidation in the topsoil at different positions of sand dune (stoss slope, crest, lee slope, and interdune) from the Gurbantunggut Desert, the largest semi-fixed desert in China, were investigated using several molecular methods. Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria (especially Alphaproteobacteria) were commonly the dominant taxa across all soil samples. Bacterial communities were similar in soils collected from the stoss slopes and interdunes (HC-BSCs, biological soil crusts with a high abundance of cyanobacteria), containing more abundant cyanobacterial populations (16.9-24.5%) than those (0.2-0.7% of Cyanobacteria) in the crests and lee slopes (LC-BSCs, biological soil crusts with a low abundance of cyanobacteria). The Cyanobacteria were mainly composed of Microcoleus spp., and quantitative PCR analysis revealed that 16S rRNA gene copy numbers of Cyanobacteria (especially genus Microcoleus) were at least two orders of magnitude higher in HC-BSCs than in LC-BSCs. Heterotrophic Geodermatophilus spp. frequently occurred in HC-BSCs (2.5-8.0%), whereas genera Arthrobacter, Bacillus, and Segetibacter were significantly abundant in LC-BSC communities. By comparison, the desert archaeal communities were less complex, and were dominated by Nitrososphaera spp. The amoA gene abundance of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) was higher than that of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in all soil samples, particularly in the interdunal soils (10(6)-10(8) archaeal amoA gene copies per gram dry soil), indicating that AOA possibly dominate the ammonia oxidation at the interdunes.

  8. Discovering Deserts.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braus, Judy, Ed.

    1985-01-01

    Ranger Rick's NatureScope is a creative education series dedicated to inspiring in children an understanding and appreciation of the natural world while developing the skills they will need to make responsible decisions about the environment. The topic of this issue is "Discovering Deserts." Contents are organized into the following…

  9. Desert Survivors!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Horton, Jessica; Friedenstab, Steve

    2013-01-01

    This article describes a special third-grade classroom unit based on the reality show "Survivor." The goal of this engaging and interactive unit was to teach students about physical and behavioral adaptations that help animals survive in various desert biomes. The activity combines research, argument, and puppet play over one week of…

  10. Desert Survivors!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Horton, Jessica; Friedenstab, Steve

    2013-01-01

    This article describes a special third-grade classroom unit based on the reality show "Survivor." The goal of this engaging and interactive unit was to teach students about physical and behavioral adaptations that help animals survive in various desert biomes. The activity combines research, argument, and puppet play over one week of…

  11. Discovering Deserts.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Braus, Judy, Ed.

    1985-01-01

    Ranger Rick's NatureScope is a creative education series dedicated to inspiring in children an understanding and appreciation of the natural world while developing the skills they will need to make responsible decisions about the environment. The topic of this issue is "Discovering Deserts." Contents are organized into the following…

  12. Acclimation of microorganisms to harsh soil crust conditions: Experimental and genomic approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raanan, Hagai; Kaplan, Aaron

    2015-04-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSC) are formed by the adhesion of sand particles to cyanobacterial exo- polysaccharides and play an important role in stabilizing sandy desert. Its destruction promotes desertification. These organisms cope with extreme temperatures, excess light and frequent hydration/dehydration cycles; the mechanisms involved are largely unknown. With the genome of newly sequenced Leptolyngbya, isolated from Nizzana BSC, we conduct comparative genomics of three desiccation tolerant cyanobacteria. This yield 46 unique genes, some of them similar to genes involve in sporulation of the gram positive bacteria Bacillus. In order to understand the molecular mechanisms taking place during desiccation we built an environmental chamber capable of simulating dynamic changes of environmental conditions in the crust. This chamber allows us to perform repetitive and accurate desiccation/rehydration experiments and follow cyanobacterial physiological and molecular response to such environmental changes. When we compared fast desiccation (less than 5 min) of isolated cyanobacteria to simulation of natural desiccation, we observed a 60% lower fluorescence recovery rate. The extent of damage from desiccation depended on the stress conditions during the dry period. These results suggest that cyanobacteria activated protection mechanisms in response to desiccation stress but which were not activated in 5 min desiccation tests. Gene expression patterns during desiccation are being analyzed in order to provide a better understanding of desiccation stress protection mechanisms.

  13. [Development and succession of biological soil crusts and the changes of microbial biomasses].

    PubMed

    Wu, Li; Zhang, Gao-Ke; Chen, Xiao-Guo; Lan, Shu-Bin; Zhang, De-Lu; Hu, Chun-Xiang

    2014-04-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) play important ecological roles in vegetation and ecological restoration in desert regions, and different crust developmental and successional stages have different ecological functions. In this experiment, the BSCs in Shapotou region (at southeast edge of Tengger Desert) were investigated to study crust development and succession through field investigation, microscopic observation combined with quantitative analysis of microbial biomasses. The results showed that BSCs in this region generally developed and succeeded from algal crusts, lichen crusts to moss crusts. With the development and succession of BSCs, crust photosynthetic biomass gradually increased, while microalgal biomass showed a first increasing and then decreasing trend. Among the crust algae (cyanobacteia), Microcoleus vaginatus, as the first dominant species, occupied the most algal biomass and reached a maximum of 0.33 mm3 x g(-1) crusts in algal crusts; while Scytonema javanicum and Nostoc sp. have their maximal biomasses in the later lichen crusts. In addition, it was found that the heterotrophic microbial biomass began to increase in algal crusts, and then decreased in lichen crusts; followed by another increase and the increase achieved the maximum at last in moss crusts. Through the correlation analysis, it was found that bacterial biomass significantly positively correlated with crust organic carbon and Na+ content, while fungal biomass positively correlated with K+ and Na+ content (P < 0.05). In conclusion, this study investigated the developmental and successional patterns of BSCs in Shapotou region, and discussed the effects of crust development and succession on several microbial biomasses from the point of view of environmental adaptation and functional requirement, which may be helpful for us to understand crust development and succession, and provide theoretical and practical significances for crust maintenance and management in ecological restoration of

  14. Sahara Desert, Niger

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1996-01-20

    STS072-709-063 (11-20 Jan. 1996) --- The astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour exposed this 70mm frame of the Air Mountains, located in the country of Niger. These Sahara Desert structures are granitic intrusions. They are resistant to erosion and are very prominent in the lighter colored sands of the area. According to NASA geologists studying the photo collection, the ring-like structure on the lower left-hand edge of the photograph is probably a Quaternary volcanic feature. The highest peaks in the range approach 1,800 meters (6,000 feet). Deep valleys in the range are used by the Tuaregs for pasturage. Uranium and other minerals are being mined in the massif.

  15. Unearthing the molecular phylodiversity of desert soil green algae (Chlorophyta).

    PubMed

    Lewis, Louise A; Lewis, Paul O

    2005-12-01

    Deserts are not usually considered biodiversity hotspots, but desert microbiotic crust communities exhibit a rich diversity of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic life forms. Like many communities dominated by microscopic organisms, they defy characterization by traditional species-counting approaches to assessing biodiversity. Here we use exclusive molecular phylodiversity (E) to quantify the amount of evolutionary divergence unique to desert-dwelling green algae (Chlorophyta) in microbiotic crust communities. Given a phylogenetic tree with branch lengths expressed in units of expected substitutions per site, E is the total length of all tree segments representing exclusively desert lineages. Using MCMC to integrate over tree topologies and branch lengths provides 95% Bayesian credible intervals for phylodiversity measures. We found substantial exclusive molecular phylodiversity based on 18S rDNA data, showing that desert lineages are distantly related to their nearest aquatic relatives. Our results challenge conventional wisdom, which holds that there was a single origin of terrestrial green plants and that green algae are merely incidental visitors rather than indigenous components of desert communities. We identify examples of lineage diversification within deserts and at least 12 separate transitions from aquatic to terrestrial life apart from the most celebrated transition leading to the embryophyte land plants. [Bayesian phylogenetics; biodiversity; exclusive molecular phylodiversity; microbiotic crusts.].

  16. Soil respiration sensitivities to water and temperature in a revegetated desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhi-Shan; Dong, Xue-Jun; Xu, Bing-Xin; Chen, Yong-Le; Zhao, Yang; Gao, Yan-Hong; Hu, Yi-Gang; Huang, Lei

    2015-04-01

    Soil respiration in water-limited ecosystems is affected intricately by soil water content (SWC), temperature, and soil properties. Eight sites on sand-fixed dunes that revegetated in different years since 1950s, with several topographical positions and various biological soil crusts (BSCs) and soil properties, were selected, as well as a moving sand dune (MSD) and a reference steppe in the Tengger Desert of China. Intact soil samples of 20 cm in depth were taken and incubated randomly at 12 levels of SWC (0 to 0.4 m3 m-3) and at 9 levels of temperature (5 to 45°C) in a growth chamber; additionally, cryptogamic and microbial respirations (RM) were measured. Total soil respiration (RT, including cryptogamic, microbial, and root respiration) was measured for 2 years at the MSD and five sites of sand-fixed dunes. The relationship between RM and SWC under the optimal SWC condition (0.25 m3 m-3) is linear, as is the entire range of RT and SWC. The slope of linear function describes sensitivity of soil respiration to water (SRW) and reflects to soil water availability, which is related significantly to soil physical properties, BSCs, and soil chemical properties, in decreasing importance. Inversely, Q10 for RM is related significantly to abovementioned factors in increasing importance. However, Q10 for RT and respiration rate at 20°C are related significantly to soil texture and depth of BSCs and subsoil only. In conclusion, through affecting SRW, soil physical properties produce significant influences on soil respiration, especially for RT. This indicates that a definition of the biophysical meaning of SRW is necessary, considering the water-limited and coarse-textured soil in most desert ecosystems.

  17. Soil nematode communities are ecologically more mature beneath late- than early-successional stage biological soil crusts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Darby, B.J.; Neher, D.A.; Belnap, J.

    2007-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are key mediators of carbon and nitrogen inputs for arid land soils and often represent a dominant portion of the soil surface cover in arid lands. Free-living soil nematode communities reflect their environment and have been used as biological indicators of soil condition. In this study, we test the hypothesis that nematode communities are successionally more mature beneath well-developed, late-successional stage crusts than immature, early-successional stage crusts. We identified and enumerated nematodes by genus from beneath early- and late-stage crusts from both the Colorado Plateau, Utah (cool, winter rain desert) and Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico (hot, summer rain desert) at 0-10 and 10-30 cm depths. As hypothesized, nematode abundance, richness, diversity, and successional maturity were greater beneath well-developed crusts than immature crusts. The mechanism of this aboveground-belowground link between biological soil crusts and nematode community composition is likely the increased food, habitat, nutrient inputs, moisture retention, and/or environmental stability provided by late-successional crusts. Canonical correspondence analysis of nematode genera demonstrated that nematode community composition differed greatly between geographic locations that contrast in temperature, precipitation, and soil texture. We found unique assemblages of genera among combinations of location and crust type that reveal a gap in scientific knowledge regarding empirically derived characterization of dominant nematode genera in deserts soils and their functional role in a crust-associated food web. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Freshly brewed continental crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gazel, E.; Hayes, J. L.; Caddick, M. J.; Madrigal, P.

    2015-12-01

    Earth's crust is the life-sustaining interface between our planet's deep interior and surface. Basaltic crusts similar to Earth's oceanic crust characterize terrestrial planets in the solar system while the continental masses, areas of buoyant, thick silicic crust, are a unique characteristic of Earth. Therefore, understanding the processes responsible for the formation of continents is fundamental to reconstructing the evolution of our planet. We use geochemical and geophysical data to reconstruct the evolution of the Central American Land Bridge (Costa Rica and Panama) over the last 70 Ma. We also include new preliminary data from a key turning point (~12-6 Ma) from the evolution from an oceanic arc depleted in incompatible elements to a juvenile continental mass in order to evaluate current models of continental crust formation. We also discovered that seismic P-waves (body waves) travel through the crust at velocities closer to the ones observed in continental crust worldwide. Based on global statistical analyses of all magmas produced today in oceanic arcs compared to the global average composition of continental crust we developed a continental index. Our goal was to quantitatively correlate geochemical composition with the average P-wave velocity of arc crust. We suggest that although the formation and evolution of continents may involve many processes, melting enriched oceanic crust within a subduction zone, a process probably more common in the Achaean where most continental landmasses formed, can produce the starting material necessary for juvenile continental crust formation.

  19. Nationwide desert highway assessment: a case study in China.

    PubMed

    Mao, Xuesong; Wang, Fuchun; Wang, Binggang

    2011-07-01

    The natural environment affects the construction of desert highways. Conversely, highway construction affects the natural environment and puts the ecological environment at a disadvantage. To satisfy the variety and hierarchy of desert highway construction and discover the spatio-temporal distribution of the natural environment and its effect on highway construction engineering, an assessment of the natural regional divisions of desert highways in China is carried out for the first time. Based on the general principles and method for the natural region division, the principles, method and index system for desert highway assessment is put forward by combining the desert highway construction features and the azonal differentiation law. The index system combines the dominant indicator and four auxiliary indicators. The dominant indicator is defined by the desert's comprehensive state index and the auxiliary indicators include the sand dune height, the blown sand strength, the vegetation coverage ratio and the annual average temperature difference. First the region is divided according to the dominant indicator. Then the region boundaries are amended according to the four auxiliary indicators. Finally the natural region division map for desert highway assessment is presented. The Chinese desert highways can be divided into three sections: the east medium effect region, the middle medium-severe effect region, and the west slight-medium effect region. The natural region division map effectively paves the way for the route planning, design, construction, maintenance and ongoing management of desert highways, and further helps environmental protection.

  20. Thermal and water relations of desert beetles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cloudsley-Thompson, J.

    2001-11-01

    The physical problems that living organisms have to contend with in hot deserts are primarily extremes of temperature, low humidity, shortage or absence of free water, and the environmental factors that accentuate these - such as strong winds, sand-storms, lack of shade, rocky and impenetrable soils. Climatic factors are particularly important to smaller animals such as arthropods on account of their relatively enormous surface to volume ratios. Nevertheless, beetles (especially Tenebrionidae and, to a lesser extent, Chrysomelidae) are among the most successful animals of the desert, and are often the only ones to be seen abroad during the day. Similar physical problems are experienced by insects in all terrestrial biomes, but they are much enhanced in the desert. Although climatic extremes are often avoided by burrowing habits coupled with circadian and seasonal activity rhythms, as well as reproductive phenology, several species of desert beetle are nevertheless able to withstand thermal extremes that would rapidly cause the death of most other arthropods including insects. The reactions of desert beetles to heat are largely behavioural whilst their responses to water shortage are primarily physiological. The effects of coloration are not discussed. In addition to markedly low rates of transpiration, desert beetles can also withstand a considerable reduction in the water content of their tissues. The study of desert beetles is important because it illustrates many of the solutions evolved by arthropods to the problems engendered, in an extreme form, by life in all terrestrial environments.

  1. Thermal and water relations of desert beetles.

    PubMed

    Cloudsley-Thompson, J L

    2001-11-01

    The physical problems that living organisms have to contend with in hot deserts are primarily extremes of temperature, low humidity, shortage or absence of free water, and the environmental factors that accentuate these--such as strong winds, sand-storms, lack of shade, rocky and impenetrable soils. Climatic factors are particularly important to smaller animals such as arthropods on account of their relatively enormous surface to volume ratios. Nevertheless, beetles (especially Tenebrionidae and, to a lesser extent, Chrysomelidae) are among the most successful animals of the desert, and are often the only ones to be seen abroad during the day. Similar physical problems are experienced by insects in all terrestrial biomes, but they are much enhanced in the desert. Although climatic extremes are often avoided by burrowing habits coupled with circadian and seasonal activity rhythms, as well as reproductive phenology, several species of desert beetle are nevertheless able to withstand thermal extremes that would rapidly cause the death of most other arthropods including insects. The reactions of desert beetles to heat are largely behavioural whilst their responses to water shortage are primarily physiological. The effects of coloration are not discussed. In addition to markedly low rates of transpiration, desert beetles can also withstand a considerable reduction in the water content of their tissues. The study of desert beetles is important because it illustrates many of the solutions evolved by arthropods to the problems engendered, in an extreme form, by life in all terrestrial environments.

  2. Effects of Altered Temperature & Precipitation on Soil Bacterial & Microfaunal Communities as Mediated by Biological Soil Crusts

    SciTech Connect

    Neher, Deborah A.

    2004-08-31

    With increased temperatures in our original pot study we observed a decline in lichen/moss crust cover and with that a decline in carbon and nitrogen fixation, and thus a probable decline of C and N input into crusts and soils. Soil bacteria and fauna were affected negatively by increased temperature in both light and dark crusts, and with movement from cool to hot and hot to hotter desert climates. Crust microbial biomass and relative abundance of diazotrophs was reduced greatly after one year, even in pots that were not moved from their original location, although no change in diazotroph community structure was observed. Populations of soil fauna moved from cool to hot deserts were affected more negatively than those moved from hot to hotter deserts.

  3. What Makes a Desert a Desert?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    NatureScope, 1985

    1985-01-01

    Presents background information and activities which focus on definition of a desert, locations of deserts, and factors influencing locations. Activities include objective(s), recommended age level(s), subject area(s), list of materials needed, and procedures. Two ready-to-copy pages with desert landforms and temperature/rainfall data are…

  4. Cell damage caused by ultraviolet B radiation in the desert cyanobacterium Phormidium tenue and its recovery process.

    PubMed

    Wang, Gaohong; Deng, Songqiang; Liu, Jiafeng; Ye, Chaoran; Zhou, Xiangjun; Chen, Lanzhou

    2017-10-01

    Phormidium tenue, a cyanobacterium that grows in the topsoil of biological soil crusts (BSCs), has the highest recovery rate among desert crust cyanobacteria after exposure to ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation. However, the mechanism underlying its recovery process is unclear. To address this issue, we measured chlorophyll a fluorescence, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipid peroxidation, and repair of DNA breakage in P. tenue following exposure to UV-B. We found that UV-B radiation at all doses tested reduced photosynthesis and induced cell damage in P. tenue. However, P. tenue responded to UV-B radiation by rapidly reducing photosynthetic activity, which protects the cell by leaking less ROS. Antioxidant enzymes, DNA damage repair systems, and UV absorbing pigments were then induced to mitigate the damage caused by UV-B radiation. The addition of exogenous antioxidant chemicals ascorbate and N-acetylcysteine also mitigated the harmful effects caused by UV-B radiation and enhanced the recovery process. These chemicals could aid in the resistance of P. tenue to the exposure of intense UV-B radiation in desertified areas when inoculated onto the sand surface to form artificial algal crusts. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  5. [Roles of moisture in constructing man-made algal crust with Micocoleus vaginatus].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Bing-Chang; Wang, Jing-Zhu; Zhang, Yuan-Ming; Shao, Hua

    2013-02-01

    To explore the roles of moisture in the construction of man-made algal crust with inoculated Micocoleus vaginatus, a laboratory experiment was conducted to study the variations of the microalgal biomass, algal crust thickness, crust compressive strength, and crust microstructure under six moisture doses and four moisture treatment intervals. When M. vaginatus was inoculated to the naked sands without moisture addition, the microalgal biomass was very low, and no algal crust was formed. With increasing dose of moisture, the microalgal biomass, algal crust thickness, and crust compressive strength increased significantly, and the algal filaments and extracellulhr polysaccharides (EPS) had a gradual increase, wrapped around the sands and formed a complex network. After 15 days moisture treatment, stable algal crust was formed, which had the highest microalgal biomass, crust thickness, and crust compressive strength. The optimal moisture dose for M. vaginatus to form man-made algal crust was 3-4 L.m-2.d-1, and the addition of moisture should be continued for 15 d. The availability of the moisture promoted the metabolic processes of M. vaginatus and the synthesis of the algal EPS, which increased the microalgal biomass and its ability to resist desiccation. The moisture availability at early stage was the key factor for M. vaginatus to successfully form algal crust. This study could offer some guidance for the recovery of biological soil crusts in the field.

  6. Fog Bank, Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1991-12-01

    Fog is the only source of moisture for desert dwelling animals and plants living in the Namib Desert sand dune field, Namibia (23.5N, 15.0E). Coastal stratus clouds provide most of the life supporting moisture as fog droplets in this arid land where the usual annual rainfall is less than a quarter of an inch for decades at a time. In this view, the stratus clouds over the coast conform to the dune pattern proving that the fog is in ground contact.

  7. Nationwide Desert Highway Assessment: A Case Study in China

    PubMed Central

    Mao, Xuesong; Wang, Fuchun; Wang, Binggang

    2011-01-01

    The natural environment affects the construction of desert highways. Conversely, highway construction affects the natural environment and puts the ecological environment at a disadvantage. To satisfy the variety and hierarchy of desert highway construction and discover the spatio-temporal distribution of the natural environment and its effect on highway construction engineering, an assessment of the natural regional divisions of desert highways in China is carried out for the first time. Based on the general principles and method for the natural region division, the principles, method and index system for desert highway assessment is put forward by combining the desert highway construction features and the azonal differentiation law. The index system combines the dominant indicator and four auxiliary indicators. The dominant indicator is defined by the desert’s comprehensive state index and the auxiliary indicators include the sand dune height, the blown sand strength, the vegetation coverage ratio and the annual average temperature difference. First the region is divided according to the dominant indicator. Then the region boundaries are amended according to the four auxiliary indicators. Finally the natural region division map for desert highway assessment is presented. The Chinese desert highways can be divided into three sections: the east medium effect region, the middle medium-severe effect region, and the west slight-medium effect region. The natural region division map effectively paves the way for the route planning, design, construction, maintenance and ongoing management of desert highways, and further helps environmental protection. PMID:21845155

  8. Pedological and geological relationships with soil lichen and moss distribution in the eastern Mojave Desert, CA, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Miller, David M.; Bedford, David R.; Phillips, Susan L.

    2014-01-01

    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are ubiquitous in drylands globally. Lichens and mosses are essential biocrust components and provide a variety of ecosystem services, making their conservation and management of interest. Accordingly, understanding what factors are correlated with their distribution is important to land managers. We hypothesized that cover would be related to geologic and pedologic factors. We sampled 32 sites throughout the eastern Mojave Desert, stratifying by parent material and the age of the geomorphic surfaces. The cover of lichens and mosses on ‘available ground’ (L + Mav; available ground excludes ground covered by rocks or plant stems) was higher on limestone and quartzite-derived soils than granite-derived soils. Cover was also higher on moderately younger-aged geomorphic surfaces (Qya2, Qya3, Qya4) and cutbanks than on very young (Qya1), older-aged surfaces (Qia1, Qia2), or soils associated with coppice mounds or animal burrowing under Larrea tridentata. When all sites and parent materials were combined, soil texture was the most important factor predicting the occurrence of L + Mav, with cover positively associated with higher silt, very fine sand, and fine sand fractions and negatively associated with the very coarse sand fraction. When parent materials were examined separately, nutrients such as available potassium, iron, and calcium became the most important predictors of L + Mav cover.

  9. The Oceanic Crust.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Francheteau, Jean

    1983-01-01

    The earth's oceanic crust is created and destroyed in a flow outward from midocean ridges to subduction zones, where it plunges back into the mantle. The nature and dynamics of the crust, instrumentation used in investigations of this earth feature, and research efforts/findings are discussed. (JN)

  10. The Oceanic Crust.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Francheteau, Jean

    1983-01-01

    The earth's oceanic crust is created and destroyed in a flow outward from midocean ridges to subduction zones, where it plunges back into the mantle. The nature and dynamics of the crust, instrumentation used in investigations of this earth feature, and research efforts/findings are discussed. (JN)

  11. Sands-on Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vandervoort, Frances S.

    1989-01-01

    Provides information for the development of a lesson which teaches students about sand, discusses facts about sands, sand studies, life in the sands, and sand activities. Includes diagrams showing the range in sand grain shape, formation of sand ripples, and sand samples from around the world. (RT)

  12. Sands-on Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vandervoort, Frances S.

    1989-01-01

    Provides information for the development of a lesson which teaches students about sand, discusses facts about sands, sand studies, life in the sands, and sand activities. Includes diagrams showing the range in sand grain shape, formation of sand ripples, and sand samples from around the world. (RT)

  13. Characteristics of near-surface wind regimes in the Taklimakan Desert, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zu, Ruiping; Xue, Xian; Qiang, Mingrui; Yang, Bao; Qu, Jianjun; Zhang, Kecun

    2008-04-01

    Using wind data from 17 meteorological stations distributed throughout the Taklimakan desert, we described the characteristics of the desert's wind regimes and analyzed the spatial and temporal variations in wind direction and sand-drift intensity. The near-surface wind regimes were closely related to general atmospheric circulation patterns and the surrounding topography. There are two prevailing wind directions in the desert. In general, the eastern part of the desert is mainly affected by NE winds and the western part is affected by NW winds. In the area towards the center of the desert, but not around its edges, the monthly mean wind velocity is strongly correlated with the monthly mean temperature. With the exception of Ruoqiang, on the eastern edge of the desert, the drift potential (DP) is less than 200 VU, and the desert thus belongs to a low-energy environment based on Fryberger's classification. In addition, most parts of the desert have an RDP (resultant DP)/DP value greater than 0.4, suggesting that the wind regimes have mainly unimodal or bimodal characteristics. In contrast with the sand-drift intensity, which was highest in the north and east parts of the desert, the highest frequency of sand-dust storms occurred at the southwestern margin of the desert. This results primarily from the differences of dust content on ground surfaces and land use types.

  14. Lateral migration of linear dunes in the Strzelecki Desert, Australia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rubin, D.M.

    1990-01-01

    Preferential accumulation of sand on east-facing flanks indicates that the dunes migrated eastward several metres during the Holocene. Moreover, the west-facing flanks of some dunes have experienced a minimum of tens of metres of erosion. This asymmetric erosion and deposition were caused by dune obliquity and lateral migration that may have begun as early as the Pleistocene. Dunes in the Strzelecki Desert and in the adjacent Simpson Desert display a variety of grossly different internal structures. -from Author

  15. Chemical characteristics of aerosol particles (PM2.5) at a site of Horqin Sand-land in northeast China.

    PubMed

    Shen, Zhen-xing; Cao, Jun-ji; Li, Xu-xiang; Wang, Ya-qiang; Jie, Dong-mei; Zhang, Xiao-ye

    2006-01-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize the mass concentration and chemical composition of aerosol particles (PM2.5) collected at Tongliao (Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China), a site in Horqin Sand-land in northeast China. During spring 2005, the mass concentration for PM2.5 was (126 +/- 71)microg/m3 in average. Five dust storm events were monitored with higher concentration of (255 +/- 77)microg/m3 in average than the non dusty days of (106 +/- 44)microg/m3. Concentrations for 20 elements were obtained by the PIXE method. Mass concentrations of Al, Mg, Si, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, and V, which increased with the PM2.5 concentration, were higher than the pollution elements (S, Cl, Zn, Ar, Se, Br, and Pb). Enrichment factor relative to crust material was also calculated, which showed dust trace elements were mainly from earth upper crust and pollution elements were dominated the anthropogenic aerosols. The Si/Al, Ca/Al, and Fe/Al ratios in PM2.5 samples at Tongliao were 4.07, 0.94, and 0.82, respectively, which were remarkably different with those on other source regions, such as "Western desert source region", "North desert source region" and central Asia source. Air mass back-trajectory analysis identified three kinds of general pathways were associated with the aerosol particle transport to Tongliao, but have the similar elemental ratios, implying that elemental signatures for dust aerosol from Horqin Sand-land were different with other regions.

  16. Morphodynamics of Planetary Deserts: A Laboratory Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia, A.; Courrech Du Pont, S.; Rodriguez, S.

    2014-12-01

    Earth deserts show a rich variety of dune shapes from transverse to barchan, star and linear dunes depending on the history of wind regimes (strength and variability) and sand availability [1]. In desert, exposed to one wind direction, dunes perpendicular to the wind direction are found to be transverse or barchans, only sand availability plays a key role on their formation and evolution. However, the evolution time scale of such structures (several years) limits our investigation of their morphodynamics understanding. We use here, a laboratory experiment able to considerably reduce space and time scales by reproducing millimeter to centimeter subaqueous dunes by controlling environmental parameters such as type of wind (multi-winds, bimodal, quasi-bimodal or unidirectional wind) and amount of sediment [2,3]. This set up allows us to characterize more precisely the different modes of dune formation and long-term evolution, and to constrain the physics behind the morphogenesis and dynamics of dunes. Indeed, the formation, evolution and transition between the different dune modes are better understood and quantified thanks to a new setting experiment able to give a remote sediment source in continuous (closer to what happens in terrestrial desert): a sand distributor that controls the input sand flow. Firstly, in a one wind direction conditions, we managed to follow and quantify the growth of the instability of transverse dunes that break into barchans when the sand supply is low and reversely when the sand supply is higher, barchan fields evolve to bars dunes ending to form transverse. The next step will be to perform experiments under two winds conditions in order to better constrain the formation mode of linear dunes, depending also only on the input sand flux. Previous experiments shown that linear "finger" dunes can be triggered by the break of transverse dunes and then the elongating of one barchan's arm [4]. These studies can farther explain more precisely in

  17. Post-Glacial Ant Generated Desert Pavements in Southeastern Oregon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonard, K. C.

    2001-12-01

    Desert pavements typically require thousands to tens of thousands of years to reach a high level of development. In a pluvial lake valley in Southeastern Oregon I have observed harvester ants creating desert pavement-like features in less than two months. The summer lake basin is a fairly simple sedimentary system. In the eastern half of the basin, the basaltic bedrock is buried under tens of meters of alluvial deposits which lie beneath an approximately ten meter thick dune sheet. The dune sands are noticably different in grainsize and chemistry than the fine component of the alluvial deposits. The dunes began to form at the end of the last pluvial interval (Allison 1980) and continue to be active today. Roughly one fourth of the total area of the dune sheet is mantled with desert pavement, consisting of very coarse sand and fine pebbles (1-8 mm diameter). The dune sand is very fine grained with a considerable amount of silt and minimal clay. It forms thin (2-20 cm thick) well developed Av horizons beneath the desert pavement. Owyhee harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex owyheei) in the area use pebbles of the same size and petrology as the desert pavements to construct their hills. For the ants the closest source of these pebbles is often the alluvium, ten meters below the anthill, rather than in a desert pavement deposit at some distance away overland. An experiment conducted between June and August 1999 demonstrated that the ants rebuild their hills with newly excavated pebbles. When the colonies die off after 5-25 years, the pebbles are stranded at the surface. Processes such as those described by Haff and Werner (1996), where jackrabbits and birds were observed kicking desert pavement clasts aross the ground serve to redistribute the pebbles across the surface of the sand dunes. The sand dunes have been forming over an 8000 year period. Based on anthill-regrowth measurements, the lifespan of an individual colony of harvester ants leads to the excavation of only enough

  18. Complex geo-ecological responses to climatic changes in a dryland area: northern Negev desert; Israel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yair, A.

    2009-12-01

    Semi-arid and arid areas are often regarded as highly sensitive to climatic changes. A positive relationship between average annual rainfall and related environmental variables is usually suggested for such areas. This approach disregards the fact tnat a climate change in dryland areas is often accompanied by a parallel change in surface properties; such as sand deposition during a dry phase and of loess deposition during a wet phase. The new surface properties can be expected to exercise a strong effect on infiltration, runoff, soil moisture regime and water availability for plants. The work presented will cover two studies conducted in the northern Negev desert; along a rainfall gradient of ~ 90 mm to ~ 170 mm. The first study focuses on the negative environmental effects of loess penetration during a wet climatic phase. Loess deposition over rocky surfaces increased raindrop absorption by the fine-grained loessic material. Due to the low rain amounts at most rainstorms depth of water infiltration is limited; and most of the infiltrated waters are lost by evaporation. A comparative analysis of the vegetation cover and composition, soil properties and human activity in adjoining rocky and loess covered areas clearly shows that loess penetration has led to a desertification effect. The second study was conducted in a sandy area along the Egyptian-Israeli border.Most of the study area is covered by a biological topsoil crust. Data collected show a differential development of the biological crusts along the rainfall gradient. The crust is better developed,richer in fine grained particles and organic matter content than the crust in the drier area. However, the better developed crust is able to absorb and retain all rainwater at most rainstorms; limiting thus the depth of water infiltration and water availability for higher plants. At the same time the thin crust in the drier area absorbs less water and generates runoff. The overall result is deeper water penetration

  19. Desert Voices: Southwestern Children's Literature.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Polette, Keith

    1997-01-01

    Examines three books with different ways of writing about the desert. Discusses: "Here Is the Southwestern Desert" by Madeline Dunphy, "The Desert Is My Mother" by Pat Mora, and "The Desert Mermaid" by Alberto Blanco. (PA)

  20. Desert Voices: Southwestern Children's Literature.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Polette, Keith

    1997-01-01

    Examines three books with different ways of writing about the desert. Discusses: "Here Is the Southwestern Desert" by Madeline Dunphy, "The Desert Is My Mother" by Pat Mora, and "The Desert Mermaid" by Alberto Blanco. (PA)

  1. Factors mediating cheatgrass invasion of intact salt desert shrubland

    Treesearch

    Susan E. Meyer; Susan C. Garvin; Julie Beckstead

    2001-01-01

    Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has recently displaced salt desert shrubland in many areas of the Great Basin. We studied the dynamics of cheatgrass invasion into an intact shadscale-gray molly community in Dugway Valley, Utah, by adding seeds and manipulating disturbance regime and resource availability. Shrub clipping or cryptobiotic crust trampling on large plots...

  2. The dual role of soil crusts in desertification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Assouline, S.; Thompson, S. E.; Chen, L.; Svoray, T.; Sela, S.; Katul, G. G.

    2015-10-01

    Vegetation cover in dry regions is a key variable in determining desertification. Soils exposed to rainfall by desertification can form physical crusts that reduce infiltration, exacerbating water stress on the remaining vegetation. Paradoxically, field studies show that crust removal is associated with plant mortality in desert systems, while artificial biological crusts can improve plant regeneration. Here it is shown how physical crusts can act as either drivers of or buffers against desertification depending on their environmental context. The behavior of crusts is first explored using a simplified theory for water movement on a uniform, partly vegetated slope subject to stationary hydrologic conditions. Numerical model runs supplemented with field data from a semiarid Long-Term Ecological Research site are then applied to represent more realistic environmental conditions. When vegetation cover is significant, crusts can drive desertification, but this process is potentially self-limiting. For low vegetation cover, crusts mitigate against desertification by providing water subsidy to plant communities through a runoff-runon mechanism.

  3. The meaning of desert color in earth orbital photographs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Baz, F.

    1978-01-01

    The color of desert surfaces as seen in earth orbital photographs is indicative of soil composition. Apollo-Soyuz photographs of the Sturt and Simpson Deserts of Australia confirm that sand grains become redder as the distance from the source increases. Reddening is caused by a thin iron-oxide coating on individual sand grains and can be used, in some cases, to map relative-age zones. Photographs of the Western (Libyan) Desert of Egypt indicate three distinct and nearly parallel color zones that have been correlated in the field with: (1) arable soil composed of quartz, clay, and calcium carbonate particles; (2) relatively active sand with or without sparse vegetation; and (3) relatively inactive sand mixed with dark (desert-varnished) pebbles. The youngest sands are in the form of longitudinal dunes, which are migrating to the south-southeast along the prevailing wind direction. Some of the young dune fields are encroaching on the western boundary of the fertile Nile Valley.

  4. The meaning of desert color in earth orbital photographs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Baz, F.

    1978-01-01

    The color of desert surfaces as seen in earth orbital photographs is indicative of soil composition. Apollo-Soyuz photographs of the Sturt and Simpson Deserts of Australia confirm that sand grains become redder as the distance from the source increases. Reddening is caused by a thin iron-oxide coating on individual sand grains and can be used, in some cases, to map relative-age zones. Photographs of the Western (Libyan) Desert of Egypt indicate three distinct and nearly parallel color zones that have been correlated in the field with: (1) arable soil composed of quartz, clay, and calcium carbonate particles; (2) relatively active sand with or without sparse vegetation; and (3) relatively inactive sand mixed with dark (desert-varnished) pebbles. The youngest sands are in the form of longitudinal dunes, which are migrating to the south-southeast along the prevailing wind direction. Some of the young dune fields are encroaching on the western boundary of the fertile Nile Valley.

  5. The influence of biological soil crusts on mineral uptake by associated vascular plants

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harper, K.T.; Belnap, Jayne

    2001-01-01

    Soil surfaces dominated by cyanobacteria and cyanolichens (such as Collema sp.) are widespread in deserts of the world. The influence of these biological soil crusts on the uptake of bioessential elements is reported for the first time for six seed plants of the deserts of Utah. This sample almost doubles the number of species for which the influence of biological soil crusts on mineral uptake of associated vascular plants is known. These new case studies, and others previously published, demonstrate that cyanobacterial or cyanobacteria- Collema crusts significantly alter uptake by plants of many bioessential elements. In studies now available, these crusts always increase the N content of associated seed plants. Uptake of Cu, K, Mg, and Zn is usually (>70% of reported cases) increased in the presence of the biological soil crusts. Soil crusts are generally negatively associated with Fe and P levels in associated seed plant tissue, while plant tissue levels of Ca, Mn, and Na are positively as often as negatively associated with the presence of soil crusts. Increases in bioessential elements in vascular plant tissue from biologically-crusted areas are greatest for short-lived herbs that are rooted primarily within the surface soil, the horizon most influenced by crustal organisms. The mineral content of a deeply rooted shrub (Coleogyne ramosissima) was less influenced by co-occurrence of biological soil crusts.

  6. Spatial and temporal variations of blowing dust events in the Taklimakan Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xinghua; Shen, Shuanghe; Yang, Fan; He, Qing; Ali, Mamtimin; Huo, Wen; Liu, Xinchun

    2016-08-01

    The Taklimakan Desert is the source of most blowing dust events in China. However, previous studies of sandstorms in this region have not included data from the inner desert because of the difficulty in making observations in this area. In this study, the spatial and temporal variations of blowing dust events, including sandstorms and blowing sand, and its relations with climatic parameters in the Taklimakan Desert were analyzed using data from ten desert-edge meteorological stations during 1961 to 2010 and two inner-desert meteorological stations during 1988 to 1990, 1996 to 2010, and 1992 to 2010. The results identified two regions (Pishan-Hotan-Minfeng and Xiaotang-Tazhong) where blowing dust events occur on average more than 80 days per year. The regions with the highest occurrence of sandstorms, blowing sand, and blowing dust events were different, with sandstorms centered in the north of the desert (Xiaotang, 46.9 days), whereas the central location for blowing sand (Pishan, 86.4 days) and blowing dust events (Minfeng, 113.5 days) activity was located at the southwestern and southern edges of the desert, respectively. The occurrence of sandstorms generally decreased from 1961 to 2010, while the occurrence of blowing sand increased from 1961 to 1979 and then generally decreased. The temporal variation of blowing dust events was mainly affected by the occurrence of strong wind and daily temperature, with average correlation coefficients of 0.46 and -0.41 for these variables across the whole desert.

  7. Icelandic-type crust

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Foulger, G.R.; Du, Z.; Julian, B.R.

    2003-01-01

    Numerous seismic studies, in particular using receiver functions and explosion seismology, have provided a detailed picture of the structure and thickness of the crust beneath the Iceland transverse ridge. We review the results and propose a structural model that is consistent with all the observations. The upper crust is typically 7 ?? 1 km thick, heterogeneous and has high velocity gradients. The lower crust is typically 15-30 ?? 5 km thick and begins where the velocity gradient decreases radically. This generally occurs at the V p ??? 6.5 km s-1 level. A low-velocity zone ??? 10 000 km2 in area and up to ??? 15 km thick occupies the lower crust beneath central Iceland, and may represent a submerged, trapped oceanic microplate. The crust-mantle boundary is a transition zone ???5 ?? 3 km thick throughout which V p increases progressively from ???7.2 to ???8.0 km s-1. It may be gradational or a zone of alternating high- and low-velocity layers. There is no seismic evidence for melt or exceptionally high temperatures in or near this zone. Isostasy indicates that the density contrast between the lower crust and the mantle is only ???90 kg m-3 compared with ???300 kg m-3 for normal oceanic crust, indicating compositional anomalies that are as yet not understood. The seismological crust is ???30 km thick beneath the Greenland-Iceland and Iceland-Faeroe ridges, and eastern Iceland, ???20 km beneath western Iceland, and ???40 km thick beneath central Iceland. This pattern is not what is predicted for an eastward-migrating plume. Low attenuation and normal V p/V s ratios in the lower crust beneath central and southwestern Iceland, and normal uppermost mantle velocities in general, suggest that the crust and uppermost mantle are subsolidus and cooler than at equivalent depths beneath the East Pacific Rise. Seismic data from Iceland have historically been interpreted both in terms of thin-hot and thick-cold crust models, both of which have been cited as supporting the plume

  8. Booming Sand Dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vriend, Nathalie

    "Booming" sand dunes are able to produce low-frequency sound that resembles a pure note from a music instrument. The sound has a dominant audible frequency (70-105 Hz) and several higher harmonics and may be heard from far distances away. A natural or induced avalanche from a slip face of the booming dune triggers the emission that may last for several minutes. There are various references in travel literature to the phenomenon, but to date no scientific explanation covered all field observations. This thesis introduces a new physical model that describes the phenomenon of booming dunes. The waveguide model explains the selection of the booming frequency and the amplification of the sound in terms of constructive interference in a confined geometry. The frequency of the booming is a direct function of the dimensions and velocities in the waveguide. The higher harmonics are related to the higher modes of propagation in the waveguide. The experimental validation includes quantitative field research at the booming dunes of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley National Park. Microphone and geophone recordings of the acoustic and seismic emission show a variation of booming frequency in space and time. The analysis of the sensor data quantifies wave propagation characteristics such as speed, dispersion, and nonlinear effects and allows the distinction between the source mechanism of the booming and the booming itself. The migration of sand dunes results from a complicated interplay between dune building, wind regime, and precipitation. The morphological and morphodynamical characteristics of two field locations are analyzed with various geophysical techniques. Ground-penetrating radar images the subsurface structure of the dunes and reveal a natural, internal layering that is directly related to the history of dune migration. The seismic velocity increases abruptly with depth and gradually increases with downhill position due to compaction. Sand sampling shows local

  9. Laboratory singing sand avalanches.

    PubMed

    Dagois-Bohy, Simon; Ngo, Sandrine; du Pont, Sylvain Courrech; Douady, Stéphane

    2010-02-01

    Some desert sand dunes have the peculiar ability to emit a loud sound up to 110 dB, with a well-defined frequency: this phenomenon, known since early travelers (Darwin, Marco Polo, etc.), has been called the song of dunes. But only in late 19th century scientific observations were made, showing three important characteristics of singing dunes: first, not all dunes sing, but all the singing dunes are composed of dry and well-sorted sand; second, this sound occurs spontaneously during avalanches on a slip face; third this is not the only way to produce sound with this sand. More recent field observations have shown that during avalanches, the sound frequency does not depend on the dune size or shape, but on the grain diameter only, and scales as the square root of g/d--with g the gravity and d the diameter of the grains--explaining why all the singing dunes in the same vicinity sing at the same frequency. We have been able to reproduce these singing avalanches in laboratory on a hard plate, which made possible to study them more accurately than on the field. Signals of accelerometers at the flowing surface of the avalanche are compared to signals of microphones placed above, and it evidences a very strong vibration of the flowing layer at the same frequency as on the field, responsible for the emission of sound. Moreover, other characteristics of the booming dunes are reproduced and analyzed, such as a threshold under which no sound is produced, or beats in the sound that appears when the flow is too large. Finally, the size of the coherence zones emitting sound has been measured and discussed.

  10. Corium crust strength measurements.

    SciTech Connect

    Lomperski, S.; Nuclear Engineering Division

    2009-11-01

    Corium strength is of interest in the context of a severe reactor accident in which molten core material melts through the reactor vessel and collects on the containment basemat. Some accident management strategies involve pouring water over the melt to solidify it and halt corium/concrete interactions. The effectiveness of this method could be influenced by the strength of the corium crust at the interface between the melt and coolant. A strong, coherent crust anchored to the containment walls could allow the yet-molten corium to fall away from the crust as it erodes the basemat, thereby thermally decoupling the melt from the coolant and sharply reducing the cooling rate. This paper presents a diverse collection of measurements of the mechanical strength of corium. The data is based on load tests of corium samples in three different contexts: (1) small blocks cut from the debris of the large-scale MACE experiments, (2) 30 cm-diameter, 75 kg ingots produced by SSWICS quench tests, and (3) high temperature crusts loaded during large-scale corium/concrete interaction (CCI) tests. In every case the corium consisted of varying proportions of UO{sub 2}, ZrO{sub 2}, and the constituents of concrete to represent a LWR melt at different stages of a molten core/concrete interaction. The collection of data was used to assess the strength and stability of an anchored, plant-scale crust. The results indicate that such a crust is likely to be too weak to support itself above the melt. It is therefore improbable that an anchored crust configuration could persist and the melt become thermally decoupled from the water layer to restrict cooling and prolong an attack of the reactor cavity concrete.

  11. Payload Bay and Great Western Sand Sea, Algeria, Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    Patterns of yellow and orange dunes of the Great Western Sand Sea of Algeria (29.5N, 1.5W) contrast with the black folded sedimentary rocks in the central Sahara Desert. A small dry riverbed, along the line between the thick sands and the black rocks brings in sediment from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Southwest winds blow sand from the bed to form a thick sand sheet on the downwind side of the river to contrast with the thin upwind dune strips.

  12. Raising the continental crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, Ian H.; Davies, D. Rhodri

    2017-02-01

    The changes that occur at the boundary between the Archean and Proterozoic eons are arguably the most fundamental to affect the evolution of Earth's continental crust. The principal component of Archean continental crust is Granite-Greenstone Terranes (GGTs), with granites always dominant. The greenstones consist of a lower sequence of submarine komatiites and basalts, which erupted onto a pre-existing Tonalite-Trondhjemite-Granodiorite (TTG) crust. These basaltic rocks pass upwards initially into evolved volcanic rocks, such as andesites and dacites and, subsequently, into reworked felsic pyroclastic material and immature sediments. This transition coincides with widespread emplacement of granitoids, which stabilised (cratonised) the continental crust. Proterozoic supra-crustal rocks, on the other hand, are dominated by extensive flat-lying platform sequences of mature sediments, which were deposited on stable cratonic basements, with basaltic rocks appreciably less abundant. The siliceous TTGs cannot be produced by direct melting of the mantle, with most hypotheses for their origin requiring them to be underlain by a complimentary dense amphibole-garnet-pyroxenite root, which we suggest acted as ballast to the early continents. Ubiquitous continental pillow basalts in Archean lower greenstone sequences require the early continental crust to have been sub-marine, whereas the appearance of abundant clastic sediments, at higher stratigraphic levels, shows that it had emerged above sea level by the time of sedimentation. We hypothesise that the production of komatiites and associated basalts, the rise of the continental crust, widespread melting of the continental crust, the onset of sedimentation and subsequent cratonisation form a continuum that is the direct result of removal of the continent's dense amphibole-garnet-pyroxenite roots, triggered at a regional scale by the arrival of a mantle plume at the base of the lithosphere. Our idealised calculations suggest

  13. Ophiolites and oceanic crust

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moores, E.M.; Jackson, E.D.

    1974-01-01

    OPHIOLITES consist of a pseudostratiform sequence, of harzburgite, tectonite, ultramafic and mafic cumulates sometimes including gabbro and quartz diorite (plagiogranite) intrusions, dolerite dyke swarms, pillow lava 1, and deep-sea sediments2-4. This assemblage occurs in all Phanerozoic mountain systems and is interpreted as fossil oceanic crust and uppermost mantle5-10. Outstanding problems include differences between the chemical properties of Ophiolites and rocks thought to represent present-day oceanic crust11,12, the lack in some complexes of recognised dyke swarms or cumulates, and the relative thinness of ophiolite mafic rocks compared with standard oceanic crustal sections5,8,13. ?? 1974 Nature Publishing Group.

  14. Deserts: Information and Hands-On Activities. Interactive Geography Kit.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bernard, Robin

    This book is designed to introduce students to a variety of fascinating desert ecosystems through a series of learning activities including games, graphs, experiments, and crafts. Each section contains an information section along with student activities and worksheets. The section topics are sand, scorpions, and snow; scenic sculpture; desert…

  15. Deserts: Information and Hands-On Activities. Interactive Geography Kit.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bernard, Robin

    This book is designed to introduce students to a variety of fascinating desert ecosystems through a series of learning activities including games, graphs, experiments, and crafts. Each section contains an information section along with student activities and worksheets. The section topics are sand, scorpions, and snow; scenic sculpture; desert…

  16. Threshold velocities for input of soil particles into the air by desert soils

    SciTech Connect

    Gillette, D.A.; Adams, J.; Endo, A.; Smith, D.; Kihl, R.

    1980-10-20

    Desert soils mostly from the Mojave Desert were tested for threshold friction velocity (the friction velocity above which soil erosion takes place) with an open-bottomed portable wind tunnel. Several geomorphological settings were chosen to be representative of much of the surface of the Mojave Desert, for example, playas, alluvial fans, and aeolian features. Variables which increase threshold velocity are decreasing proportion of sand, increasing size of dry aggregates of the soil, and increasing fraction of the soil mass larger than 1 mm. Threshold velocity increases with different types of soil surfaces in the following order: disturbed soils (except disturbed heavy clay soils), sand dunes, alluvial and aeolian sand deposits, disturbed playa soils, skirts of playas, playa centers, and desert pavement (alluvial deposits). 21 references, 5 figures, 6 tables.

  17. Threshold velocities for input of soil particles into the air by desert soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gillette, Dale A.; Adams, John; Endo, Albert; Smith, Dudley; Kihl, Rolf

    1980-10-01

    Desert soils mostly from the Mojave Desert were tested for threshold friction velocity (the friction velocity above which soil erosion takes place) with an open-bottomed portable wind tunnel. Several geomorphological settings were chosen to be representative of much of the surface of the Mojave Desert, for example, playas, alluvial fans, and aeolian features. Variables which increase threshold velocity are decreasing proportion of sand, increasing size of dry aggregates of the soil, and increasing fraction of the soil mass larger than 1 mm. Threshold velocity increases with different types of soil surfaces in the following order: distrubed soils (except disturbed heavy clay soils), sand dunes, alluvial and aeolian sand deposits, disturbed playa soils, skirts of playas, playa centers, and desert pavements (alluvial deposits).

  18. Wind erodibility of soils at Fort Irwin, California (Mojave Desert), USA, before and after trampling disturbance: Implications for land management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.; Herrick, J.E.; Johansen, J.R.

    2007-01-01

    Recently disturbed and 'control' (i.e. less recently disturbed) soils in the Mojave Desert were compared for their vulnerability to wind erosion, using a wind tunnel, before and after being experimentally trampled. Before trampling, control sites had greater cyanobacterial biomass, soil surface stability, threshold friction velocities (TFV, i.e. the wind speed required to move soil particles), and sediment yield than sites that had been more recently disturbed by military manoeuvres. After trampling, all sites showed a large drop in TFVs and a concomitant increase in sediment yield. Simple correlation analyses showed that the decline in TFVs and the rise in sediment yield were significantly related to cyanobacterial biomass (as indicated by soil chlorophyll a). However, chlorophyll a amounts were very low compared to chlorophyll a amounts found at cooler desert sites, where chlorophyll a is often the most important factor in determining TFV and sediment yield. Multiple regression analyses showed that other factors at Fort Irwin were more important than cyanobacterial biomass in determining the overall site susceptibility to wind erosion. These factors included soil texture (especially the fine, medium and coarse sand fractions), rock cover, and the inherent stability of the soil (as indicated by subsurface soil stability tests). Thus, our results indicate that there is a threshold of biomass below which cyanobacterial crusts are not the dominant factor in soil vulnerability to wind erosion. Most undisturbed soil surfaces in the Mojave Desert region produce very little sediment, but even moderate disturbance increases soil loss from these sites. Because current weathering rates and dust inputs are very low, soil formation rates are low as well. Therefore, soil loss in this region is likely to have long-term effects.

  19. Geochemical and geomorphological evidence for the provenance of aeolian deposits in the Badain Jaran Desert, northwestern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Fangen; Yang, Xiaoping

    2016-01-01

    Identifying provenance of aeolian deposits in the mid-latitude deserts of Asia is essential for understanding formation and changes of Earth surface processes due to palaeoclimatic fluctuations. While some earlier studies focused on the interpretation of palaeoenvironments on the basis of aeolian deposits mainly in the desert margins and inter-dune lacustrine sediments, research on provenance of desert sands in the vast Asian mid-latitude deserts is still rare. In this paper, we present new geochemical data which provide insight to the provenance of dune sands in the Badain Jaran Desert, northwestern China, an important part of this desert belt. We sampled aeolian and lacustrine sediments in various parts of the Badain Jaran Desert, and examined their major, trace and rare earth elements (REE) in bulk samples, coarse and fine fractions, respectively. In addition, we took and analyzed samples from a rarely known dune field with red sands, northeast of the Badain Jaran. Our results show that the sands from the Badain Jaran Desert are generally different from those in the red sand dune field in terms of REE pattern and geochemical characteristics, suggesting different sediment origins. Geochemical composition of the aeolian sand samples indicates these sediments should be mainly derived from mixed source rocks of granite, granitoids and granodiorite. Comparing the immobile trace elements and REE ratios of the samples from the Badain Jaran Desert, red sand dune field with rocks of granite, granitoids in their potential source areas, we conclude that: (1) The aeolian deposits in the Badain Jaran Desert are predominantly derived from the Qilian Mountains, northeastern Tibetan Plateau initially via fluvial processes; (2) The Altay Mountains and Mongolian Gobi are the ultimate source areas for the red sand dune field; (3) The Altai Mountains and Mongolian Gobi in the northwest, that could produce massive amounts of materials via intensive deflation and alluvial process

  20. Study on disturbance of engineering activities to eco-environment of the Gurbantunggut Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qian, Yibing; Lei, Jiaqiang; Wu, Zhaoning; Shi, Ping

    2003-07-01

    The Gurbantunggut Desert of Xinjiang is in temperate climate zone and its eco-environment is very fragile. With the exploitation and development of the oil-gas resources and the implementation of the desert highway and great engineering projects in the Gurbantunggut Desert the impact of human activities on the eco-environment has been increasingly significant. We compared the physical-chemical properties and vegetation community characteristics of Sandic Entisols from two artificial longitudinal dunes with a natural longitudinal dune in an area of engineering construction. Our results show that the depth of rainfall infiltration and soil moisture after rainfall for the artificial longitudinal dune, which lost vegetation (especially microbiological crust), is remarkably higher than the natural longitudinal dune and soil moisture on the artificial dune was subject to greater rates of evaporation. Salt concentration in the soil profile of the artificial dune is relatively uniform and reflects the homogenous environment that has resulted from mixing the soil. In comparison, Sandic Entisols usually show marked variation in salt content with depth, this was observed in the natural longitudinal dune. The nutrient levels of the natural longitudinal dune are higher than that of the artificial longitudinal dune, which is related to the distribution, density and health of the vegetation cover. After installing checkerboards to fix the artificial longitudinal dune, we found that ephemeral plants rapidly colonised the checkerboard environment. However, the re-establishment of shrub and semi-shrub plants required some rehabilitation measures, such as sowing seeds. Although the pioneering vegetation lacks the diversity of the natural vegetation, it creates beneficial conditions to establish additional plant species. Thus, it can be seen that the desert vegetation and the physical and chemical properties of Sandic Entisols are greatly affected by the disturbance caused by

  1. Water repellency and infiltration of biological soil crusts on an arid and a temperate dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, Thomas; Yair, Aaron; Geppert, Helmut; Veste, Maik

    2014-05-01

    properties of biological soil crusts on sand dunes studied by 13C-CP/MAS-NMR: a comparison between an arid and a temperate site. Catena 110:155-160 Breckle, S.-W, Yair, A., Veste, M. (eds.), Arid Dune Ecosystems - The Nizzana Sands in the Negev Desert, Ecological Studies 200, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York.

  2. Earthquakes in Stable Continental Crust.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnston, Arch C.; Kanter, Lisa R.

    1990-01-01

    Discussed are some of the reasons for earthquakes which occur in stable crust away from familiar zones at the ends of tectonic plates. Crust stability and the reactivation of old faults are described using examples from India and Australia. (CW)

  3. Earthquakes in Stable Continental Crust.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnston, Arch C.; Kanter, Lisa R.

    1990-01-01

    Discussed are some of the reasons for earthquakes which occur in stable crust away from familiar zones at the ends of tectonic plates. Crust stability and the reactivation of old faults are described using examples from India and Australia. (CW)

  4. Biogenic and anthropogenic organic components of Saharan sands.

    PubMed

    Balducci, Catia; Ladji, Riad; Muto, Valeria; Romagnoli, Paola; Yassaa, Nourredine; Cecinato, Angelo

    2014-07-01

    Till now, the Sahara desert sands have scarcely characterized for their organic contents, despite they are known to heavily affect Europe and America when transported by winds. In this study, the composition of sands collected in ten oasis lying in two regions of the Algerian Sahara during 2011 was investigated with regards to organic fraction. Attention was paid to anthropogenic and biogenic sources of organics associated to sands, through the characterization of n-alkanes, n-alkanoic and n-alkanedioic acids, n-alkanols, sterols, PAHs and caffeine. The organic fraction load on sands associable to natural sources was higher in the Region of Biskra than in that of Ouargla. The biogenic contribution to the total amount of organics in sands exceeded that of the anthropogenic sources. The composition of sands from Hassi Messaoud, compared to that observed there in 2006, showed that the anthropic impact over the region was not changed.

  5. Dasht-e Kevir (Great Salt Desert, Iran)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The Dasht-e Kevir, or Great Salt Desert, is the largest desert in Iran. It is primarily uninhabited wasteland, composed of mud and salt marshes covered with crusts of salt that protect the meager moisture from completely evaporating. This image was acquired by Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on October 24, 2000. This is a false-color composite image made using infrared, green, and red wavelengths. The image has also been sharpened using the sensor's panchromatic band. Image provided by the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch

  6. Geometeorological data collected by the USGS Desert Winds Project at Desert Wells, Sonoran Desert, central-west Arizona, 1981 - 1996

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Helm, Paula J.; Breed, Carol S.; Tigges, Richard; Creighton, Shawn

    1998-01-01

    The data in this report were obtained by instruments deployed on a GOES-satellite data collection station operated by the U.S. Geological Survey Desert Winds Project at Desert Wells (latitude 33° 42' 08" N, longitude 113° 48' 40" W), La Paz County, west-central Arizona. The elevation is 344 m (1,130 ft). From January 9, 1981 through May 31, 1995 the station recorded eight parameters: wind direction, wind speed, peak gust, air temperature, precipitation, humidity, barometric pressure, and soil temperature. On June 1, 1995, the station was upgraded by adding a SENSIT sand-flux sensor, which records grain impacts concurrently with wind speed and wind direction measurements. Included with the data is descriptive text on the geology, soils, climate, vegetation, and land use at the site, as well as text on data format, date retrieval software and instructions, and metadata

  7. Dust emissions from undisturbed and disturbed, crusted playa surfaces: cattle trampling effects

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Dry playa lake beds can be significant sources of fine dust emission. This study used a portable field wind tunnel to quantify the PM10 emissions from a bare, fine-textured playa surface located in the far northern Chihuahua Desert. The natural, undisturbed crust and its subjection to two levels of ...

  8. Monitoring of desert dune topography by multi angle sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yun, J.; Kim, J.; Choi, Y.; Yun, H.

    2011-12-01

    Nowadays, the sandy desert is rapidly expanding world widely and results in a lot of risks in the socio-econimical aspects as well as the anthropogenic activities. For example, the increasing occurrences of mineral dust storm which presumably originated from the sandy deserts in northwest China become a serious threat in human activities as well as public health over Far East Asian area as the interpretation by the MODIS analysis (Zhang et al., 2007) and the particle trajectory simulation with HYSPLYT (HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory) (Kim et al., 2011) identified. Since the sand dune activity has been recognized as an essential indicator of the progressive desertification, it is important to establish the monitoring method for the variations of topographic properties by the dune activities such as local roughness. Thus it will provide the crucial data about the extent and the transition of sandy desert. For example, it is well known the aerodynamic roughness lengths Zo which can be driven from the specialized sensor such as POLDER (POLarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances) is essential to understand desert dune characteristics. However, for the multi temporal observation of dune fields, the availability of data set to extract Zo is limited. Therefore, we employed MISR (Multi angle imaging Spectro Radiometer) image sequence to extract multi angle topographic parameters such as NDAI (Normalized Difference Angular Index) or the variation of radiance with the viewing geometry which are representing the characteristics of target desert topography instead of Zo. In our approach, NDAI were expanded to the all viewing angles and then compared over the target sandy desert and the surrounding land covers. It showed very strong consistencies according to the land cover type and especially over the dynamic dune fields. On the other hands, the variation of NDAIs of sandy desert combining with the metrological observations were

  9. Searching for Life in Death Valley (and Other Deserts) - Microchemical Investigations on Desert Varnish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andreae, M. O.; Al-Amri, A. M.; Jochum, K. P.; Kappl, M.; Kilcoyne, A. D.; Macholdt, D.; Müller, M.; Pöhlker, C.; Weber, B.; Weigand, M.

    2014-12-01

    Desert varnishes are thin, shiny, blackish to brown coatings frequently found on the surfaces of exposed rocks in deserts around the globe. They have been proposed as terrestrial analogues of superficial hematite enrichments observed on Mars. While the first scientific studies of such varnishes go back to Darwin and von Humboldt, and intensive studies by a variety of techniques have been conducted over the last few decades, their origin is still a matter of debate. Microscopic and molecular studies have shown the presence of fungi and bacteria, but it is still unclear whether they are involved in the formation of the varnish material or just opportunistic colonizers on available surfaces. We have analysed samples of desert varnish from sites in Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, the Negev of Israel, Central Saudi Arabia, and the Succulent Karoo by a variety of microanalytical techniques. Measurements by UV-femtosecond Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry show enrichments of manganese, iron, barium and other elements. Isotopic and trace chemical signatures show that these enriched elements cannot originate from the rocks that form the substrate on which the crusts have been deposited, but most likely are the result of (bio?)chemical transformation of windblown material. For a more detailed investigation of the internal structure of the crusts, we prepared ultra-thin sections (~100 nm) using focused ion beam slicing and analysed them by Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy with Near-Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure spectroscopy (STXM-NEXAFS). This technique revealed layered or chaotic structures consisting of alternating Mn and Fe-rich zones. Some of these layers are enriched in organic carbon with spectral features dominated by aromatic and carboxylate functionalities, indicating a biological origin of some of the crust material. Some crusts also show cavities that are lined with similar organic material. Since the age of these crusts is

  10. Dust Emissions from Undisturbed and Disturbed, Crusted Playa Surfaces: Cattle Trampling Effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zobeck, T. M.; Baddock, M. C.; van Pelt, R.; Fredrickson, E. L.

    2009-12-01

    Dry playa lake beds can be a significant source of fine dust emissions during high wind events in arid and semiarid landscapes. The physical and chemical properties of the playa surface control the amount and properties of the dust emitted. In this study, we use a field wind tunnel to quantify the dust emissions from a bare, fine-textured playa surface located in the Chihuahua Desert at the Jornada Experimental Range, near Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. We tested natural, undisturbed crusted surfaces and surfaces that had been subjected to two levels of domestic animal disturbance. The animal disturbance was provided by trampling produced from one and ten passes along the length of the wind tunnel by a 630 kg Angus-Hereford cross cow. The trampling broke the durable crust and created loose erodible material. Each treatment (natural crust, one pass, and ten passes) was replicated three times. A push-type wind tunnel with a 6 m long, 0.5 m wide, and 1 m high test section was used to generate dust emissions under controlled conditions. Clean medium sand was dropped onto the playa surface to act as an abrader material. The tunnel wind speed was equivalent to 15 m/s at a height of 2 m over a smooth soil surface. The tunnel was initially run for ten minutes, with no abrader added. A second 30 minute run was subsequently sampled as abrader was added to the wind stream. Dust and saltating material were collected using an isokinetic slot sampler at the end of the tunnel. Total airborne dust was collected on two 25 cm x 20 cm glass fiber filters (GFF) and measured using a GRIMM particle monitor every 6 sec throughout each test run. Disturbance by trampling generated increased saltating material and airborne dust. The amount of saltating material measured during the initial (no abrader added) run was approximately 70% greater and 5.8 times the amount of saltating material measured on the one pass and ten pass plots, respectively, compared with that observed on the undisturbed

  11. Neutron star crusts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lorenz, C. P.; Ravenhall, D. G.; Pethick, C. J.

    1993-01-01

    We calculate properties of neutron star matter at subnuclear densities using an improved nuclear Hamiltonian. Nuclei disappear and the matter becomes uniform at a density of about 0.6n(s), where n(s) of about 0.16/cu fm is the saturation density of nuclear matter. As a consequence, the mass of matter in the crusts of neutron stars is only about half as large as previously estimated. In about half of that crustal mass, nuclear matter occurs in shapes very different from the roughly spherical nuclei familiar at lower densities. The thinner crust and the unusual nuclear shape have important consequences for theories of the rotational and thermal evolution of neutron stars, especialy theories of glitches.

  12. Psoriasis or crusted scabies.

    PubMed

    Goyal, N N; Wong, G A

    2008-03-01

    We describe a case of a 67-year-old woman with a 1-year history of nail thickening and a non-itchy erythematous scaly eruption on the fingertips. She was diagnosed with psoriasis and started on methotrexate after having had no response to topical calcipotriol. The diagnosis was reviewed after it was revealed by another consultant that the patient's husband had been attending dermatology clinics for several years with chronic pruritus, which had been repeatedly thought to be due to scabies. Our patient was found to have crusted scabies after a positive skin scraping showed numerous mites. She was treated with topical permethrin, keratolytics and oral ivermectin. We also review the literature on crusted scabies and its management, with recommendations.

  13. [Nitrification of biological soil crusts and soil system during drought process and its response to temperature and moisture: A case study in the Shapotou region, Northwest China].

    PubMed

    Xu, Bing-xin; Chen, Yong-le; Hu, Yi-gang; Zhang, Zhi-shan; Li, Gang; Li, Meng-ru; Chen, Dong

    2015-04-01

    Two types of soil covered by biological soil crusts (BSCs) , i.e. moss and algae, and moving sand in the natural vegetation area at the southeast fringe of the Tengger Desert were collected intactly. They were incubated continuously for 20 days under two different temperatures (15 degrees C and 25 degrees C) and moistures (10% and 25%) condition in the laboratory, and soil NO3(-)-N contents were measured after 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 20 days of incubation and net nitrification rate was evaluated during dehydration. The results showed that NO3(-)-N content of the moss-covered soil (2.29 mg x kg(-1)) was higher than that of the algae-covered soil (1.84 mg x kg(-1)) and sand (1.59 mg x kg(-1)). Net nitrification rate of the three soil types ranged from -3.47 to 2.97 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1). For the moss-covered soil and algae-covered soil at 10% and 25% moisture levels, the net nitrification rates at 15 degrees C were 75.1%, 0.7% and 99.1%, 21.3% higher than those at 25 degrees C, respectively. Also, the net nitrification rates at 15 degrees C and 10% moisture levels were 193.4% and 107.3% higher than those at 25 degrees C and 25% moisture levels, respectively. The results suggested that regardless of soil moisture increasing or decreasing under the global warming senior, the net nitrification rate of BSCs-soil system in the desert would probably be limited to some extent during drought process.

  14. Analysis of Wind-blown Sand Movement over Transverse Dunes

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Hong; Huang, Ning; Zhu, Yuanjian

    2014-01-01

    Wind-blown sand movement often occurs in a very complicated desert environment where sand dunes and ripples are the basic forms. However, most current studies on the theoretic and numerical models of wind-blown sand movement only consider ideal conditions such as steady wind velocity, flat sand surface, etc. In fact, the windward slope gradient plays a great role in the lift-off and sand particle saltation. In this paper, we propose a numerical model for the coupling effect between wind flow and saltating sand particles to simulate wind-blown sand movement over the slope surface and use the SIMPLE algorithm to calculate wind flow and simulate sands transport by tracking sand particle trajectories. We furthermore compare the result of numerical simulation with wind tunnel experiments. These results prove that sand particles have obvious effect on wind flow, especially that over the leeward slope. This study is a preliminary study on windblown sand movement in a complex terrain, and is of significance in the control of dust storms and land desertification. PMID:25434372

  15. Analysis of wind-blown sand movement over transverse dunes.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Hong; Huang, Ning; Zhu, Yuanjian

    2014-12-01

    Wind-blown sand movement often occurs in a very complicated desert environment where sand dunes and ripples are the basic forms. However, most current studies on the theoretic and numerical models of wind-blown sand movement only consider ideal conditions such as steady wind velocity, flat sand surface, etc. In fact, the windward slope gradient plays a great role in the lift-off and sand particle saltation. In this paper, we propose a numerical model for the coupling effect between wind flow and saltating sand particles to simulate wind-blown sand movement over the slope surface and use the SIMPLE algorithm to calculate wind flow and simulate sands transport by tracking sand particle trajectories. We furthermore compare the result of numerical simulation with wind tunnel experiments. These results prove that sand particles have obvious effect on wind flow, especially that over the leeward slope. This study is a preliminary study on windblown sand movement in a complex terrain, and is of significance in the control of dust storms and land desertification.

  16. Analysis of Wind-blown Sand Movement over Transverse Dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiang, Hong; Huang, Ning; Zhu, Yuanjian

    2014-12-01

    Wind-blown sand movement often occurs in a very complicated desert environment where sand dunes and ripples are the basic forms. However, most current studies on the theoretic and numerical models of wind-blown sand movement only consider ideal conditions such as steady wind velocity, flat sand surface, etc. In fact, the windward slope gradient plays a great role in the lift-off and sand particle saltation. In this paper, we propose a numerical model for the coupling effect between wind flow and saltating sand particles to simulate wind-blown sand movement over the slope surface and use the SIMPLE algorithm to calculate wind flow and simulate sands transport by tracking sand particle trajectories. We furthermore compare the result of numerical simulation with wind tunnel experiments. These results prove that sand particles have obvious effect on wind flow, especially that over the leeward slope. This study is a preliminary study on windblown sand movement in a complex terrain, and is of significance in the control of dust storms and land desertification.

  17. Industrial sand and gravel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolley, T.P.

    2011-01-01

    Domestic production of industrial sand and gravel in 2010 was about 26.5 Mt (29.2 million st), a 6-percent increased from 2009. Certain end uses of industrial sand and gravel, such as sand for container glass, golf course sand, recreational sand, specialty glass and water filtration, showed increased demand in 2010.

  18. Reducing Sand Fly Numbers in Leishmania Endemic Regions in Kenya with Insecticide Treated Camouflage Screening

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Current US military operations in deserts face persistent threats from sand flies that transmit human Leishmania. Methods to reduce the risk of human infection from leishmaniasis by reducing the number of sand fly vectors were investigated in Kenya. Bifenthrin treated and un-treated camouflage netti...

  19. Microbial Characterization of Qatari Barchan Sand Dunes.

    PubMed

    Abdul Majid, Sara; Graw, Michael F; Chatziefthimiou, Aspassia D; Nguyen, Hanh; Richer, Renee; Louge, Michel; Sultan, Ali A; Schloss, Patrick; Hay, Anthony G

    This study represents the first characterization of sand microbiota in migrating barchan sand dunes. Bacterial communities were studied through direct counts and cultivation, as well as 16S rRNA gene and metagenomic sequence analysis to gain an understanding of microbial abundance, diversity, and potential metabolic capabilities. Direct on-grain cell counts gave an average of 5.3 ± 0.4 x 105 cells g-1 of sand. Cultured isolates (N = 64) selected for 16S rRNA gene sequencing belonged to the phyla Actinobacteria (58%), Firmicutes (27%) and Proteobacteria (15%). Deep-sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from 18 dunes demonstrated a high relative abundance of Proteobacteria, particularly enteric bacteria, and a dune-specific-pattern of bacterial community composition that correlated with dune size. Shotgun metagenome sequences of two representative dunes were analyzed and found to have similar relative bacterial abundance, though the relative abundances of eukaryotic, viral and enterobacterial sequences were greater in sand from the dune closer to a camel-pen. Functional analysis revealed patterns similar to those observed in desert soils; however, the increased relative abundance of genes encoding sporulation and dormancy are consistent with the dune microbiome being well-adapted to the exceptionally hyper-arid Qatari desert.

  20. Microbial Characterization of Qatari Barchan Sand Dunes

    PubMed Central

    Chatziefthimiou, Aspassia D.; Nguyen, Hanh; Richer, Renee; Louge, Michel; Sultan, Ali A.; Schloss, Patrick; Hay, Anthony G.

    2016-01-01

    This study represents the first characterization of sand microbiota in migrating barchan sand dunes. Bacterial communities were studied through direct counts and cultivation, as well as 16S rRNA gene and metagenomic sequence analysis to gain an understanding of microbial abundance, diversity, and potential metabolic capabilities. Direct on-grain cell counts gave an average of 5.3 ± 0.4 x 105 cells g-1 of sand. Cultured isolates (N = 64) selected for 16S rRNA gene sequencing belonged to the phyla Actinobacteria (58%), Firmicutes (27%) and Proteobacteria (15%). Deep-sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from 18 dunes demonstrated a high relative abundance of Proteobacteria, particularly enteric bacteria, and a dune-specific-pattern of bacterial community composition that correlated with dune size. Shotgun metagenome sequences of two representative dunes were analyzed and found to have similar relative bacterial abundance, though the relative abundances of eukaryotic, viral and enterobacterial sequences were greater in sand from the dune closer to a camel-pen. Functional analysis revealed patterns similar to those observed in desert soils; however, the increased relative abundance of genes encoding sporulation and dormancy are consistent with the dune microbiome being well-adapted to the exceptionally hyper-arid Qatari desert. PMID:27655399

  1. Cyanotoxins in desert environments may present a risk to human health.

    PubMed

    Metcalf, J S; Richer, R; Cox, P A; Codd, G A

    2012-04-01

    There have been few studies concerning cyanotoxins in desert environments, compared with the multitude of studies of cyanotoxins in aquatic environments. However, cyanobacteria are important primary producers in desert environments, where after seasonal rains they can grow rapidly both stabilising and fertilising arid habitats. Samples of cyanobacteria from wadis - dry, ephemeral river beds - and sabkha - supertidal salt flats - in Qatar were analysed for the presence of microcystins, nodularin, anatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin and anatoxin-a(S). Microcystins were detected by HPLC-PDA and ELISA at concentrations between 1.5 and 53.7ngg(-1) dry wt of crust. PCR products for the mycD gene for microcystin biosynthesis were detected after amplification of DNA from desert crust samples at two out of three sample sites. The presence of anatoxin-a(S) was also indicated by acetylcholine esterase inhibition assay. As a function of area of desert crust, microcystin concentrations were between 3 and 56μgm(-2). Based on the concentration of microcystins detected in crust, with reference to the published inhalation NOAEL and LOAEL values via nasal spray inhalation of purified microcystin-LR in aqueous solution, and the amount of dust potentially inhaled by a person from these dried crusts, the dose of microcystins could exceed a calculated TDI value of 1-2ngkg(-1)day(-1) for an average adult. The presence of microcystins, and potentially of anatoxin-a(S), in desert crusts has important implications for human health. Further studies are required to monitor desert dust storms for the presence of cyanotoxins. An understanding of the risks of inhaling particles containing cyanotoxins is also warranted.

  2. Tar sand

    SciTech Connect

    McLendon, T.R.; Bartke, T.C.

    1990-01-01

    Research on tar sand is briefly discussed. The research program supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) includes a variety of surface extraction schemes. The University of Utah has process development units (PDU) employing fluidized bed, hot, water-assisted, and fluidized-bed/heat-pipe, coupled combustor technology. Considerable process variable test data have been gathered on these systems: (1) a rotary kiln unit has been built recently; (2) solvent extraction processing is being examined; and (3) an advanced hydrogenation upgrading scheme (hydropyrolysis) has been developed. The University of Arkansas, in collaboration with Diversified Petroleum, Inc., has been working on a fatty acid, solvent extraction process. Oleic acid is the solvent/surfactant. Solvent is recovered by adjusting processing fluid concentrations to separate without expensive operations. Western Research Institute has a PDU-scale scheme called the Recycle Oil Pyrolysis and Extraction (ROPE) process, which combines solvent (hot recycle bitumen) and pyrolytic extraction. 14 refs., 19 figs.

  3. Combating wind erosion of sandy soils and crop damage in the coastal deserts: Wind tunnel experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Genis, Arthur; Vulfson, Leonid; Ben-Asher, Jiftah

    2013-06-01

    In the western Negev desert of Israel frequent sandstorms cause heavy damage to young lettuce, carrot, peanut and potato plants during the planting season. The damage of plants is based mainly on the mechanical impact of saltating sand particles, which causes irreversible injuries to the plant leaves. Current agro-technique measures taken to prevent wind damage to crop in Israel are based on high frequency irrigation. Although the high-frequency irrigation helps bind soil particles together by forming a soil crust, it is associated with the large waste of water, which is not practical under the arid conditions. Application of polyacrylamide (PAM) as a chemical stabilizer has proved to be effective for prevention of soil erosion, saving irrigation water and a stable growth of plants in the early stages. Although the technique of PAM application is not yet used commercially in Israel, the preliminary studies suggested that it might have the potential to reduce the damage to the plant leaves by sandstorms, providing both environmental and agricultural benefits. In this study the effectiveness of PAM for preventing sandstorms in the western Negev was also investigated. Optimal concentration and volume of PAM solution per hectare of bare sandy soil were determined. For this purpose a wind tunnel was used to determine wind velocities of the first and continuous detachment of particles. The ability of PAM application to minimize the damage of plants by sandstorms was experimentally verified using image analysis tools.

  4. Transcriptomic analysis of a psammophyte food crop, sand rice (Agriophyllum squarrosum) and identification of candidate genes essential for sand dune adaptation.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Pengshan; Capella-Gutiérrez, Salvador; Shi, Yong; Zhao, Xin; Chen, Guoxiong; Gabaldón, Toni; Ma, Xiao-Fei

    2014-10-07

    Sand rice (Agriophyllum squarrosum) is an annual desert plant adapted to mobile sand dunes in arid and semi-arid regions of Central Asia. The sand rice seeds have excellent nutrition value and have been historically consumed by local populations in the desert regions of northwest China. Sand rice is a potential food crop resilient to ongoing climate change; however, partly due to the scarcity of genetic information, this species has undergone only little agronomic modifications through classical breeding during recent years. We generated a deep transcriptomic sequencing of sand rice, which uncovers 67,741 unigenes. Phylogenetic analysis based on 221 single-copy genes showed close relationship between sand rice and the recently domesticated crop sugar beet. Transcriptomic comparisons also showed a high level of global sequence conservation between these two species. Conservation of sand rice and sugar beet orthologs assigned to response to salt stress gene ontology term suggests that sand rice is also a potential salt tolerant plant. Furthermore, sand rice is far more tolerant to high temperature. A set of genes likely relevant for resistance to heat stress, was functionally annotated according to expression levels, sequence annotation, and comparisons corresponding transcriptome profiling results in Arabidopsis. The present work provides abundant genomic information for functional dissection of the important traits in sand rice. Future screening the genetic variation among different ecotypes and constructing a draft genome sequence will further facilitate agronomic trait improvement and final domestication of sand rice.

  5. Variation of bee communities on a sand dune complex in the Great Basin: Implications for sand dune conservation

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Sand dunes across the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts house rich bee communities. The pollination services these bees provide can be vital in maintaining the diverse, and often endemic, dune flora. These dune environments, however, are threatened by intense off-highway vehicle (OHV) use. Conservati...

  6. Biological soil crust formation under artificial vegetation effect and its properties in the Mugetan sandy land, northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Y. F.; Li, Z. W.; Jia, Y. H.; Zhang, K.

    2016-08-01

    Mugetan sandy land is an inland desertification area of about 2,065 km2 in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. In the ecological restoration region of the Mugetan sandy land, different crusts have formed under the action of vegetation in three types of sandy soil (i.e. semi-fixed sand dune, fixed sand dune and ancient fixed aeolian sandy soil). The surface sand particle distribution, mineral component and vegetation composition of moving sand dunes and three types of sandy soil were studied in 2010-2014 to analyze the biological crust formation properties in the Mugetan sandy land and the effects of artificial vegetation. Results from this study revealed that artificial vegetation increases the clay content and encourages the development of biological curst. The fine particles (i.e. clay and humus) of the surface layer of the sand dunes increased more than 15% ten years after the artificial vegetation planting, and further increased up to 20% after one hundred years. The interaction of clay, humus, and other fine particles formed the soil aggregate structure. Meanwhile, under the vegetation effect from the microbes, algae, and moss, the sand particles stuck together and a biological crust formed. The interconnection of the partial crusts caused the sand dunes to gradually be fixed as a whole. Maintaining the integrity of the biological crust plays a vital role in fixing the sand under the crust. The precipitation and temperature conditions in the Mugetan sandy land could satisfy the demand of biological crust formation and development. If rational vegetation measures are adopted in the region with moving sand dunes, the lichen-moss-algae biological curst will form after ten years, but it still takes more time for the sand dunes to reach the nutrient enrichment state. If the biological curst is partly broken due to human activities, reasonable closure and restoration measures can shorten the restoration time of the biological crust.

  7. Operational Aspects of Desert Shield and Desert Storm

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-03-12

    Battalion (MIB), 3d Armored Division leading up to and during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. This paper represents the personal assessment of the author...DESERT SHIELD A$DDESERT STORM ...J BY Lieutenant Colonel Henry C. Shirah United States Army DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A: Approved for public release...Classification) OPERATIONAL ASPECTS OF DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM 12. PERSONAL AUTHOR(S) 13a. TYPE OF REPORT 13b. TIME COVERED 14. DATE OF REPORT (Year

  8. Aleutian basin oceanic crust

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Christeson, Gail L.; Barth, Ginger A.

    2015-01-01

    We present two-dimensional P-wave velocity structure along two wide-angle ocean bottom seismometer profiles from the Aleutian basin in the Bering Sea. The basement here is commonly considered to be trapped oceanic crust, yet there is a change in orientation of magnetic lineations and gravity features within the basin that might reflect later processes. Line 1 extends ∼225 km from southwest to northeast, while Line 2 extends ∼225 km from northwest to southeast and crosses the observed change in magnetic lineation orientation. Velocities of the sediment layer increase from 2.0 km/s at the seafloor to 3.0–3.4 km/s just above basement, crustal velocities increase from 5.1–5.6 km/s at the top of basement to 7.0–7.1 km/s at the base of the crust, and upper mantle velocities are 8.1–8.2 km/s. Average sediment thickness is 3.8–3.9 km for both profiles. Crustal thickness varies from 6.2 to 9.6 km, with average thickness of 7.2 km on Line 1 and 8.8 km on Line 2. There is no clear change in crustal structure associated with a change in orientation of magnetic lineations and gravity features. The velocity structure is consistent with that of normal or thickened oceanic crust. The observed increase in crustal thickness from west to east is interpreted as reflecting an increase in melt supply during crustal formation.

  9. Evolution of the continental crust.

    PubMed

    Hawkesworth, C J; Kemp, A I S

    2006-10-19

    The continental crust covers nearly a third of the Earth's surface. It is buoyant--being less dense than the crust under the surrounding oceans--and is compositionally evolved, dominating the Earth's budget for those elements that preferentially partition into silicate liquid during mantle melting. Models for the differentiation of the continental crust can provide insights into how and when it was formed, and can be used to show that the composition of the basaltic protolith to the continental crust is similar to that of the average lower crust. From the late Archaean to late Proterozoic eras (some 3-1 billion years ago), much of the continental crust appears to have been generated in pulses of relatively rapid growth. Reconciling the sedimentary and igneous records for crustal evolution indicates that it may take up to one billion years for new crust to dominate the sedimentary record. Combining models for the differentiation of the crust and the residence time of elements in the upper crust indicates that the average rate of crust formation is some 2-3 times higher than most previous estimates.

  10. [Crusted scabies: A review].

    PubMed

    Jouret, G; Bounemeur, R; Presle, A; Takin, R

    2016-04-01

    Crusted scabies is a rare and severe form of infestation by Sarcoptes scabies var. hominis. It is characterized by profuse hyperkeratosis containing over 4000 mites per gram of skin, with treatment being long and difficult. The condition is both direct and indirectly contagious. It has a central role in epidemic cycles of scabies, the incidence of which is on the rise in economically stable countries. Recent discoveries concerning the biology of mites, the pathophysiology of hyperkeratosis and the key role of IL-17 in this severe form open up new therapeutic perspectives. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  11. Sand, Syrup and Supervolcanoes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennedy, B.; Jellinek, M.; Stix, J.

    2006-12-01

    Supervolcanic eruptions are amongst the most awesome events in the history of the Earth. A supervolcano can erupt thousands of cubic kilometers of ash devastating entire countries and changing the climate for decades. During the eruption, the magma chamber partially empties and collapses. As the chamber collapses at depth, a massive subsidence pit develops at the surface, called a caldera, some calderas can be the size of the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Fortunately, a supervolcano of this size has not erupted since the development of modern man. Due to the infrequency and massive scale of these eruptions, volcanologists do not yet fully understand how calderas form and how the eruption is affected by the roof collapse and vice versa. Therefore, simple analogue experiments are amongst the best ways to understand these eruptions. We present two of these experiments that can be fun, cheap, and helpful to high school and university instructors to demonstrate caldera formation. The first experiment illustrates how magma chamber roofs collapse to produce different style calderas, the second experiment demonstrates how the magma in the chamber affects the collapse style and magma mixing during a supervolcanic eruption. The collapse of a magma chamber can be demonstrated in a simple sandbox containing a buried balloon filled with air connected to a tube that leads out of the sandbox. At this small scale the buried balloon is a good analogue for a magma chamber and sand has an appropriate strength to represent the earths crust. Faults propagate through the sand in a similar way to faults propagating through the crust on a larger scale. To form a caldera just let the air erupt out of the balloon. This experiment can be used to investigate what controls the shape and structure of calderas. Different shaped balloons, and different burial depths all produce sand calderas with different sizes and structures. Additionally, experiments can be done that erupt only part of the

  12. Mineral compositions and sources of the riverbed sediment in the desert channel of Yellow River.

    PubMed

    Jia, Xiaopeng; Wang, Haibing

    2011-02-01

    The Yellow River flows through an extensive, aeolian desert area and extends from Xiaheyan, Ningxia Province, to Toudaoguai, Inner Mongolia Province, with a total length of 1,000 km. Due to the construction and operation of large reservoirs in the upstream of the Yellow River, most water and sediment from upstream were stored in these reservoirs, which leads to the declining flow in the desert channel that has no capability to scour large amount of input of desert sands from the desert regions. By analyzing and comparing the spatial distribution of weight percent of mineral compositions between sediment sources and riverbed sediment of the main tributaries and the desert channel of the Yellow River, we concluded that the coarse sediment deposited in the desert channel of the Yellow River were mostly controlled by the local sediment sources. The analyzed results of the Quartz-Feldspar-Mica (QFM) triangular diagram and the R-factor models of the coarse sediment in the Gansu reach and the desert channel of the Yellow River further confirm that the Ningxia Hedong desert and the Inner Mongolian Wulanbuhe and Kubuqi deserts are the main provenances of the coarse sediment in the desert channel of the Yellow River. Due to the higher fluidity of the fine sediment, they are mainly contributed by the local sediment sources and the tributaries that originated from the loess area of the upper reach of the Yellow River.

  13. Microtopography of manganese crusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, Charles L.

    Quantitative examination of the seafloor surface roughness will be necessary for any design of equipment intended for use in collecting surface deposits such as cobalt-rich manganese crusts or nodules. Furthermore, it is an essential prerequisite to the confident interpretation of returns from high frequency side-scan and other acoustic systems. The objectives of the project were to develop the capability at the University of Hawaii of generating high resolution (less than 1 cm horizontal and vertical) topographic models of the seafloor from 35 mm stereo photographs; to produce such models from existing photographs of cobalt-rich manganese crust deposits; and to optimize the configuration of the existing Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) camera system for stereo photograph collection and correlation of acoustic data with the photographic ground-truth. These tasks were accomplished and have also led to the development of a follow-on project (MMTC/OBD Project 1512) dedicated to the simultaneous acquisition of both optical and side-scan acoustic data for future accurate determination of seabed microtopography.

  14. Spatial and temporal distribution of cyanobacterial soil crusts in the Kalahari: Implications for soil surface properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, A. D.; Dougill, A. J.

    2007-03-01

    Localised patterns of erosion and deposition in vegetated semi-arid rangelands have been shown to influence ecological change and biogeochemical cycles. In the flat, vegetated Kalahari rangelands of Southern Africa the factors regulating erodibility of the fine sand soils and the erosivity of wind regimes require further investigation. This paper reports on the spatial and temporal patterns of cyanobacterial soil crust cover from ten sites at five sampling locations in the semi-arid Kalahari and discusses the likely impact on factors regulating surface erodibility and erosivity. Cyanobacterial soil crust cover on Kalahari Sand varied between 11% and 95% of the ground surface and was higher than previously reported. Cover was inversely related to grazing with the lowest crust cover found close to boreholes and the highest in the Game Reserve and Wildlife Management Zone. In grazed areas, crusts form under the protective canopies of the thorny shrub Acacia mellifera. Fenced plot data showed that crusts recover quickly from disturbance, with a near complete surface crust cover forming within 15 months of disturbance. Crust development is restricted by burial by wind blown sediment and by raindrop impact. Crusts had significantly greater organic matter and total nitrogen compared to unconsolidated surfaces. Crusts also significantly increased the compressive strength of the surface (and thus decreased erodibility) and changed the surface roughness. Establishing exactly how these changes affect aeolian erosion requires further process-based studies. The proportion of shear velocity acting on the surface in this complex mixed bush-grass-crust environment will be the key to understanding how crusts affect erodibility.

  15. Photosynthetic recovery following desiccation of desert green algae (Chlorophyta) and their aquatic relatives.

    PubMed

    Gray, Dennis W; Lewis, Louise A; Cardon, Zoe G

    2007-10-01

    Recent molecular data suggest that desert green algae have evolved from freshwater ancestors at least 14 times in three major classes (Chlorophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae and Charophyceae), offering a unique opportunity to study the adaptation of photosynthetic organisms to life on land in a comparative phylogenetic framework. We examined the photorecovery of phylogenetically matched desert and aquatic algae after desiccation in darkness and under illumination. Desert algae survived desiccation for at least 4 weeks when dried in darkness, and recovered high levels of photosynthetic quantum yield within 1 h of rehydration in darkness. However, when 4 weeks of desiccation was accompanied by illumination, three of six desert taxa lost their ability to recover quantum yield during rehydration in the dark. Aquatic algae, in contrast, recovered very little during dark rehydration following even just 24 h of desiccation. Re-illuminating rehydrated algae produced a nearly complete recovery of quantum yield in all desert and two of five aquatic taxa. These contrasts provide physiological evidence that desert green algae possess mechanisms for photosynthetic recovery after desiccation distinct from those in aquatic relatives, corroborating molecular evidence that they are not happenstance, short-term visitors from aquatic environments. Photosensitivity during desiccation among desert algae further suggests that they may reside in protected microsites within crusts, and species specificity of photosensitivity suggests that disturbances physically disrupting crusts could lead to shifts or losses of taxonomic diversity within these habitats.

  16. Industrial sand and gravel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolley, T.P.

    2012-01-01

    Domestic production of industrial sand and gravel in 2011 was about 30 Mt (33 million st), increasing slightly compared with 2010. Some important end uses for industrial sand and gravel include abrasives, filtration, foundry, glassmaking, hydraulic fracturing sand (frac sand) and silicon metal applications.

  17. Industrial sand and gravel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolley, T.P.

    2013-01-01

    Domestic production of industrial sand and gravel in 2012 was about 49.5 Mt (55 million st), increasing 13 percent compared with that of 2011. Some important end uses for industrial sand and gravel include abrasives, filtration, foundry, glassmaking, hydraulic fracturing sand (frac sand) and silicon metal applications.

  18. Sudan challenges the sand dragon.

    PubMed

    Tinker, J

    1978-01-01

    Formerly productive areas have become wasteland as the desert advances in the Sudan. To understand how desertification is undermining the very survival of the Sahel, one ecosystem is reviewed in detail here: the gum arabic zone of Kordofan. After cotton, gum arabic is Sudan's largest export, worth from $14-26 million in recent years. In this zone the ecologically balanced cycle of gum gardens, fire, grain crops, and fallow is now breaking down; the 1968-1973 drought having in many areas delivered the final blow. Because of a growing population, the cultivation period is extended, and the soil becomes impoverished. Overgrazing in the fallow period, and the lopping of gum trees for firewood is producing a low return on the gum trees. Without this gum to harvest for cash, farmers must repeatedly replant their subsistence crops until the land becomes useless sand. The Sudanese have recognized the problem earlier than most, and a number of imaginative and practicable pilot projects are already in use: 1) waterpoint management; 2) construction of firebreaks; 3) land threatened by shifting dunes has been enclosed by stockproof fence and afforested with local trees; and 4) shelter belts have been planted around town perimeters where old gum tree stumps have started to sprout and the grass is reseeding itself. Out of these pilot projects, and with the advice of the U.N. Environment Program, the U.N. Development Program, and FAO, the Sudanese have developed a modest $26 million desert encroachment control and rehabilitation program (DECARP).

  19. What is Desert RATS?

    NASA Image and Video Library

    The mission manager and test coordinators for the 2011 mission explain why Desert RATS was started 14 years ago, questions being studied in this year's activities, technologies being tested and the...

  20. Wet sand flows better than dry sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Wet sand that does not contain too much water is known to be stiff enough to build sand castles or in physical words has a significant yield stress. However, we could recently show that there are quite a few conditions under which such wet sand opposes less resistant to flow than its dry counterpart. This effect might have been already known to the old Egyptians: The Ancient painting of El Bersheh at the tomb of Tehutihetep shows that there was liquid poured in front of the sledge that was used to transport heavy weight stones and statues. While archeologist have attributed this to a sacral ceremony, our data clearly show that wetting the sand ground drastically decreases the effective sliding friction coefficient. We first study the stress-strain behavior of sand with and without small amounts of liquid under steady and oscillatory shear. Using a technique to quasistatically push the sand through a tube with an enforced parabolic (Poiseuille-like) profile, we minimize the effect of avalanches and shear localization. We observe that the resistance against deformation of the wet (partially saturated) sand is much smaller than that of the dry sand, and that the latter dissipates more energy under flow. Second we show experimentally that the sliding friction on sand is greatly reduced by the addition of some--but not too much--water. The formation of capillary water bridges increases the shear modulus of the sand, which facilitates the sliding.

  1. Dust emissions from undisturbed and disturbed, crusted playa surfaces: Cattle trampling effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baddock, Matthew C.; Zobeck, Ted M.; Van Pelt, R. Scott; Fredrickson, Ed L.

    2011-06-01

    Dry playa lake beds can be significant sources of fine dust emission. This study used a portable field wind tunnel to quantify the PM 10 emissions from a bare, fine-textured playa surface located in the far northern Chihuahua Desert. The natural, undisturbed crust and its subjection to two levels of animal disturbance (one and ten cow passes) were tested. The wind tunnel generated dust emissions under controlled conditions for firstly an initial blow-off of the surface, followed by two longer runs with sand added to the flow as an abrader material. Dust was measured using a GRIMM particle monitor. For the study playa, no significant differences in PM 10 concentration and emission flux were found between the untrampled surface and following a single animal pass. This was the case for both the initial blow-offs and tests on plots under a steady abrader rate. Significantly higher dust loading was only associated with the effect of 10 animal passes. In the blow-offs, the higher PM 10 yield after 10 passes reflected the greater availability of easily entrainable fine particles. Under abrasion, the effect of the heaviest trampling increased the emission flux by a third and abrasion efficiency by around 50% more than values on the untrampled surface. This enhanced abrasion efficiency persisted for a 30 min period under abrasion before the positive effect of the disturbance was no longer evident. The findings highlight the role of a threshold of disturbance that determines if supply-limited surfaces will exhibit enhanced wind erosion or not after undergoing perturbation.

  2. Influence of Disturbance on Soil Respiration in Biologically Crusted Soil during the Dry Season

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Wei; Zhang, Yu-qing; Wu, Bin; Zha, Tian-shan; Jia, Xin; Qin, Shu-gao; Shao, Chen-xi; Liu, Jia-bin; Lai, Zong-rui; Fa, Ke-yu

    2013-01-01

    Soil respiration (Rs) is a major pathway for carbon cycling and is a complex process involving abiotic and biotic factors. Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. In desert ecosystems, soils are protected from surface disturbance by BSCs, but it is unknown whether Rs is affected by disturbance of this crust layer. We measured Rs in three types of disturbed and undisturbed crusted soils (algae, lichen, and moss), as well as bare land from April to August, 2010, in Mu Us desert, northwest China. Rs was similar among undisturbed soils but increased significantly in disturbed moss and algae crusted soils. The variation of Rs in undisturbed and disturbed soil was related to soil bulk density. Disturbance also led to changes in soil organic carbon and fine particles contents, including declines of 60–70% in surface soil C and N, relative to predisturbance values. Once BSCs were disturbed, Q10 increased. Our findings indicate that a loss of BSCs cover will lead to greater soil C loss through respiration. Given these results, understanding the disturbance sensitivity impact on Rs could be helpful to modify soil management practices which promote carbon sequestration. PMID:24453845

  3. Nelson's big horn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) trample Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) burrow at a California wind energy facility

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Agha, Mickey; Delaney, David F.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Price, Steven J.

    2015-01-01

    Research on interactions between Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and ungulates has focused exclusively on the effects of livestock grazing on tortoises and their habitat (Oldemeyer, 1994). For example, during a 1980 study in San Bernardino County, California, 164 desert tortoise burrows were assessed for vulnerability to trampling by domestic sheep (Ovis aries). Herds of grazing sheep damaged 10% and destroyed 4% of the burrows (Nicholson and Humphreys 1981). In addition, a juvenile desert tortoise was trapped and an adult male was blocked from entering a burrow due to trampling by domestic sheep. Another study found that domestic cattle (Bos taurus) trampled active desert tortoise burrows and vegetation surrounding burrows (Avery and Neibergs 1997). Trampling also has negative impacts on diversity of vegetation and intershrub soil crusts in the desert southwest (Webb and Stielstra 1979). Trampling of important food plants and overgrazing has the potential to create competition between desert tortoises and domestic livestock (Berry 1978; Coombs 1979; Webb and Stielstra 1979).

  4. Lizard locomotion on weak sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goldman, Daniel

    2005-03-01

    Terrestrial animal locomotion in the natural world can involve complex foot-ground interaction; for example, running on sand probes the solid and fluid behaviors of the medium. We study locomotion of desert-dwelling lizard Callisaurus draconoides (length 16 cm, mass=20 g) during rapid running on sand. To explore the role of foot-ground interaction on locomotion, we study the impact of flat disks ( 2 cm diameter, 10 grams) into a deep (800 particle diameters) bed of 250 μm glass spheres of fixed volume fraction φ 0.59, and use a vertical flow of air (a fluidized bed) to change the material properties of the medium. A constant flow Q below the onset of bed fluidization weakens the solid: at fixed φ the penetration depth and time of a disk increases with increasing Q. We measure the average speed, foot impact depth, and foot contact time as a function of material strength. The animal maintains constant penetration time (30 msec) and high speed (1.4 m/sec) even when foot penetration depth varies as we manipulate material strength. The animals compensate for decreasing propulsion by increasing stride frequency.

  5. Continental crust: a geophysical approach

    SciTech Connect

    Meissner, R.

    1986-01-01

    This book develops an integrated and balanced picture of present knowledge of the continental crust. Crust and lithosphere are first defined, and the formation of crusts as a general planetary phenomenon is described. The background and methods of geophysical studies of the earth's crust and the collection of related geophysical parameters are examined. Creep and friction experiments and the various methods of radiometric age dating are addressed, and geophysical and geological investigations of the crustal structure in various age provinces of the continents are studied. Specific tectonic structures such as rifts, continental margins, and geothermal areas are discussed. Finally, an attempt is made to give a comprehensive view of the evolution of the continental crust and to collect and develop arguments for crustal accretion and recycling. 647 references.

  6. Erosion resistance of bionic functional surfaces inspired from desert scorpions.

    PubMed

    Zhiwu, Han; Junqiu, Zhang; Chao, Ge; Li, Wen; Ren, Luquan

    2012-02-07

    In this paper, a bionic method is presented to improve the erosion resistance of machine components. Desert scorpion (Androctonus australis) is a typical animal living in sandy deserts, and may face erosive action of blowing sand at a high speed. Based on the idea of bionics and biologic experimental techniques, the mechanisms of the sand erosion resistance of desert scorpion were investigated. Results showed that the desert scorpions used special microtextures such as bumps and grooves to construct the functional surfaces to achieve the erosion resistance. In order to understand the erosion resistance mechanisms of such functional surfaces, the combination of computational and experimental research were carried out in this paper. The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method was applied to predict the erosion performance of the bionic functional surfaces. The result demonstrated that the microtextured surfaces exhibited better erosion resistance than the smooth surfaces. The further erosion tests indicated that the groove surfaces exhibited better erosion performance at 30° injection angle. In order to determine the effect of the groove dimensions on the erosion resistance, regression analysis of orthogonal multinomials was also performed under a certain erosion condition, and the regression equation between the erosion rate and groove distance, width, and height was established.

  7. Habitability Of Europa's Crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenberg, R.; Tufts, B. R.; Geissler, P.; Hoppa, G.

    Physical characterization of Europa's crust shows it to be rich in potentially habitable niches, with several timescales for change that would allow stability for organisms to prosper and still require and drive evolution and adaptation. Studies of tectonics on Europa indicate that tidal stress causes much of the surface cracking, that cracks pen- etrate through to liquid water (so the ice must be thin), and that cracks continue to be worked by tidal stress. Thus a global ocean is (or was until recently) well linked to the surface. Daily tidal flow (period~days) transports substances up and down through the active cracks, mixing surface oxidants and fuels (cometary material) with the oceanic reservoir of endogenic and exogenic substances. Organisms moving with the flow or anchored to the walls could exploit the disequilibrium chemistry, and those within a few meters of the surface could photosynthesize. Cracks remain active for at least ~10,000 yr, but deactivate as nonsynchronous rotation moves them to different stress regimes in less than a million yr. Thus, to survive, organisms squeezed into the ocean must migrate to new cracks, and those frozen in place must hibernate. Most sites remelt and would release captive organisms within about a million yr based on the prevalence of chaotic terrain, which covers nearly half of Europa. Linkage of the ocean to the surface also could help sustain life in the ocean by delivering oxidants and fuels. Suboceanic volcanism (if any) could provide additional sites and support for life, but is not necessary. Recent results support this model. We further constrain the non-synchronous rotation rate, demonstrate the plausibility of episodic melt-through, show that characteristics of pits and uplift features do not imply thick ice, and demonstrate polar wander, i.e. that the ice crust is detached from the solid interior and has slipped as a unit relative to the spin axis. Thus Europa's biosphere (habitable if not inhabited) likely

  8. Declines in a ground-dwelling arthropod community during an invasion by Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii) in aeolian sand habitats

    Treesearch

    Heather L. Hulton VanTassel; Anne M. Hansen; Cameron W. Barrows; Quresh Latif; Margaret W. Simon; Kurt E. Anderson

    2014-01-01

    Sahara Mustard (Brassica tournefortii; hereafter mustard), an exotic plant species, has invaded habitats throughout the arid southwestern United States. Mustard has reached high densities across aeolian sand habitats of southwestern deserts, including five distinct sand habitats in the eastern Coachella Valley, California. We examined trends in ground-dwelling...

  9. Characteristics of moisture and salinity of soil in Taklimakan Desert, China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhimin; Li, Guomin; Li, Xue; Shan, Shuo; Zhang, Jiangyi; Li, Shengyu; Fan, Jinglong

    2012-01-01

    The Taklimakan desert is known as the largest dunefield in China and also as the world's second largest shifting sand desert. The Tarim Desert Highway, which is the first highway to cross the Taklimakan desert, was built for the purpose of oil and gas resources extraction in the Tarim area, as well as for the development of the southern area of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Shelterbelts have been planted along the highway to prevent shifting sand from burying the road. This paper analyzes the variations of moisture and salinity of the unirrigated desert soil under natural conditions in the center of Taklimakan Desert. A number of important findings indicating the moisture and salinity of the soil at capillary saturation zone were determined by the groundwater and related to the evaporation on the top. Salinity could be affected by vegetation, which was different from moisture in the soil. Meanwhile, clay layer played an important role in water preservation in the soil, which was also beneficial to the accumulation of salinity in soil. Compared with clay layer, vegetation was a decisive factor for the gathering of salinity. The findings were significant for reasonable adjustment of irrigation in the shelterbelts for the further development of the Tarim Desert Highway.

  10. Impacts of biological soil crust disturbance and composition on C and N loss from water erosion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barger, N.N.; Herrick, J.E.; Van Zee, J.; Belnap, J.

    2006-01-01

    In this study, we conducted rainfall simulation experiments in a cool desert ecosystem to examine the role of biological soil crust disturbance and composition on dissolved and sediment C and N losses. We compared runoff and sediment C and N losses from intact late-successional dark cyanolichen crusts (intact) to both trampled dark crusts (trampled) and dark crusts where the top 1 cm of the soil surface was removed (scraped). In a second experiment, we compared C and N losses in runoff and sediments in early-successional light cyanobacterial crusts (light) to that of intact late-successional dark cyanolichen crusts (dark). A relatively high rainfall intensity of approximately 38 mm per 10-min period was used to ensure that at least some runoff was generated from all plots. Losses of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), and ammonium (NH 4+ ) were significantly higher from trampled plots as compared to scraped and intact plots. Sediment C and N losses, which made up more than 98% of total nutrient losses in all treatments, were more than 4-fold higher from trampled plots relative to intact plots (sediment C g/m2, intact = 0.74, trampled = 3.47; sediment N g/m2, intact = 0.06, trampled = 0.28). In light crusts, DOC loss was higher relative to dark crusts, but no differences were observed in dissolved N. Higher sediment loss in light crusts relative to dark crusts resulted in 5-fold higher loss of sediment-bound C and N. Total C flux (sediment + dissolved) was on the order of 0.9 and 7.9 g/m2 for dark and light crusts, respectively. Sediment N concentration in the first minutes after runoff from light crusts was 3-fold higher than the percent N of the top 1 cm of soil, suggesting that even short-term runoff events may have a high potential for N loss due to the movement of sediments highly enriched in N. Total N loss from dark crusts was an order of magnitude lower than light crusts (dark = 0.06 g N/m2, light = 0.63 g/m2). Overall, our

  11. Desert Shield/Storm Logistics

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1993-04-15

    Wc This document may not be retee for open publiarion until it has bm deaed by the Vproprnite military service or gmeanen agency. DESERT SHIELD /STORM...capture what had occurred during Operations DESERT SHIELD and STORM, the commanders of the Division Support Command of the 24th Infantry Division...Mechanized) held a ful. day of discussion centering on what occurted during Operation DESERT STORM and its preceding operation, DESERT SHIELD . The entire

  12. Gopherus agassizii: Desert tortoise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berry, Kristen H.; Swingland, Ian Richard; Klemens, Michael W.

    1989-01-01

    The desert tortoise is one of four allopatric North American tortoises. It occurs in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico.Auffenberg (1976) divided the genus Gopherus (consisting of four species, G. agassizi, G. berlandieri, G.flavomarginatus, and G. polyphemus) in two osteological groups. Bramble (1982), using morphological and palaeontological data, divided the genus Gopherus into two separate complexes, each with two species. He established a new genus, Scaptochelys, for agassizi and berlandieri, retaining Gopherus for polyphemus and flavomarginatus. Bour and Dubois (1984) noted that Xerobates Agassiz had priority over Scaptochelys Bramble. Using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Lamb et al. (1989) evaluated the evolutionary relationships of the North American tortoises, particularly the desert tortoise. They concluded that the mtDNA analysis provides strong support for generic recognition of the two distinct species groups described by Bramble (1982).Until a few decades ago, the desert tortoise was widespread at lower elevations throughout the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the U.S.A. In the northern and western parts of the geographic range, large and relatively homogeneous populations with densities exceeding 1,000/sq km extended throughout parts of California, and probably into Nevada and Utah. In terms of biomass, the tortoise played an important role in the ecosystems. In most areas, numbers have declined dramatically and the extent of populations has been reduced. Most populations are now isolated and low in numbers. Conservation of the desert tortoise is a highly visible and political issue in the U.S.A., but not in Mexico.

  13. Cyanobacterial community composition in Arctic soil crusts at different stages of development

    PubMed Central

    Pushkareva, Ekaterina; Pessi, Igor S.; Wilmotte, Annick; Elster, Josef

    2015-01-01

    Cyanobacterial diversity in soil crusts has been extensively studied in arid lands of temperate regions, particularly semi-arid steppes and warm deserts. Nevertheless, Arctic soil crusts have received far less attention than their temperate counterparts. Here, we describe the cyanobacterial communities from various types of soil crusts from Svalbard, High Arctic. Four soil crusts at different development stages (ranging from poorly-developed to well-developed soil crusts) were analysed using 454 pyrosequencing of the V3-V4 variable region of the cyanobacterial 16S rRNA gene. Analyses of 95 660 cyanobacterial sequences revealed a dominance of OTUs belonging to the orders Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales and Nostocales. The most dominant OTUs in the four studied sites were related to the filamentous cyanobacteria Leptolyngbya sp. Phylotype richness estimates increased from poorly- to mid-developed soil crusts and decreased in the well-developed lichenized soil crust. Moreover, pH, ammonium and organic carbon concentrations appeared significantly correlated with the cyanobacterial community structure. PMID:26564957

  14. Cyanobacterial community composition in Arctic soil crusts at different stages of development.

    PubMed

    Pushkareva, Ekaterina; Pessi, Igor S; Wilmotte, Annick; Elster, Josef

    2015-12-01

    Cyanobacterial diversity in soil crusts has been extensively studied in arid lands of temperate regions, particularly semi-arid steppes and warm deserts. Nevertheless, Arctic soil crusts have received far less attention than their temperate counterparts. Here, we describe the cyanobacterial communities from various types of soil crusts from Svalbard, High Arctic. Four soil crusts at different development stages (ranging from poorly-developed to well-developed soil crusts) were analysed using 454 pyrosequencing of the V3-V4 variable region of the cyanobacterial 16S rRNA gene. Analyses of 95 660 cyanobacterial sequences revealed a dominance of OTUs belonging to the orders Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales and Nostocales. The most dominant OTUs in the four studied sites were related to the filamentous cyanobacteria Leptolyngbya sp. Phylotype richness estimates increased from poorly- to mid-developed soil crusts and decreased in the well-developed lichenized soil crust. Moreover, pH, ammonium and organic carbon concentrations appeared significantly correlated with the cyanobacterial community structure.

  15. Morphological characteristics of interactions between deserts and rivers in northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yan, Ping; Li, XiaoMei; Ma, YuFeng; Wu, Wei; Qian, Yao

    2015-12-01

    Arid regions are affected by long-term interactions between various factors including water and wind. Recent research has concentrated on aeolian-fluvial interactions in dryland environments, including the important role of rivers in providing sand and spaces for deserts development, as well as the influences of aeolian activity upon river landforms. However, there is still a lack of comprehensive data at the large watershed scale to support such research. In this study, we analyzed statistically the morphological parameters related to twelve deserts and ten watersheds in dryland regions of northern China using remote sensing data, maps of desert and watershed distributions, and classification of aeolian landforms. Results indicate that, in view of the relationship between deserts and rivers, the geomorphic structures of drainage basins in northern China can be overall divided into five large drainage zones: northwestern drainage (ND), western drainage (WD), drainage of northern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (PD), middle drainage (MD) and eastern drainage (ED). In the terms of percent area of desert in drainages, it can be sequenced as WD > MD > ND > ED > PD. For percent area of shifting dunes in deserts, WD > PD > MD > ED > ND. Considering the classification of aeolian dunes, transverse dune dominates in all drainages, and its proportion can be sorted as PD > ED > MD > WD > ND. There is a significant difference in their morphological parameters between interior and exterior watersheds. In exterior watersheds, desert area, shifting dune or transverse dune areas are not significantly associated with drainage area respectively, but interior watersheds have good correlations between them. And in three rivers of Tarim Basin, along with increasing distance from the river bank, the types of aeolian dune (complexity) increased step-wisely, implying that sand dune extends along the river terrace. Those data and preliminary findings confirm that the rivers are indispensable to the

  16. Estimation of saltation emission in the Kubuqi Desert, North China.

    PubMed

    Du, Heqiang; Xue, Xian; Wang, Tao

    2014-05-01

    The Kubuqi Desert suffered more severe wind erosion hazard. Every year, a mass of aeolian sand was blown in the Ten Tributaries that are tributaries of the Yellow River. To estimate the quantity of aeolian sediment blown into the Ten Tributaries from the Kubuqi Desert, it is necessary to simulate the saltation processes of the Kubuqi Desert. A saltation submodel of the IWEMS (Integrated Wind-Erosion Modeling System) and its accompanying RS (Remote Sensing) and GIS (Geographic Information System) methods were used to model saltation emissions in the Kubuqi Desert. To calibrate the saltation submodel, frontal area of vegetation, soil moisture, wind velocity and saltation sediment were observed synchronously on several points in 2011 and 2012. In this study, a model namely BEACH (Bridge Event And Continuous Hydrological) was introduced to simulate the daily soil moisture. Using the surface parameters (frontal area of vegetation and soil moisture) along with the observed wind velocities and saltation sediments for the observed points, the saltation model was calibrated and validated. To reduce the simulate error, a subdaily wind velocity program, WINDGEN was introduced in this model to simulate the hourly wind velocity of the Kubuqi Desert. By incorporating simulated hourly wind velocity, and model variables, the saltation emission of the Kubuqi Desert was modeled. The model results show that the total sediment flow rate was 1-30.99 tons/m over the last 10years (2001-2010). The saltation emission mainly occurs in the north central part of the Kubuqi Desert in winter and spring. Integrating the wind directions, the quantity of the aeolian sediment that deposits in the Ten Tributaries was estimated. Compared with the observed data by the local government and hydrometric stations, our estimation is reasonable.

  17. Crust Formation in Aluminum Cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oedegard, R.; Roenning, S.; Rolseth, S.; Thonstad, J.

    1985-11-01

    This paper examines the catalytic effects offlourides on the ϒ→α-Al2O3 phase transformation by heat treating commercial alumina samples with 2wt% additions of different flouride compounds. The various additives were ranked according to their effect on transformation temperature. Experiments were conducted to explain the high temperature coherence of crusts. The findings indicate that an alumina network is formed during ϒ→α phase transformation, which reinforces the crust on top of the cryolite bath.

  18. Microbial diversity in Calamita ferromagnetic sand.

    PubMed

    Perfumo, Amedea; Cockell, Charles; Elsaesser, Andreas; Marchant, Roger; Kminek, Gerhard

    2011-08-01

    Calamita is a black ferromagnetic sand from a marine iron ore on Elba Island (Italy). Its total iron content is approximately 80% and a major fraction (63% w/w) has magnetic properties. Desiccation, ultraviolet irradiation and the high temperature induced by the thermal conductivity of iron make Calamita sand an extreme biotope. We report, for the first time, the geomicrobiological characterization of Calamita sand, which showed a low bacterial biodiversity as determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis. We retrieved sequences closely affiliated with uncultured bacteria inhabiting the harshest deserts on Earth. Radiation- and desiccation-tolerant bacteria from the phyla Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Deinococcus-Thermus dominated the community. Heavy metal-resistant organisms, for example Variovorax sp. were also abundant. Sequences of organisms with an inferred metabolism based on lithotrophic iron oxidation were detected. The sands also contained thermophilic bacilli, which were cultivated at 60°C. These data provided important insights also into the biogeographical distribution of these organisms in the Mediterranean region. In summary, this study on Calamita helps to expand our knowledge of the biodiversity in extreme, iron-rich, environments. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  19. Patton's tracks in the Mojave Desert, USA: An ecological legacy

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, J.; Warren, S.D.

    2002-01-01

    Recovery of soil properties from World War II-era military training exercises in the Mojave Desert was measured approximately 55 years following disturbance. Tracks from military vehicles were still visible, particularly in areas of desert pavement. Soil penetrability was much lower in visible tracks than outside the tracks. Soils in tracks had fewer rocks in the top 10 cm of the soil profile than adjacent untracked soils. Larger particles (> 4.8 mm) formed a moderately well-developed pavement outside of the tracks, while smaller, loose particles (???4.8 mm) dominated the surface of the tracks. The time required to restore the desert pavement is likely to be measured in centuries. Based on biomass estimates, the cyanobacterial component of biological soil crusts had recovered 46-65% in tracks, compared to outside the tracks. Overall recovery of lichen cover has been much slower. Under plant canopies, cover of Collema tenax was not significantly different between areas inside and outside the tracks; however, recovery of Catapyrenium squamulosum was only 36%. In plant interspaces with less favorable moisture and temperature conditions, C. tenax showed a 6% recovery and C. squamulosum a 3% recovery. Assuming recovery of the biological soil crust is linear, and complete only when the most sensitive species (C. squamulosum) has fully recovered in the most limiting microhabitats (plant interspaces), it may require almost two millennia for full recovery of these areas.

  20. Mojave Desert Diary

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Breed, Allen F.

    1974-01-01

    This is an account of a trip to the Mojave Desert sponsored by the California Youth Authority's Community Parole Center for wards who are selected on the basis of their potential for growth and their ability to make a connection between what they do in the wilderness and what they do on the streets. (PD)

  1. Plants of the Desert.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    NatureScope, 1985

    1985-01-01

    Provides background information and student activities on plants of the desert, including various adaptations for life with limited water supplies. Each activity includes objective(s), recommended age level(s), subject area(s), list of materials needed, and procedures. A ready-to-copy student worksheet is included. (DH)

  2. Changes in wind erosion over a 25-year restoration chronosequence on the south edge of the Tengger Desert, China: implications for preventing desertification.

    PubMed

    Ma, Quanlin; Fehmi, Jeffrey S; Zhang, Dekui; Fan, Baoli; Chen, Fang

    2017-08-23

    Wind erosion is a primary cause of desertification as well as being a serious ecological problem in arid and semi-arid areas across the world. To determine mechanisms for restoring desertified lands, an unrestored shifting sand dune and three formerly shifting sand dunes (desertified lands) that had been enclosed and afforested for 5, 15, and 25 years were selected for evaluation on the south edge of the Tengger Desert, China. Based on sampling heights between 0.2 and 3 m, the critical threshold average wind speed was 6.5 m s(-1) at 2 m where the sand transport rate was reduced from 285.9 kg m(-2) h(-1) on the unrestored dunes to 9.1 and 1.8 kg m(-2) h(-1) on the sites afforested and enclosed for 5 and 15 years, respectively. The percentage of wind eroded area was reduced from 99.9% on the unrestored dune to 94.5, 9.0, and 0.5% on the sites afforested and enclosed for 5, 15, and 25 years, respectively. Wind erosion was effectively reduced after 15 years. Although there were different driving factors for wind erosion mitigation on the different restoration stages, an increase in the vegetation cover, surface roughness, soil shear strength, soil clay content, organic matter, and reduction in the near-surface wind speed were the primary variables associated with the restoration chronosequence. We conclude that reducing the wind speed and developing a biological crust through vegetation restoration were the critical components for restoration of desertified land.

  3. Investigation of Biological Soil Crusts Metabolic Webs Using Exometabolomic Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Northen, T.; Karaoz, U.; Jenkins, S.; Lau, R.; Bowen, B.; Cadillo-Quiroz, H.; Garcia-Pichel, F.; Brodie, E.; Richard, B.

    2014-12-01

    Desert biological soil crusts are simple cyanobacteria-dominated surface soil microbial communities found in areas with infrequent wetting, often extreme temperatures, low coverage of vascular plants and constitute the world's largest biofilm. They exist for extended periods in a desiccated dormant state, yet rapidly re-boot metabolism within minutes of wetting. These soil microbial communities are highly dependent on filamentous cyanobacteria such as Microcoleus vaginatusto stabilize the soil and to act as primary producers for the community through the release carbon sources to feed a diversity of heterotrophs. Exometabolomic analysis was performed using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry on biological soil crust pore water and spent media of key soil bacterial isolates. Comparison of spent vs. fresh media was used to determine uptake or release of metabolites by specific microbes. To link pore water experiments with isolate studies, metabolite extracts of authentic soil were used as supplements for isolate exometabolomic profiling. Our soil metabolomics methods detected hundreds of metabolites from soils including may novel compounds. Only a small set of which being targeted by all isolates. Beyond these few metabolites, the individual bacteria examined showed specialization towards specific metabolites. Surprisingly, many of the most abundant oligosaccharides and other metabolites were ignored by these isolates. The observed specialization of biological soil crust bacteria may play a significant role in determining community structure.

  4. Composition of the Continental Crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rudnick, R. L.; Gao, S.

    2003-12-01

    The Earth is an unusual planet in our solar system in having a bimodal topography that reflects the two distinct types of crust found on our planet. The low-lying oceanic crust is thin (˜7 km on average), composed of relatively dense rock types such as basalt and is young (≤200 Ma old) (see Chapter 3.13). In contrast, the high-standing continental crust is thick (˜40 km on average), is composed of highly diverse lithologies (virtually every rock type known on Earth) that yield an average intermediate or "andesitic" bulk composition (Taylor and McLennan (1985) and references therein), and contains the oldest rocks and minerals yet observed on Earth (currently the 4.0 Ga Acasta gneisses (Bowring and Williams, 1999) and 4.4 Ga detrital zircons from the Yilgarn Block, Western Australia (Wilde et al., 2001)), respectively. Thus, the continents preserve a rich geological history of our planet's evolution and understanding their origin is critical for understanding the origin and differentiation of the Earth.The origin of the continents has received wide attention within the geological community, with hundreds of papers and several books devoted to the topic (the reader is referred to the following general references for further reading: Taylor and McLennan (1985), Windley (1995), and Condie (1997). Knowledge of the age and composition of the continental crust is essential for understanding its origin. Patchett and Samson (Chapter 3.10) review the present-day age distribution of the continental crust and Kemp and Hawkesworth (Chapter 3.11) review secular evolution of crust composition. Moreover, to understand fully the origin and evolution of continents requires an understanding of not only the crust, but also the mantle lithosphere that formed more-or-less contemporaneously with the crust and translates with it as the continents move across the Earth's surface. The latter topic is reviewed in Chapter 2.05.This chapter reviews the present-day composition of the

  5. A study of Desert Dermatoses in the Thar Desert Region

    PubMed Central

    Chatterjee, Manas; Vasudevan, Biju

    2015-01-01

    Introduction: Desert dermatology describes the cutaneous changes and the diseases affecting those living in the desert. Diurnal variation in temperature is high and is characteristic of the deserts. The lack of water affects daily activities and impacts dermatological conditions. Adaptation to the desert is therefore important to survival. This original article focuses on dermatoses occurring in a population in the Thar desert of India, predominantly located in Rajasthan. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive study involving various dermatoses seen in patients residing in the Thar desert region over a duration of 3 years. Results: Infections were the most common condition seen among this population and among them fungal infections were the most common. The high incidence of these infections would be accounted for by the poor hygienic conditions due to lack of bathing facilities due to scarcity of water and the consequent sweat retention and overgrowth of cutaneous infective organisms. Pigmentary disorders, photodermatoses, leishmaniasis and skin tumors were found to be more prevalent in this region. Desert sweat dermatitis was another specific condition found to have an increased incidence. Conclusion: The environment of the desert provides for a wide variety of dermatoses that can result in these regions with few of these dermatoses found in much higher incidence than in other regions. The concept of desert dermatology needs to be understood in more details to provide better care to those suffering from desert dermatoses and this article is a step forward in this regard. PMID:25657392

  6. A study of Desert Dermatoses in the Thar Desert Region.

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, Manas; Vasudevan, Biju

    2015-01-01

    Desert dermatology describes the cutaneous changes and the diseases affecting those living in the desert. Diurnal variation in temperature is high and is characteristic of the deserts. The lack of water affects daily activities and impacts dermatological conditions. Adaptation to the desert is therefore important to survival. This original article focuses on dermatoses occurring in a population in the Thar desert of India, predominantly located in Rajasthan. This is a descriptive study involving various dermatoses seen in patients residing in the Thar desert region over a duration of 3 years. Infections were the most common condition seen among this population and among them fungal infections were the most common. The high incidence of these infections would be accounted for by the poor hygienic conditions due to lack of bathing facilities due to scarcity of water and the consequent sweat retention and overgrowth of cutaneous infective organisms. Pigmentary disorders, photodermatoses, leishmaniasis and skin tumors were found to be more prevalent in this region. Desert sweat dermatitis was another specific condition found to have an increased incidence. The environment of the desert provides for a wide variety of dermatoses that can result in these regions with few of these dermatoses found in much higher incidence than in other regions. The concept of desert dermatology needs to be understood in more details to provide better care to those suffering from desert dermatoses and this article is a step forward in this regard.

  7. Crest line minimal model for sand dune

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guignier, Lucie; Valance, Alexandre; Lague, Dimitri

    2013-04-01

    In desert, complex patterns of dunes form. Under unidirectional wind, transverse rectilinear dunes or crescent shaped dunes called barchan dunes can appear, depending on the amount of sediment available. Most rectilinear transverse sand dunes are observed to fragment, for example at White Sands (New Mexico, United States of America) or Walvis Bay (Namibia). We develop a reduced complexity model to investigate the morphodynamics of sand dunes migrating over a non-erodible bed under unidirectional wind. The model is simply based on two physical ingredients, namely, the sand capture process at the slip face and the cross-wind sand transport. The efficiency of the sand capture process is taken to be dependent of the dune height and lateral diffusion is considered on both the windward and lee sides of the dune. In addition, the dune cross section is assumed to be scale invariant and is approximated by a triangular shape. In this framework, the dune dynamics is reduced to the motion of a string representing the dune crest line and is expressed as a set of two coupled nonlinear differential equations. This simple model reveals its ability to reproduce basic features of barchan and transverse dunes. Analytical predictions are drawn concerning dune equilibrium shape, stability and long-term dynamics. We derive, in particular, analytical solutions for barchan dunes, yielding explicit relationships between their shape and the lateral sand diffusion; and analytical predictions for the migration speed and equilibrium sand flux. A stability analysis of a rectilinear transverse dune allows us to predict analytically the wavelength emerging from fluctuations of the dune crest. We also determine the characteristic time needed for the rectilinear dune to fragment into a multitude of barchan dunes. These outcomes show that extremely simple ingredients can generate complex patterns for migrating dunes. From several dune field data, we are able to determine values of the model

  8. WIND CHARACTERISTICS OF MESQUITE STREETS IN THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT, NEW MEXICO, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The most active areas for sand movement in the mesquite-dominated ecosystems in the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert are elongated bare soil patches referred to as "streets." Wind properties were measured at two flat mesquite sites having highly similar sandy textures but...

  9. WIND CHARACTERISTICS OF MESQUITE STREETS IN THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT, NEW MEXICO, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The most active areas for sand movement in the mesquite-dominated ecosystems in the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert are elongated bare soil patches referred to as "streets." Wind properties were measured at two flat mesquite sites having highly similar sandy textures but...

  10. Algal diversity in North American desert soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flechtner, Valerie R.; Ng, Rainer A.; Johansen, Jeffrey R.; Antionio, Sheri

    2005-09-01

    Clonal isolates of cyanophytes were collected from several study sites in the Dugway Proving Ground and San Rafael Sell Overlook in Utah. We identified 32 taxa belonging to 24 cyanobacterial genera. Some taxa were widely distributed, occurring in all sites. For example, the members of the filamentous cyanobacterial genera Leptolyngbya, Microcoleus, Nostoc and Trichocoleus and members of the coccoid genus Aphanocapsa were common to all sites. On the other hand, members of the cyanobacterial genus Calothrix were rarely encountered at the Dugway site but were recovered frequently from the San Rafael site. We were able to compare disturbed and undisturbed sites located close together in the San Rafael Overlook. We found that the genera Spirirestis and Cyanosarcina, were found exclusively in the undisturbed site. A number of the taxa recovered could be identified only to the genus level because they did not match previously published species descriptions. Since we have recovered both prokaryotic eukaryotic taxa new to science in our previous work, it is quite likely that some of these isolates do indeed represent new cyanobacterial species. This study is the most extensive characterization of cyanobacteria from soil crusts in a semi-arid North American deserts. It expands our knowledge of the diversity of the cyanobacterial components of North American soil crusts.

  11. Dune mobility and aridity at the desert margin of northern China at a time of peak monsoon strength

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mason, J.A.; Lu, H.; Zhou, Y.; Miao, X.; Swinehart, J.B.; Liu, Z.; Goble, R.J.; Yi, S.

    2009-01-01

    Wind-blown sands were mobile at many sites along the desert margin in northern China during the early Holocene (11.5-8 ka ago), based on extensive new numerical dating. This mobility implies low effective moisture at the desert margin, in contrast to growing evidence for greater than modern monsoon precipitation at the same time in central and southern China. Dry conditions in the early Holocene at the desert margin can be explained through a dynamic link between enhanced diabatic heating in the core region of the strengthened monsoon and increased subsidence in drylands to the north, combined with high evapotranspiration rates due to high summer temperatures. After 8 ka ago, as the monsoon weakened and lower temperatures reduced evapotranspiration, eolian sands were stabilized by vegetation. Aridity and dune mobility at the desert margin and a strengthened monsoon can both be explained as responses to high summer insolation in the early Holocene. ?? 2009 Geological Society of America.

  12. Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry for Digital Elevation Model of Kuwait Desert - Analysis of Errors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jassar, H. K. Al; Rao, K. S.

    2012-07-01

    Using different combinations of 29 Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) images, 43 Digital Elevations Models (DEM) were generated adopting SAR Interferometry (InSAR) technique. Due to sand movement in desert terrain, there is a poor phase correlation between different SAR images. Therefore, suitable methodology for generating DEMs of Kuwait desert terrain using InSAR technique were worked out. Time series analysis was adopted to derive the best DEM out of 43 DEMs. The problems related to phase de-correlation over desert terrain are discussed. Various errors associated with the DEM generation are discussed which include atmospheric effects, penetration into soil medium, sand movement. The DEM of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) is used as a reference. The noise levels of DEM of SRTM are presented.

  13. [Ecological effect of hygroscopic and condensate water on biological soil crusts in Shapotou region of China].

    PubMed

    Pan, Yan-Xia; Wang, Xin-Ping; Zhang, Ya-Feng; Hu, Rui

    2013-03-01

    By the method of field experiment combined with laboratory analysis, this paper studied the ecological significance of hygroscopic and condensate water on the biological soil crusts in the vegetation sand-fixing area in Shapotou region of China. In the study area, 90% of hygroscopic and condensate water was within the 3 cm soil depth, which didn' t affect the surface soil water content. The hygroscopic and condensate water generated at night involved in the exchange process of soil surface water and atmosphere water vapor, made up the loss of soil water due to the evaporation during the day, and made the surface soil water not reduced rapidly. The amount of the generated hygroscopic and condensate water had a positive correlation with the chlorophyll content of biological soil crusts, indicating that the hygroscopic and condensate water could improve the growth activity of the biological soil crusts, and thus, benefit the biomass accumulation of the crusts.

  14. Sedimentological, Mineralogical and Geochemical Characterization of Sand Dunes in Saudi Arabia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benaafi, Mohammed; Abdullatif, Osman

    2014-05-01

    Sedimentological, mineralogical, morphological and geochemical studies of sand dunes from ten locations in Saudi Arabia were conducted in order to determine the differences between them and to find out the provenance and tectonic setting of these sand dunes. Sixty seven samples were collected from different sand dunes types ranging in morphology from linear, barchans, parabolic to stars dunes. In overall, the sand dunes are fine to coarse grained mean grain size, moderately sorted, near symmetrical skewness with mesokurtic distribution characterized sand dunes in most locations. The sand dunes grains are subrounded in all locations except in the Red sea, Qassim, central Arabia and the eastern province which showed sub-angular grains. The main mineral compositions of studied aeolian sand dunes are quartz, feldspar, calcite, and mica. Quartz is the dominant mineral in locations with significant amount of feldspars and mica in Najran, Red sea and Central Arabia locations. Moreover, calcite is present in Sakaka and NW Empty Quarter (Jafurah). Basement related sand dunes in Najran, Central Arabia and Red sea locations are sub-mature in terms of their mineralogical maturity. Whereas, sand dunes in other locations are texturally mature except those from the Red sea which showed sub-mature sand. The sands are classified as quartz arenite, except in the basement related sand dunes in Najran, central Arabia and the Red sea are ranging from sub-arkose, sub-litharenite and lithraenite. Morphologically, parallel to sub-parallel sand ridges with NE-SW orientation occurred in east and north parts of Empty Quarter (Najran and Jafurah) and NW-SE orientation in Dahna and Nafud deserts in central and north regions of Saudi Arabia. Parabolic sand dunes characterized the Nafud desert (Hail, Sakaka, Tayma locations). Barchans and star sand dunes characterize the Empty Quarter (Jafurah). Major, trace, and rare earth elements studies were carried out to determine the composition

  15. Exercise Desert Rock, Staff Memorandums. Army, Camp Desert Rock, Nevada.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1957-01-01

    I AD-AGAG 257 EXERCISE DESERT ROCK LAS VEGAS NV F/6 IS/ 3 EXERCISE DESERT ROCK, STAFF MEMORANDUMS. ARMY. CAMP DESERT ROCK-ETClUlCASIFE mm95i mm... Exercise Safety Progra - . 1. PUrose: To establish ane’ffective safety progr.Rm toreduce, and keep to a minimum, accident,1 manpower and monetary losses. at...agencies will be- followed. Supervispry personnel will: become familiar with those that Pre applicable to thei£r... operations. The Exercise Safety

  16. Sand wave fields beneath the Loop Current, Gulf of Mexico: Reworking of fan sands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kenyon, Neil H.; Akhmetzhanov, A.M.; Twichell, D.C.

    2002-01-01

    Extensive fields of large barchan-like sand waves and longitudinal sand ribbons have been mapped by deep-towed SeaMARC IA sidescan sonar on part of the middle and lower Mississippi Fan that lies in about 3200 m of water. The area is beneath the strongly flowing Loop Current. The bedforms have not been adequately sampled but probably consist of winnowed siliciclastic-foraminiferal sands. The size (about 200 m from wingtip to wingtip) and shape of the large barchans is consistent with a previously observed peak current speed of 30 cm/s, measured 25 m above the seabed. The types of small-scale bedforms and the scoured surfaces of chemical crusts, seen on nearby bottom photographs, indicate that near-bed currents in excess of 30 cm/s may sometimes occur. At the time of the survey the sand transport direction was to the northwest, in the opposite direction to the Loop Current but consistent with there being a deep boundary current along the foot of the Florida Escarpment. Some reworking of the underlying sandy turbidites and debris flow deposits is apparent on the sidescan sonar records. Reworking by deep-sea currents, resulting in erosion and in deposits characterised by coarsening upwards structures and cross-bedding, is a process that has been proposed for sand found in cores in shallower parts of the Gulf of Mexico. This process is more widespread than hitherto supposed. 

  17. Lava crusts and flow dynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kilburn, C. R. J.

    1993-01-01

    Lava flows can be considered as hot viscous cores within thinner, solidified crusts. Interaction between crust and core determines a flow's morphological and dynamical evolution. When the lava core dominates, flow advance approaches a steady state. When crusts are the limiting factor, advance is more irregular. These two conditions can be distinguished by a timescale ratio comparing rates of core deformation and crustal formation. Aa and budding pahoehoe lavas are used as examples of core- and crustal-dominated flows, respectively. A simple model describes the transition between pahoehoe and aa flow in terms of lava discharge rate, underlying slope, and either the thickness or velocity of the flow front. The model shows that aa morphologies are characterized by higher discharge rates and frontal velocities and yields good quantitative agreement with empirical relations distinguishing pahoehoe and aa emplacement on Hawaii.

  18. Southwestern desert resources

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Halvorson, William L.; van Riper, Charles; Schwalbe, Cecil R.

    2010-01-01

    The southwestern deserts stretch from southeastern California to west Texas and then south to central Mexico. The landscape of this region is known as basin and range topography featuring to "sky islands" of forest rising from the desert lowlands which creates a uniquely diverse ecology. The region is further complicated by an international border, where governments have caused difficulties for many animal populations. This book puts a spotlight on individual research projects which are specific examples of work being done in the area and when they are all brought together, to shed a general light of understanding the biological and cultural resources of this vast region so that those same resources can be managed as effectively and efficiently as possible. The intent is to show that collaborative efforts among federal, state agency, university, and private sector researchers working with land managers, provides better science and better management than when scientists and land managers work independently.

  19. Aerolian erosion, transport, and deposition of volcaniclastic sands among the shifting sand dunes, Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon: TIMS image analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ramsey, Michael S.; Christensen, Philip R.

    1995-01-01

    Remote sensing is a tool that, in the context of aeolian studies, offers a synoptic view of a dune field, sand sea, or entire desert region. Blount et al. (1990) presented one of the first studies demonstrating the power of multispectral images for interpreting the dynamic history of an aeolian sand sea. Blount's work on the Gran Desierto of Mexico used a Landsat TM scene and a linear spectral mixing model to show where different sand populations occur and along what paths these sands may have traveled before becoming incorporated into dunes. Interpretation of sand transport paths and sources in the Gran Desierto led to an improved understanding of the origin and Holocene history of the dunes. With the anticipated advent of the EOS-A platform and ASTER thermal infrared capability in 1998, it will become possible to look at continental sand seas and map sand transport paths using 8-12 mu m bands that are well-suited to tracking silicate sediments. A logical extension of Blount's work is to attempt a similar study using thermal infrared images. One such study has already begun by looking at feldspar, quartz, magnetite, and clay distributions in the Kelso Dunes of southern California. This paper describes the geology and application of TIMS image analysis of a less-well known Holocene dune field in south central Oregon using TIMS data obtained in 1991.

  20. Soil compartment is a major determinant of the impact of simulated rainfall on desert microbiota.

    PubMed

    Aslam, Shazia N; Dumbrell, Alex J; Sabir, Jamal S; Mutwakil, Mohammed H Z; Baeshen, Mohammed M N; Abo-Aba, Salah E M; Clark, Dave R; Yates, Steven A; Baeshen, Nabih A; Underwood, Graham J C; McGenity, Terry J

    2016-12-01

    Although desert soils support functionally important microbial communities that affect plant growth and influence many biogeochemical processes, the impact of future changes in precipitation patterns on the microbiota and their activities is largely unknown. We performed in-situ experiments to investigate the effect of simulated rainfall on bacterial communities associated with the widespread perennial shrub, Rhazya stricta in Arabian desert soils. The bacterial community composition was distinct between three different soil compartments: surface biological crust, root-attached, and the broader rhizosphere. Simulated rainfall had no significant effect on the overall bacterial community composition, but some population-level responses were observed, especially in soil crusts where Betaproteobacteria, Sphingobacteria, and Bacilli became more abundant. Bacterial biomass in the nutrient-rich crust increased three-fold one week after watering, whereas it did not change in the rhizosphere, despite its much higher water retention. These findings indicate that between rainfall events, desert-soil microbial communities enter into stasis, with limited species turnover, and reactivate rapidly and relatively uniformly when water becomes available. However, microbiota in the crust, which was relatively enriched in nutrients and organic matter, were primarily water-limited, compared with the rhizosphere microbiota that were co-limited by nutrients and water. © 2016 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. Industrial sand and gravel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolley, T.P.

    2006-01-01

    In 2005, domestic production of industrial sand and gravel was about 31 Mt, a 5% increase from 2004. This increase was bouyed by robust construction and petroleum sectors of the US economy. Based on estimated world production figures, the United States was the world's leading producer and consumer of industrial sand and gravel. In the short term, local shortages of industrial sand and gravel will continue to increase.

  2. The Desert Crossings of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cockell, C. S.

    Apart from the polar caps, the Martian volcanoes and the Valles Marineris, ~80% of the martian surface can essentially be classified as `desert'. The methods used to explore Mars, the scientific priorities and the philo- sophical and historical precedents that drive human exploration on Mars will primarily come from our experiences in terrestrial deserts. Here, the methods and approaches used for terrestrial desert expeditions are discussed with reference to Mars. Some of the physical challenges such as low temperature and frost formation will be akin to cold polar desert exploration on Earth. However, some challenges, such as dust storms and lack of liquid water will be akin to hot desert exploration. Expeditions that draw the appropriate lessons from both hot and cold desert terrestrial expeditions will succeed. Examples of major regions on Mars that might be regarded as significant exploratory challenges for expeditions are identified. Key parameters of these expeditions including distance and plausible scientific objectives are provided.

  3. Aquaporins in desert rodent physiology.

    PubMed

    Pannabecker, Thomas L

    2015-08-01

    Desert rodents face a sizeable challenge in maintaining salt and water homeostasis due to their life in an arid environment. A number of their organ systems exhibit functional characteristics that limit water loss above that which occurs in non-desert species under similar conditions. These systems include renal, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, nasal, and skin epithelia. The desert rodent kidney preserves body water by producing a highly concentrated urine that reaches a maximum osmolality nearly three times that of the common laboratory rat. The precise mechanism by which urine is concentrated in any mammal is unknown. Insights into the process may be more apparent in species that produce highly concentrated urine. Aquaporin water channels play a fundamental role in water transport in several desert rodent organ systems. The role of aquaporins in facilitating highly effective water preservation in desert rodents is only beginning to be explored. The organ systems of desert rodents and their associated AQPs are described.

  4. Palaeomagnetism and the continental crust

    SciTech Connect

    Piper, J.D.A.

    1987-01-01

    This book is an introduction to palaeomagnetism offering treatment of theory and practice. It analyzes the palaeomagnetic record over the whole of geological time, from the Archaean to the Cenozoic, and goes on to examine the impact of past geometries and movements of the continental crust at each geological stage. Topics covered include theory of rock and mineral magnetism, field and laboratory methods, growth and consolidation of the continental crust in Archaean and Proterozoic times, Palaeozoic palaeomagnetism and the formation of Pangaea, the geomagnetic fields, continental movements, configurations and mantle convection.

  5. Deserts and Arid Lands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, Glen F.

    The exponential growth of global population and often concomitant degradation of the environment has forced human expansion into the more hostile and less well-known terrains of arid lands and deserts. Drought in the African Sahel, with recent wholesale movement of tribes seeking survival, has focused interest in such regions. However, geologic and geomorphic knowledge of deserts has expanded slowly until the last few decades. For instance, the arid cycle of erosion, as conceived by William Morse Davis (now deceased; formerly, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.), with modifications by W. Penck (now deceased; formerly, Leipzig University, Leipzig, German Democratic Republic), and L. C. King (University of Natal and Durban, South Africa), has dominated desert geomorphological deductions until recently. Since World War II and the verification of plate tectonics, the knowledge of arid lands has increased dramatically, especially in synoptic mapping from remote sensing data and space photography, which transcends political boundaries, thanks to the open skies policy of the U.S. space pioneers.

  6. Warming and increased precipitation frequency on the Colorado Plateau: Implications for biological soil crusts and soil processes

    SciTech Connect

    Zelikova TJ; Hosman DC; Grote EE; Neher DA; Belnap J

    2011-03-21

    Frequent hydration and drying of soils in arid systems can accelerate desert carbon and nitrogen mobilization due to respiration, microbial death, and release of intracellular solutes. Because desert microinvertebrates can mediate nutrient cycling, and the autotrophic components of crusts are known to be sensitive to rapid desiccation due to elevated temperatures after wetting events, we studied whether altered soil temperature and frequency of summer precipitation can also affect the composition of food web consumer functional groups. We conducted a two-year field study with experimentally-elevated temperature and frequency of summer precipitation in the Colorado Plateau desert, measuring the change in abundance of nematodes, protozoans, and microarthropods. We hypothesized that microfauna would be more adversely affected by the combination of elevated temperature and frequency of summer precipitation than either effect alone, as found previously for phototrophic crust biota. Microfauna experienced normal seasonal fluctuations in abundance, but the effect of elevated temperature and frequency of summer precipitation was statistically non-significant for most microfaunal groups, except amoebae. The seasonal increase in abundance of amoebae was reduced with combined elevated temperature and increased frequency of summer precipitation compared to either treatment alone, but comparable with control (untreated) plots. Based on our findings, we suggest that desert soil microfauna are relatively more tolerant to increases in ambient temperature and frequency of summer precipitation than the autotrophic components of biological soil crust at the surface.

  7. Wind erodibility response of physical and biological crusts to rain and flooding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aubault, H.; Bullard, J. E.; Strong, C. L.; Ghadiri, H.; McTainsh, G. H.

    2015-12-01

    Soil surface crusts are important controllers of the small-scale wind entrainment processes that occur across all dust source regions globally. The crust type influences water and wind erosion by impacting infiltration, runoff, threshold wind velocity and surface storage capacity of both water and loose erodible material. The spatial and temporal patterning of both physical and biological crusts is known to change with rainfall and flooding. However, little is known about the impact of differing water quantity (from light rainfall through to flooding) on soil crusting characteristics (strength, roughness, sediment loss). This study compares the response of two soil types (loamy sand - LS, sandy loam - SL) with and without BSCs to three different rainfall events (2mm, 8mm, 15mm). Two BSC treatments were used one that simulated a young cyanobacteria dominated crust and an older flood induced multi species biological crust. For both soil types, soil surface strength increased with increasing rainfall amount with LS having consistently higher resistance to rupture than SL. Regardless of texture, soils with BSCs were more resistant and strength did not change in response to rainfall impact. Soil loss due to wind erosion was substantially higher on bare LS (4 times higher) and SL (3 times higher) soils compared with those with BSCs. Our results also show that young biological crust (formed by the rainfall event) have reduced soil erodibility with notably greater strength, roughness and reduced sediment losses when compared to soils with physical crust. Interestingly though, the erodibility of the old BSC did not differ greatly from that of the young BSC with respect to strength, roughness and sediment loss. This raises questions regarding the rapid soil surface protection offered by young colonising cyanobacteria crusts. Further analyses exploring the role of biological soil crusts on surface response to rainfall and wind saltation impact are ongoing.

  8. Have the northwest Negev dunefield sands reddened since their deposition?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roskin, Joel; Tsoar, Haim; Blumberg, Dan G.; Porat, Naomi; Rozensten, Ofer

    2010-05-01

    Sand grain coating redness has been extensively both in coastal and inland desert dunes. In Israel, sand redness has been quantified by calculating a spectral redness index (RI) using single RGB bands (RI= R2/(B*G3)) from reflectance spectroscopy. The RI values have been correlated to ferric oxide mass that was dissolved from sand grain coatings (Ben Dor et al., 2006; Tsoar et al., 2008). Five main requirements have been proposed to enhance sand grain reddening: iron source from the weathering of iron-bearing minerals originating from parent rock or aeolian dust, minimum moisture content, oxidizing interstitial conditions, sediment stability and time. Thus, as many researches have suggested, when the source factors and climatic conditions are homogenous, redder sands indicate increased maturity. The northwest Negev dunefield has been classified by Tsoar et al. (2008) into 3 incursion units based upon contouring a grid of RI values for surface sand samples. The central incursion unit has been suggested to be younger due to relatively lower RI values that decrease to the east. This work tests the relationship between RI values and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages of aeolian sand sampled from the near surface down to dune substrate throughout the NW Negev dunefield. Room-dried sand samples were measured in the laboratory with an ASD FieldSpec spectrometer and RI was calculated. Dune sections have been found to usually have similar RI values throughout their vertical profile despite OSL ages ranging between recent and Late Pleistocene. Along a W-E transect, RI values also tend to be similar. The central (Haluzza) part of the dunefield exhibits significantly lower RI values than RI of sands south of the Qeren Ridge. Dune base OSL ages possibly representing burial/stabilization of an initial incursion are slightly more mature in the south and may be evidence of the earliest dune incursion into the Negev. Thus the increased redness may be attributed to an

  9. Jeeps Penetrating a Hostile Desert

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bailey, Herb

    2009-01-01

    Several jeeps are poised at base camp on the edge of a desert aiming to escort one of them as far as possible into the desert, while the others return to camp. They all have full tanks of gas and share their fuel to maximize penetration. In a friendly desert it is best to leave caches of fuel along the way to help returning jeeps. We solve the…

  10. Jeeps Penetrating a Hostile Desert

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bailey, Herb

    2009-01-01

    Several jeeps are poised at base camp on the edge of a desert aiming to escort one of them as far as possible into the desert, while the others return to camp. They all have full tanks of gas and share their fuel to maximize penetration. In a friendly desert it is best to leave caches of fuel along the way to help returning jeeps. We solve the…

  11. Effects of aerosols and surface shadowing on bidirectional reflectance measurements of deserts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bowker, David E.; Davis, Richard E.

    1987-01-01

    Desert surfaces are probably one of the most stable of the Earth's natural targets for remote sensing. The bidirectional reflectance properties of the Saudi Arabian desert was investigated during the Summer Monsoon Experiment (Summer Monex). A comparison of high-altitude with near-surface measurements of the White Sands desert showed significant differences. These discrepancies have been attributed to forward scattering of the dust-laden atmosphere prevalent during Summer Monex. This paper is concerned in general with modeling the effects of atmospheric aerosols and surface shadowing on the remote sensing of bidirectional reflectance factors of desert targets, and in particular with comparing the results of these models with flight results. Although it is possible to approximate the latter, it is felt that a surface reflectance model with a smaller specular component would have permitted using a more realistic set of atmospheric conditions in the simulations.

  12. Warming and increased precipitation frequency on the Colorado Plateau: implications for biological soil crusts and soil processes

    SciTech Connect

    Zelikova, Tamara J.; Housman, David C.; Grote, Ed E.; Neher, Deborah A.; Belnap, Jayne

    2012-01-20

    Changes in temperature and precipitation are expected to influence ecosystem processes worldwide. Despite their globally large extent, few studies to date have examined the effects of climate change in desert ecosystems, where biological soil crusts are key nutrient cycling components. The goal of this work was to assess how increased temperature and frequency of summertime precipitation affect the contributions of crust organisms to soil processes. With a combination of experimental 2°C warming and altered summer precipitation frequency applied over 2 years, we measured soil nutrient cycling and the structure and function of crust communities. We saw no change in crust cover, composition, or other measures of crust function in response to 2°C warming and no effects on any measure of soil chemistry. In contrast, crust cover and function responded to increased frequency of summer precipitation, shifting from moss to cyanobacteria-dominated crusts; however, in the short timeframe we measured, there was no accompanying change in soil chemistry. Total bacterial and fungal biomass was also reduced in watered plots, while the activity of two enzymes increased, indicating a functional change in the microbial community. Taken together, our results highlight the limited effects of warming alone on biological soil crust communities and soil chemistry, but demonstrate the substantially larger effects of altered summertime precipitation.

  13. Eolian features in the Western Desert of Egypt and some applications to Mars.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    El-Baz, F.; Breed, C.S.; Grolier, M.J.; McCauley, J.F.

    1979-01-01

    Relations of landform types to wind regimes, bedrock composition, sediment supply, and topography are shown by field studies and satellite photographs of the Western Desert. This desert provides analogs of Martian wind-formed features and sand dunes, alternating light and dark streaks, knob 'shadows' and yardangs. Surface particles have been segregated by wind into dunes, sand sheets, and light streaks, that can be differentiated by their grain size distributions, surface shapes, and colors. Throughgoing sand of mostly fine to medium grain size is migrating S in longitudinal dune belts and barchan chains whose long axes lie parallel to the prevailing W winds, but topographic variations such as scarps and depressions strongly influence the zones of deposition and dune morphology. -from Authors

  14. Simultaneous PIV and PTV measurements of wind and sand particle velocities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Wei; Wang, Yuan; Lee, Sang Joon

    2008-08-01

    Wind-blown sand is a typical example of two-phase particle-laden flows. Owing to lack of simultaneous measured data of the wind and wind-blown sand, interactions between them have not yet been fully understood. In this study, natural sand of 100-125 μm taken from Taklimakan Desert was tested at the freestream wind speed of 8.3 m/s in an atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel. The captured flow images containing both saltating sand and small wind tracer particles, were separated by using a digital phase mask technique. The 2-D PIV (particle imaging velocimetry) and PTV (particle tracking velocimetry) techniques were employed to extract simultaneously the wind velocity field and the velocity field of dispersed sand particles, respectively. Comparison of the mean streamwise wind velocity profile and the turbulence statistics with and without sand transportation reveal a significant influence of sand movement on the wind field, especially in the dense saltating sand layer ( y/ δ < 0.1). The ensemble-averaged streamwise velocity profile of sand particles was also evaluated to investigate the velocity lag between the sand and the wind. This study would be helpful in improving the understanding of interactions between the wind and the wind-blown sand.

  15. Long-Term Observations of Dust Storms in Sandy Desert Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yun, Hye-Won; Kim, Jung-Rack; Choi, Yun-Soo

    2015-04-01

    Mineral dust occupies the largest portion of atmospheric aerosol. Considering the numerous risks that dust poses for socioeconomic and anthropogenic activities, it is crucial to understand sandy desert environments, which frequently generate dust storms and act as a primary source of atmospheric aerosol. To identify mineral aerosol mechanisms, it is essential to monitor desert environmental factors involving dust storm generation in the long term. In this study, we focused on two major environmental factors: local surface roughness and soil moisture. Since installments of ground observation networks in sandy deserts are unfeasible, remote sensing techniques for mining desert environmental factors were employed. The test area was established within the Badain Jaran and Kubuqi Deserts in Inner Mongolia, China, where significant seasonal aeolian processes emit mineral dust that influences all of East Asia. To trace local surface roughness, we employed a multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) image sequence to extract multi-angle viewing (MAV) topographic parameters such as normalized difference angular index, which represents characteristics of the target desert topography. The backscattering coefficient from various space-borne SAR and stereotopography were compared with MAV observations to determine calibrated local surface roughness. Soil moisture extraction techniques from InSAR-phase coherence stacks were developed and compiled with advanced scatterometer (ASCAT) soil moisture data. Combined with metrological information such as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA interim, correlations between intensity of sand dune activity as a proxy of aeolian processes in desert environments, surface wind conditions, and surface soil moisture were traced. Overall, we have confirmed that tracking sandy desert aeolian environments for long-term observations is feasible with space-borne, multi-sensor observations when combined with

  16. Late Oligocene–early Miocene birth of the Taklimakan Desert

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Hongbo; Wei, Xiaochun; Tada, Ryuji; Clift, Peter D.; Wang, Bin; Jourdan, Fred; Wang, Ping; He, Mengying

    2015-01-01

    As the world’s second largest sand sea and one of the most important dust sources to the global aerosol system, the formation of the Taklimakan Desert marks a major environmental event in central Asia during the Cenozoic. Determining when and how the desert formed holds the key to better understanding the tectonic–climatic linkage in this critical region. However, the age of the Taklimakan remains controversial, with the dominant view being from ∼3.4 Ma to ∼7 Ma based on magnetostratigraphy of sedimentary sequences within and along the margins of the desert. In this study, we applied radioisotopic methods to precisely date a volcanic tuff preserved in the stratigraphy. We constrained the initial desertification to be late Oligocene to early Miocene, between ∼26.7 Ma and 22.6 Ma. We suggest that the Taklimakan Desert was formed as a response to a combination of widespread regional aridification and increased erosion in the surrounding mountain fronts, both of which are closely linked to the tectonic uplift of the Tibetan–Pamir Plateau and Tian Shan, which had reached a climatically sensitive threshold at this time. PMID:26056281

  17. Late Oligocene-early Miocene birth of the Taklimakan Desert.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Hongbo; Wei, Xiaochun; Tada, Ryuji; Clift, Peter D; Wang, Bin; Jourdan, Fred; Wang, Ping; He, Mengying

    2015-06-23

    As the world's second largest sand sea and one of the most important dust sources to the global aerosol system, the formation of the Taklimakan Desert marks a major environmental event in central Asia during the Cenozoic. Determining when and how the desert formed holds the key to better understanding the tectonic-climatic linkage in this critical region. However, the age of the Taklimakan remains controversial, with the dominant view being from ∼ 3.4 Ma to ∼ 7 Ma based on magnetostratigraphy of sedimentary sequences within and along the margins of the desert. In this study, we applied radioisotopic methods to precisely date a volcanic tuff preserved in the stratigraphy. We constrained the initial desertification to be late Oligocene to early Miocene, between ∼ 26.7 Ma and 22.6 Ma. We suggest that the Taklimakan Desert was formed as a response to a combination of widespread regional aridification and increased erosion in the surrounding mountain fronts, both of which are closely linked to the tectonic uplift of the Tibetan-Pamir Plateau and Tian Shan, which had reached a climatically sensitive threshold at this time.

  18. Steam sand dryer in northeast part of sand tower. View ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    Steam sand dryer in northeast part of sand tower. View to northeast - Duluth & Iron Range Rail Road Company Shops, Sand Tower, Southwest of downtown Two Harbors, northwest of Agate Bay, Two Harbors, Lake County, MN

  19. The effects of psammophilous plants on sand dune dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bel, Golan; Ashkenazy, Yosef

    2014-07-01

    Mathematical models of sand dune dynamics have considered different types of sand dune cover. However, despite the important role of psammophilous plants (plants that flourish in moving-sand environments) in dune dynamics, the incorporation of their effects into mathematical models of sand dunes remains a challenging task. Here we propose a nonlinear physical model for the role of psammophilous plants in the stabilization and destabilization of sand dunes. There are two main mechanisms by which the wind affects these plants: (i) sand drift results in the burial and exposure of plants, a process that is known to result in an enhanced growth rate, and (ii) strong winds remove shoots and rhizomes and seed them in nearby locations, enhancing their growth rate. Our model describes the temporal evolution of the fractions of surface cover of regular vegetation, biogenic soil crust, and psammophilous plants. The latter reach their optimal growth under either (i) specific sand drift or (ii) specific wind power. The model exhibits complex bifurcation diagrams and dynamics, which explain observed phenomena, and it predicts new dune stabilization scenarios. Depending on the climatological conditions, it is possible to obtain one, two, or, predicted here for the first time, three stable dune states. Our model shows that the development of the different cover types depends on the precipitation rate and the wind power and that the psammophilous plants are not always the first to grow and stabilize the dunes.

  20. The sedimentary structure of linear sand dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bristow, C. S.; Bailey, S. D.; Lancaster, N.

    2000-07-01

    Linear sand dunes-dunes that extend parallel to each other rather than in star-like or crescentic forms-are the most abundant type of desert sand dune. But because their development and their internal structure are poorly understood, they are rarely recognized in the rock record. Models of linear dune development have not been able to take into account the sub-surface structure of existing dunes, but have relied instead either on the extrapolation of short-term measurements of winds and sediment transport or on observations of near-surface internal sedimentary structures. From such studies, it has not been clear if linear dunes can migrate laterally. Here we present images produced by ground penetrating radar showing the three-dimensional sedimentary structure of a linear dune in the Namib sand sea, where some of the world's largest linear dunes are situated. These profiles show clear evidence for lateral migration in a linear dune. Moreover, the migration of a sinuous crest-line along the dune produces divergent sets of cross-stratification, which can become stacked as the dune height increases, and large linear dunes can support superimposed dunes that produce stacked sets of trough cross-stratification. These clear structural signatures of linear dunes should facilitate their recognition in geological records.

  1. The sedimentary structure of linear sand dunes

    PubMed

    Bristow; Bailey; Lancaster

    2000-07-06

    Linear sand dunes--dunes that extend parallel to each other rather than in star-like or crescentic forms--are the most abundant type of desert sand dune. But because their development and their internal structure are poorly understood, they are rarely recognized in the rock record. Models of linear dune development have not been able to take into account the sub-surface structure of existing dunes, but have relied instead either on the extrapolation of short-term measurements of winds and sediment transport or on observations of near-surface internal sedimentary structures. From such studies, it has not been clear if linear dunes can migrate laterally. Here we present images produced by ground penetrating radar showing the three-dimensional sedimentary structure of a linear dune in the Namib sand sea, where some of the world's largest linear dunes are situated. These profiles show clear evidence for lateral migration in a linear dune. Moreover, the migration of a sinuous crest-line along the dune produces divergent sets of cross-stratification, which can become stacked as the dune height increases, and large linear dunes can support superimposed dunes that produce stacked sets of trough cross-stratification. These clear structural signatures of linear dunes should facilitate their recognition in geological records.

  2. An Affair with Sand.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stroud, Sharon

    1980-01-01

    Described is a resource idea developed for the teaching of oceanography to junior high students. Sand is studied to help make the study of beaches more relevant to students who may have never seen an ocean. Sand samples are brought into the classroom from various coastal cities, then analyzed and compared. (Author/DS)

  3. An Affair with Sand.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stroud, Sharon

    1980-01-01

    Described is a resource idea developed for the teaching of oceanography to junior high students. Sand is studied to help make the study of beaches more relevant to students who may have never seen an ocean. Sand samples are brought into the classroom from various coastal cities, then analyzed and compared. (Author/DS)

  4. Insecticide Treated Camouflage Sceening Reduces Sand Fly Numbers in Leishmania-Endemic Regions in Kenya

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Current U.S. military operations in deserts face persistent threats from sand flies that transmit human Leishmania. In this study we investigated the efficacy of artificial barriers treated with residual insecticide to potentially reduce the risk of human infection from leishmaniasis by reducing the...

  5. Carbon exchange in biological soil crust communities under differential temperatures and soil water contents: implications for global change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grote, Edmund E.; Belnap, Jayne; Housman, David C.; Sparks, Jed P.

    2010-01-01

    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are an integral part of the soil system in arid regions worldwide, stabilizing soil surfaces, aiding vascular plant establishment, and are significant sources of ecosystem nitrogen and carbon. Hydration and temperature primarily control ecosystem CO2 flux in these systems. Using constructed mesocosms for incubations under controlled laboratory conditions, we examined the effect of temperature (5-35 1C) and water content (WC, 20-100%) on CO2 exchange in light cyanobacterially dominated) and dark cyanobacteria/lichen and moss dominated) biocrusts of the cool Colorado Plateau Desert in Utah and the hot Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. In light crusts from both Utah and New Mexico, net photosynthesis was highest at temperatures 430 1C. Net photosynthesis in light crusts from Utah was relatively insensitive to changes in soil moisture. In contrast, light crusts from New Mexico tended to exhibit higher rates of net photosynthesis at higher soil moisture. Dark crusts originating from both sites exhibited the greatest net photosynthesis at intermediate soil water content (40-60%). Declines in net photosynthesis were observed in dark crusts with crusts from Utah showing declines at temperatures 425 1C and those originating from New Mexico showing declines at temperatures 435 1C. Maximum net photosynthesis in all crust types from all locations were strongly influenced by offsets in the optimal temperature and water content for gross photosynthesis compared with dark respiration. Gross photosynthesis tended to be maximized at some intermediate value of temperature and water content and dark respiration tended to increase linearly. The results of this study suggest biocrusts are capable of CO2 exchange under a wide range of conditions. However, significant changes in the magnitude of this exchange should be expected for the temperature and precipitation changes suggested by current climate models.

  6. Elemental profiles and signatures of fugitive dusts from Chinese deserts.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Rong; Cao, Junji; Tang, Yanrong; Arimoto, Richard; Shen, Zhenxing; Wu, Feng; Han, Yongming; Wang, Gehui; Zhang, Jiaquan; Li, Guohui

    2014-02-15

    Elemental profiles were determined for size-separated fugitive dust particles produced from Chinese desert and gobi soils. Seventeen surface soil samples from six Chinese deserts were collected, composited, resuspended, and sampled through TSP, PM10, and PM2.5 inlets onto Teflon® filters, which were analyzed for twenty-six elements. Two major dust sources could be distinguished based on differences in crustal and enriched elements-the northwestern (NW) region (Taklimakan Desert, Xinjiang Gobi, and Anxinan Gobi) and northern (N) region (Ulan Buh Desert, Central Inner Mongolia Desert, and Erenhot Gobi). The N sources showed lower concentrations of mineral elements (Fe, K, Na, Ti, Mn, Cr, and Rb in PM10, and Fe, K, Ti, Mn, Co, and V in PM2.5) and higher levels of contaminants (S, Zn, Mo, Cu, Cr, Pb, Cd, and As) than the NW ones, especially in PM2.5. Enrichment factors for Cu, Cr, Zn, Pb, As, Mo, and Cd calculated relative to the upper continental crust showed enrichments of one to two orders-of-magnitude, and they were much higher for N sources than NW ones, implying stronger anthropogenic impacts in north China. Aerosol elemental concentrations during dust events at Horqin, Beijing, and Xi'an matched the mass percentages of mineral elements from their presumptive sources better than the alternative ones, validating the differences between the NW and N sources. Additionally, Na/S, Mg/S, Fe/Al, K/Al, Si/Fe, and Na/Al ratios were suggested to differentiate the two dust source regions. The elemental ratios of Ca/Al, K/Al, Fe/Al, and Ti/Fe in the source regions matched those in aerosols collected downwind, and they can be considered as possible source indicators. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. GALENICALS IN THE TREATMENT OF CRUSTED SCABIES

    PubMed Central

    Sugathan, P; Martin, Abhay Mani

    2010-01-01

    Crusted scabies is rare. It is a therapeutic challenge, as the common drugs used against scabies are unsatisfactory. The successful use of galenicals in a 10-year-old girl with crusted scabies is reported. PMID:20606896

  8. Collescipoli - An unusual fusion crust glass. [chondrite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nozette, S.

    1979-01-01

    An electron microprobe study was conducted on glass fragments taken from the fusion crust and an internal glass-lined vein in the H-5 chondrite Collescipoli. Microprobe analyses of the glasses revealed an unusual fusion crust composition, and analyses of glass from inside the meteorite showed compositions expected for a melt of an H-group chondrite. Studies of fusion crusts by previous workers, e.g., Krinov and Ramdohr, showed that fusion crusts contain large amounts of magnetite and other oxidized minerals. The Collescipoli fusion crusts do contain these minerals, but they also contain relatively large amounts of reduced metal, sulphide, and a sodium-rich glass. This study seems to indicate that Collescipoli preserved an early type of fusion crust. Oxidation was incomplete in the fusion crust melt that drained into a crack. From this study it is concluded that fusion crust formation does not invariably result in complete oxidation of metal and sulphide phases.

  9. Desert Experimental Range: Annotated bibliography

    Treesearch

    E. Durant McArthur; Stanley G. Kitchen

    2013-01-01

    Entries qualify for inclusion if they were conducted in whole or part at the Desert Experimental Range (DER, also known as the Desert Range Experiment Station) or were based on DER research in whole or part. They do not qualify merely by the author having worked at the DER when the research was performed or prepared. Entries were drawn from the original abstracts or...

  10. Influence of development stage and disturbance of physical and biological soil crusts on soil water erosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chamizo, S.; Cantón, Y.; Lázaro, R.; Solé-Benet, A.; Calvo-Cases, A.; Miralles, I.; Domingo, F.

    2009-04-01

    Most soils exposed to rainfall are prone to sealing and crusting processes causing physical soil crusts (PSCs). When climate and soil stability conditions are suitable, PSCs can be consolidated by a complex community consisting of cyanobacteria, bacteria, green algae, microfungi, lichens and bryophytes, which are collectively known as biological soil crust (BSC). The influence of soil crusts on erosion processes is complex: crusts may reduce detachment, increasing soil stability and protecting soil against raindrop impact, although that protection will depend on the type of soil crust and the stage of development; they can also build up runoff, suggesting that downstream erosion may actually be increased or favoured water harvesting to vegetated areas. On the other hand, BSCs have been demonstrated to be very vulnerable to disturbance which in turn can lead to accelerate soil erosion and other forms of land degradation. Incorporation of the response of different type of soil crusts and the effects of their disturbance is highly likely to improve the prediction of runoff and water erosion models in arid and semi-arid catchments. The objective of this work is to analyse the erosional response of PSCs and BSCs in different stages of their development and subject to distinct disturbances when extreme rainfalls intensities are applied at plot scale in semiarid environments. Small plots on the most representative crust types, corresponding to different stages of crust development, in two semiarid ecosystems in SE Spain, El Cautivo (in the Tabernas Desert) and Amoladeras (in the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar), were selected and three disturbance treatments were applied on each crust type: a) no disturbance (control), b) trampling, stepping 100 times over the crust and c) scraping. Two consecutive rainfall simulation experiments (50 mm/h rainfall intensity) were carried out on each plot: the first on dry soil and the second, 30 minutes later, on wet soil conditions

  11. Impact and monitoring of dust storms in Taklimakan desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, G. G.; Li, X.; Zheng, Z.

    2012-12-01

    The Taklimakan is China's largest, driest, and warmest desert in total area of 338000km^2 with perimeter of 436 km, it is also known as one of the world's largest shifting-sand deserts. Fully 85 percent of the total area consists of mobile, crescent-shaped sand dunes and are virtually devoid of vegetation. The abundant sand provides material for frequent intense dust storms. The Taklimakan desert fills the expansive Tarim Basin between the Kunlun Mountains and the Tibet Plateau to the south and the Tian Shan Mountains to the north. The Tarim River flows across the basin from west-to-east. In these places, the oases created by fresh surface water support agriculture. Studies outside Xinjiang indicated that 80% dust source of storms was from farmland. Dust storms in the Tarim Basin occur for 20 to 59 days, mainly in spring every year. However, little effort was taken to investigate soil wind erosion and dust emission around the desert. Quantitative understanding of individual dust events in the arid Taklimakan desert, for example, the dust emission rates and the long-range transport, are still incomplete. Therefore, the dust events were observed through routine satellite sensors, lidar instruments, airborne samplers, and surface-based aerosol monitors. Soil wind erosion and suspended particulates emission of four major dust storms from the desert and the typical oasis farmlands at the north rim of the desert were measured using creep sampler, BSNE and TSP at eight heights in 2012. In addition, Aqua satellite AOD data, the NAAPS Global Aeosol model, the CALIPSO satellite products, EPA's AirNow AQI of PM2.5 and HYSPLIT Back Trajectory model were applied to analyze dust transport across the Pacific. Four significant dust storms were observed at the north rim of Taklimakan desert in the spring, 2012. During those events, predominant wind direction ranged from 296 to 334°, wind speed over 7 m/s at 2 m lasted for 471-1074 min, gust wind speed ranged from 11-18m/s. It was

  12. Risk assessment of desert pollution on composite high voltage insulators.

    PubMed

    El-Shahat, Mohammed; Anis, Hussein

    2014-09-01

    Transmission lines located in the desert are subjected to desert climate, one of whose features is sandstorms. With long accumulation of sand and with the advent of moisture from rain, ambient humidity and dew, a conductive layer forms and the subsequent leakage current may lead to surface discharge, which may shorten the insulator life or lead to flashover thus interrupting the power supply. Strategically erected power lines in the Egyptian Sinai desert are typically subject to such a risk, where sandstorms are known to be common especially in the spring. In view of the very high cost of insulator cleaning operation, composite (silicon rubber) insulators are nominated to replace ceramic insulators on transmission lines in Sinai. This paper examines the flow of leakage current on sand-polluted composite insulators, which in turn enables a risk assessment of insulator failure. The study uses realistic data compiled and reported in an earlier research project about Sinai, which primarily included grain sizes of polluting sand as well as their salinity content. The paper also uses as a case study an ABB-designed composite insulator. A three-dimensional finite element technique is used to simulate the insulator and seek the potential and electric field distribution as well as the resulting leakage current flow on its polluted surface. A novel method is used to derive the probabilistic features of the insulator's leakage current, which in turn enables a risk assessment of insulator failure. This study is expected to help in critically assessing - and thus justifying - the use of this type of insulators in Sinai and similar critical areas.

  13. Risk assessment of desert pollution on composite high voltage insulators

    PubMed Central

    El-Shahat, Mohammed; Anis, Hussein

    2013-01-01

    Transmission lines located in the desert are subjected to desert climate, one of whose features is sandstorms. With long accumulation of sand and with the advent of moisture from rain, ambient humidity and dew, a conductive layer forms and the subsequent leakage current may lead to surface discharge, which may shorten the insulator life or lead to flashover thus interrupting the power supply. Strategically erected power lines in the Egyptian Sinai desert are typically subject to such a risk, where sandstorms are known to be common especially in the spring. In view of the very high cost of insulator cleaning operation, composite (silicon rubber) insulators are nominated to replace ceramic insulators on transmission lines in Sinai. This paper examines the flow of leakage current on sand-polluted composite insulators, which in turn enables a risk assessment of insulator failure. The study uses realistic data compiled and reported in an earlier research project about Sinai, which primarily included grain sizes of polluting sand as well as their salinity content. The paper also uses as a case study an ABB-designed composite insulator. A three-dimensional finite element technique is used to simulate the insulator and seek the potential and electric field distribution as well as the resulting leakage current flow on its polluted surface. A novel method is used to derive the probabilistic features of the insulator’s leakage current, which in turn enables a risk assessment of insulator failure. This study is expected to help in critically assessing – and thus justifying – the use of this type of insulators in Sinai and similar critical areas. PMID:25685525

  14. Watching Faults Grow in Sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooke, M. L.

    2015-12-01

    Accretionary sandbox experiments provide a rich environment for investigating the processes of fault development. These experiments engage students because 1) they enable direct observation of fault growth, which is impossible in the crust (type 1 physical model), 2) they are not only representational but can also be manipulated (type 2 physical model), 3) they can be used to test hypotheses (type 3 physical model) and 4) they resemble experiments performed by structural geology researchers around the world. The structural geology courses at UMass Amherst utilize a series of accretionary sandboxes experiments where students first watch a video of an experiment and then perform a group experiment. The experiments motivate discussions of what conditions they would change and what outcomes they would expect from these changes; hypothesis development. These discussions inevitably lead to calculations of the scaling relationships between model and crustal fault growth and provide insight into the crustal processes represented within the dry sand. Sketching of the experiments has been shown to be a very effective assessment method as the students reveal which features they are analyzing. Another approach used at UMass is to set up a forensic experiment. The experiment is set up with spatially varying basal friction before the meeting and students must figure out what the basal conditions are through the experiment. This experiment leads to discussions of equilibrium and force balance within the accretionary wedge. Displacement fields can be captured throughout the experiment using inexpensive digital image correlation techniques to foster quantitative analysis of the experiments.

  15. Eolian sand transport pathways in the southwestern United States: Importance of the Colorado River and local sources

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muhs, D.R.; Reynolds, R.L.; Been, J.; Skipp, G.

    2003-01-01

    Geomorphologists have long recognized that eolian sand transport pathways extend over long distances in desert regions. Along such pathways, sediment transport by wind can surmount topographic obstacles and cross major drainages. Recent studies have suggested that three distinct eolian sand transport pathways exist (or once existed) in the Mojave and Sonoran Desert regions of the southwestern United States. One hypothesized pathway is colian sand transport from the eastern Mojave Desert of California into western Arizona, near Parker, and would require sand movement across what must have been at least a seasonally dry Colorado River valley. We tested this hypothesis by mineralogical, geochemical and magnetic analyses of eolian sands on both sides of the Colorado River, as well as sediment from the river itself. Results indicate that dunes on opposite sides of the Colorado River are mineralogically distinct: eastern California dunes are feldspar-rich whereas western Arizona dunes are quartz-rich, derived from quartz-rich Colorado River sediments. Because of historic vegetation changes, little new sediment from the Colorado River is presently available to supply the Parker dunes. Based on this study and previous work, the Colorado River is now known to be the source of sand for at least three of the major dune fields of the Sonoran Desert of western Arizona and northern Mexico. On the other hand, locally derived alluvium appears to be a more important source of dune fields in the Mojave Desert of California. Although many geomorphologists have stressed the importance of large fluvial systems in the origin of desert dune fields, few empirical data actually exist to support this theory. The results presented here demonstrate that a major river system in the southwestern United States is a barrier to the migration of some dune fields, but essential to the origin of others. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

  16. Basaltic island sand provenance

    SciTech Connect

    Marsaglia, K.M. . Dept. of Geological Sciences)

    1992-01-01

    The Hawaiian Islands are an ideal location to study basaltic sand provenance in that they are a series of progressively older basaltic shield volcanoes with arid to humid microclimates. Sixty-two sand samples were collected from beaches on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu and Kauai and petrographically analyzed. The major sand components are calcareous bioclasts, volcanic lithic fragments, and monomineralic grains of dense minerals and plagioclase. Proportions of these components vary from island to island, with bioclastic end members being more prevalent on older islands exhibiting well-developed fringing reef systems and volcanic end members more prevalent on younger, volcanically active islands. Climatic variations across the island of Hawaii are reflected in the percentage of weathered detritus, which is greater on the wetter, northern side of the island. The groundmass of glassy, basaltic lithics is predominantly black tachylite, with lesser brown sideromelane; microlitic and lathwork textures are more common than holohyaline vitric textures. Other common basaltic volcanic lithic fragments are holocrystalline aggregates of silt-sized pyroxene or olivine, opaque minerals and plagioclase. Sands derived from alkalic lavas are texturally and compositionally indistinguishable from sands derived from tholeiitic lavas. Although Hawaiian basaltic sands overlap in composition with magmatic arc-derived sands in terms of their relative QFL, QmPK and LmLvLs percentages, they are dissimilar in that they lack felsic components and are more enriched in lathwork volcanic lithic fragments, holocrystalline volcanic lithic fragments, and dense minerals.

  17. Design criteria for light high speed desert air cushion vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abulnaga, B. E.

    An evaluation is made of the applicability and prospective performance of ACVs in trans-Saharan cargo transport, in view of the unique characteristics of the dry sand environment. The lightweight/high-speed ACV concept envisioned is essentially ground effect aircraftlike, with conventional wheels as a low-speed backup suspension system. A propeller is used in ground effect cruise. Attention is given to the effects on vehicle stability and performance of sandy surface irregularities of the desert topography and of cross-winds from various directions relative to vehicle movement.

  18. Earthquakes in stable continental crust

    SciTech Connect

    Johnson, A.C.; Kanter, L.R. )

    1990-03-01

    Earthquakes can strike even in stable crust, well away from the familiar earthquake zones at the edges of tectonic plates, but their mere occurrence is both a source of concern in planning critical facilities such as nuclear power plants. The authors sought answers to two major questions: Just how much seismic activity does take place within the stable parts of continents And are there specific geologic features that make some areas of stable crust particularly susceptible to earthquakes They began by studying North America alone, but it soon became clear that the fairly short record of these rare events on a single continent would not provide enough data for reliable analysis. Hence, they decided to substitute space for time--to survey earthquake frequency and distribution in stable continental areas worldwide. This paper discusses their findings.

  19. Magnetic structure of the crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wasilewski, P.

    1985-01-01

    The bibuniqueness aspect of geophysical interpretation must be constrained by geological insight to limit the range of theoretically possible models. An additional step in depth understanding of the relationship between rock magnetization and geological circumstances on a grand scale is required. Views about crustal structure and the distribution of lithologies suggests a complex situation with lateral and vertical variability at all levels in the crust. Volcanic, plutonic, and metamorphic processes together with each of the observed anomalies. Important questions are addressed: (1) the location of the magnetic bottom; (2) whether the source is a discrete one or are certain parts of the crust cumulatively contributing to the overall magnetization; (3) if the anomaly to some recognizable surface expression is localized, how to arrive at a geologically realistic model incorporating magnetization contrasts which are realistic; (3) in the way the primary mineralogies are altered by metamorphism and the resulting magnetic contracts; (4) the effects of temperature and pressure on magnetization.

  20. Supersymmetry without the Desert

    SciTech Connect

    Nomura, Yasunori; Poland, David

    2006-09-26

    Naturalness of electroweak symmetry breaking in weak scale supersymmetric theories may suggest the absence of the conventional supersymmetric desert. We present a simple, realistic framework for supersymmetry in which (most of) the virtues of the supersymmetric desert are naturally reproduced without having a large energy interval above the weak scale. The successful supersymmetric prediction for the low-energy gauge couplings is reproduced due to a gauged R symmetry present in the effective theory at the weak scale. The observable sector superpotential naturally takes the form of the next-to-minimal supersymmetric standard model, but without being subject to the Landau pole constraints up to the conventional unification scale. Supersymmetry breaking masses are generated by the F-term and D-term VEVs of singlet and U(1){sub R} gauge fields, as well as by anomaly mediation, at a scale not far above the weak scale. We study the resulting pattern of supersymmetry breaking masses in detail, and find that it can be quite distinct. We construct classes of explicit models within this framework, based on higher dimensional unified theories with TeV-sized extra dimensions. A similar model based on a non-R symmetry is also presented. These models have a rich phenomenology at the TeV scale, and allow for detailed analyses of, e.g., electroweak symmetry breaking.

  1. Desert landscape irrigation

    SciTech Connect

    Quinones, R.

    1995-06-01

    Industrialization can take place in an arid environment if a long term, overall water management program is developed. The general rule to follow is that recharge must equal or exceed use. The main problem encountered in landscape projects is that everyone wants a lush jungle setting, tall shade trees, ferns, with a variety of floral arrangements mixed in. What we want, what we can afford, and what we get are not always the same. Vegetation that requires large quantities of water are not native to any desert. Surprisingly; there are various types of fruit trees, and vegetables that will thrive in the desert. Peaches, plums, nut trees, do well with drip irrigation as well as tomatoes. Shaded berry plans will also do well, the strawberry being one. In summary; if we match our landscape to our area, we can then design our irrigation system to maintain our landscape and grow a variety of vegetation in any arid or semiarid environment. The application of science and economics to landscaping has now come of age.

  2. Fine gravel controls hydrologic and erodibility responses to trampling disturbance for coarse-textured soils with weak cyanobacterial crusts.

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    We compared short-term effects of lug-soled boot trampling disturbance on water infiltration and soil erodibility on coarse-textured soils covered by a mixture of fine gravel and coarse sand over weak cyanobacterially-dominated biological soil crusts. Trampling significantly reduced final infiltrati...

  3. Industrial sand and gravel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolley, T.P.

    2010-01-01

    Domestic production of industrial sand and gravel in 2009 was about 27 Mt (30 million st), declining by 10 percent compared with 2008. Certain end uses of industrial sand and gravel, such as foundry and glassmaking sand, may have declined by a factor greater than 10 percent in 2009. U.S. apparent consumption was 24.7 Mt (27.2 million st) in 2009, down by 10 percent from the previous year, and imports declined to 83 kt (91,000 st).

  4. Metamorphism in the Martian crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McSween, Harry Y.; Labotka, Theodore C.; Viviano-Beck, Christina E.

    2015-04-01

    Compositions of basaltic and ultramafic rocks analyzed by Mars rovers and occurring as Martian meteorites allow predictions of metamorphic mineral assemblages that would form under various thermophysical conditions. Key minerals identified by remote sensing roughly constrain temperatures and pressures in the Martian crust. We use a traditional metamorphic approach (phase diagrams) to assess low-grade/hydrothermal equilibrium assemblages. Basaltic rocks should produce chlorite + actinolite + albite + silica, accompanied by laumontite, pumpellyite, prehnite, or serpentine/talc. Only prehnite-bearing assemblages have been spectrally identified on Mars, although laumontite and pumpellyite have spectra similar to other uncharacterized zeolites and phyllosilicates. Ultramafic rocks are predicted to produce serpentine, talc, and magnesite, all of which have been detected spectrally on Mars. Mineral assemblages in both basaltic and ultramafic rocks constrain fluid compositions to be H2O-rich and CO2-poor. We confirm the hypothesis that low-grade/hydrothermal metamorphism affected the Noachian crust on Mars, which has been excavated in large craters. We estimate the geothermal gradient (>20 °C km-1) required to produce the observed assemblages. This gradient is higher than that estimated from radiogenic heat-producing elements in the crust, suggesting extra heating by regional hydrothermal activity.

  5. Continental crust beneath southeast Iceland

    PubMed Central

    Torsvik, Trond H.; Amundsen, Hans E. F.; Trønnes, Reidar G.; Doubrovine, Pavel V.; Gaina, Carmen; Kusznir, Nick J.; Steinberger, Bernhard; Corfu, Fernando; Ashwal, Lewis D.; Griffin, William L.; Werner, Stephanie C.; Jamtveit, Bjørn

    2015-01-01

    The magmatic activity (0–16 Ma) in Iceland is linked to a deep mantle plume that has been active for the past 62 My. Icelandic and northeast Atlantic basalts contain variable proportions of two enriched components, interpreted as recycled oceanic crust supplied by the plume, and subcontinental lithospheric mantle derived from the nearby continental margins. A restricted area in southeast Iceland—and especially the Öræfajökull volcano—is characterized by a unique enriched-mantle component (EM2-like) with elevated 87Sr/86Sr and 207Pb/204Pb. Here, we demonstrate through modeling of Sr–Nd–Pb abundances and isotope ratios that the primitive Öræfajökull melts could have assimilated 2–6% of underlying continental crust before differentiating to more evolved melts. From inversion of gravity anomaly data (crustal thickness), analysis of regional magnetic data, and plate reconstructions, we propose that continental crust beneath southeast Iceland is part of ∼350-km-long and 70-km-wide extension of the Jan Mayen Microcontinent (JMM). The extended JMM was marginal to East Greenland but detached in the Early Eocene (between 52 and 47 Mya); by the Oligocene (27 Mya), all parts of the JMM permanently became part of the Eurasian plate following a westward ridge jump in the direction of the Iceland plume. PMID:25825769

  6. Magnetization of the Lunar Crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carley, R. A.; Whaler, K. A.; Purucker, M. E.; Halekas, J. S.

    2012-01-01

    Magnetic fields measured by the satellite Lunar Prospector show large scale features resulting from remanently magnetized crust. Vector data synthesized at satellite altitude from a spherical harmonic model of the lunar crustal field, and the radial component of the magnetometer data, have been used to produce spatially continuous global magnetization models for the lunar crust. The magnetization is expressed in terms of localized basis functions, with a magnetization solution selected having the smallest root-mean square magnetization for a given fit to the data, controlled by a damping parameter. Suites of magnetization models for layers with thicknesses between 10 and 50 km are able to reproduce much of the input data, with global misfits of less than 0.5 nT (within the uncertainties of the data), and some surface field estimates. The magnetization distributions show robust magnitudes for a range of model thicknesses and damping parameters, however the magnetization direction is unconstrained. These global models suggest that magnetized sources of the lunar crust can be represented by a 30 km thick magnetized layer. Average magnetization values in magnetized regions are 30-40 mA/m, similar to the measured magnetizations of the Apollo samples and significantly weaker than crustal magnetizations for Mars and the Earth. These are the first global magnetization models for the Moon, providing lower bounds on the magnitude of lunar crustal magnetization in the absence of multiple sample returns, and can be used to predict the crustal contribution to the lunar magnetic field at a particular location.

  7. Continental crust beneath southeast Iceland.

    PubMed

    Torsvik, Trond H; Amundsen, Hans E F; Trønnes, Reidar G; Doubrovine, Pavel V; Gaina, Carmen; Kusznir, Nick J; Steinberger, Bernhard; Corfu, Fernando; Ashwal, Lewis D; Griffin, William L; Werner, Stephanie C; Jamtveit, Bjørn

    2015-04-14

    The magmatic activity (0-16 Ma) in Iceland is linked to a deep mantle plume that has been active for the past 62 My. Icelandic and northeast Atlantic basalts contain variable proportions of two enriched components, interpreted as recycled oceanic crust supplied by the plume, and subcontinental lithospheric mantle derived from the nearby continental margins. A restricted area in southeast Iceland--and especially the Öræfajökull volcano--is characterized by a unique enriched-mantle component (EM2-like) with elevated (87)Sr/(86)Sr and (207)Pb/(204)Pb. Here, we demonstrate through modeling of Sr-Nd-Pb abundances and isotope ratios that the primitive Öræfajökull melts could have assimilated 2-6% of underlying continental crust before differentiating to more evolved melts. From inversion of gravity anomaly data (crustal thickness), analysis of regional magnetic data, and plate reconstructions, we propose that continental crust beneath southeast Iceland is part of ∼350-km-long and 70-km-wide extension of the Jan Mayen Microcontinent (JMM). The extended JMM was marginal to East Greenland but detached in the Early Eocene (between 52 and 47 Mya); by the Oligocene (27 Mya), all parts of the JMM permanently became part of the Eurasian plate following a westward ridge jump in the direction of the Iceland plume.

  8. New species of Stenodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Sharqiyah Sands in northeastern Oman.

    PubMed

    Metallinou, Margarita; Carranza, Salvador

    2013-12-06

    A new species of gecko of the genus Stenodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) is described from the dune desert of Al Sharqiyah Sands in northeastern Oman. Stenodactylus sharqiyahensis sp. nov. is characterized morphologically by its small size, snout shape, webbing between fingers not very extended, relatively short limbs, and scalation. It is genetically distinct in the mitochondrial DNA and the nuclear MC1R gene from Stenodactylus arabicus to which it has previously been referred. The new species seems to have a restricted distribution confined to the Sharqiyah Sands, which remain isolated from other sand deserts in Arabia. In addition, the data presented herein confirm new locality records for Stenodactylus arabicus in the easternmost limit of its distribution range in western central Oman. 

  9. Physiological responses of soil crust-forming cyanobacteria to diurnal temperature variation.

    PubMed

    Wang, Weibo; Wang, Yingcai; Shu, Xiao; Zhang, Quanfa

    2013-01-01

    The optimum growth of soil crust-forming cyanobacterial species occurs between 21 and 30 °C. When the temperature decreases below -5 °C, the liquid water in the cyanobacterial cells may freeze. In the natural environment, the temperature gradually decreases from autumn to winter, and the diurnal temperatures fluctuate enormously. It was hypothesized that the physiology of cyanobacterial cells changes in later autumn to acclimatize the cells to the upcoming freezing temperatures. In the present study, an incubation experiment in growth chambers was designed to stimulate the responses of cyanobacterial cells to diurnal temperature variations before freezing in late autumn. The results showed that "light" cyanobacterial soil crusts are more tolerant to diurnal temperature fluctuations than "dark" cyanobacterial soil crusts. After the first diurnal temperature cycle between 24 and -4 °C, the malondialdehyde (MDA) contents increased and the photosynthetic activity decreased. The superoxide dismutase activity increased, more extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) were secreted and the ratios of the light-harvesting and light-screening pigments decreased. With increasing numbers of diurnal temperature cycles, the MDA contents and photosynthetic activity gradually returned to their initial levels. Our results suggest that there are at least three pathways by which crust-forming cyanobacteria acclimate to the diurnal temperature cycles in the late autumn in the Hopq Desert, Northwest China. These three pathways include increased secretion of EPS, regulation of the ratios of light-harvesting and light-screening pigments, and activation of the antioxidant system. The results also indicate that late autumn is a critical period for the protection and restoration of the cyanobacterial soil crusts in the Hopq Desert.

  10. Geomorphology of MODIS-Visible Dust Plumes in the Chihuahuan Desert - Preliminary Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gill, T. E.; Mbuh, M. J.; Dominguez, M. A.; Lee, J. A.; Baddock, M. C.; Lee, C. E.; Whitehead, S. C.; Rivera Rivera, N. I.; Peinado, P.

    2009-12-01

    We identified 28 days since 2001 when blowing dust impacted El Paso, Texas and dust plumes were visible on NASA MODIS Terra/Aqua satellite images in the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. Initiation points of >270 individual plumes were located on the MODIS images. Land use/land cover for each point was determined by field work, aerial photography, and/or soil/geological maps, and points were assigned to the geomorphic classes proposed by Bullard et al. (this session). Although dust plume identification is subjective (weak plumes, plumes obscured by clouds, and plumes occurring when the satellites are not overhead will be missed), these data provide preliminary information on the relationship between geomorphology and the initiation of major dust storms in the Chihuahuan Desert. Ephemeral lakes and alluvial low-relief non-incised lands are roughly equal producers of satellite-visible dust plumes in the Chihuahuan Desert. Anthropogenic modification of alluvial floodplains for cropping (primarily in the Casas Grandes and Del Carmen river basins) impacts dust generation, since about 2/3 of alluvial low-relief sites show evidence of agriculture. These agricultural fields are generally fallow during the November- April windy season. Not including agricultural lands, playas represent ~2x the number of sources as low-relief alluvial deposits. Aeolian sand deposits (predominantly coppice dunes and sand sheets overlaying alluvial or lacustrine sediments) account for about 1/7 of the points. These sands may act as erosional agents, providing saltating particles for sandblasting and bombardment of other sediments exposed nearby. Edges of ephemeral lakes are proportionally important sources (~10% of the points), likely due to the convergence of saltating sand, fine lacustrine sediments, and low roughness lengths of playa surfaces. Alluvial fans and alluvial uplands are minor dust sources compared to their overall prevalence in the region. Gobi/gibber/stony deposits are known dust

  11. High rates of denitrification and nitrous oxide emission in arid biological soil crusts from the Sultanate of Oman

    PubMed Central

    Abed, Raeid M M; Lam, Phyllis; de Beer, Dirk; Stief, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Using a combination of process rate determination, microsensor profiling and molecular techniques, we demonstrated that denitrification, and not anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), is the major nitrogen loss process in biological soil crusts from Oman. Potential denitrification rates were 584±101 and 58±20 μmol N m−2 h−1 for cyanobacterial and lichen crust, respectively. Complete denitrification to N2 was further confirmed by an 15NO3− tracer experiment with intact crust pieces that proceeded at rates of 103±19 and 27±8 μmol N m−2 h−1 for cyanobacterial and lichen crust, respectively. Strikingly, N2O gas was emitted at very high potential rates of 387±143 and 31±6 μmol N m−2 h−1 from the cyanobacterial and lichen crust, respectively, with N2O accounting for 53–66% of the total emission of nitrogenous gases. Microsensor measurements revealed that N2O was produced in the anoxic layer and thus apparently originated from incomplete denitrification. Using quantitative PCR, denitrification genes were detected in both the crusts and were expressed either in comparable (nirS) or slightly higher (narG) numbers in the cyanobacterial crusts. Although 99% of the nirS sequences in the cyanobacterial crust were affiliated to an uncultured denitrifying bacterium, 94% of these sequences were most closely affiliated to Paracoccus denitrificans in the lichen crust. Sequences of nosZ gene formed a distinct cluster that did not branch with known denitrifying bacteria. Our results demonstrate that nitrogen loss via denitrification is a dominant process in crusts from Oman, which leads to N2O gas emission and potentially reduces desert soil fertility. PMID:23575368

  12. The role of water content in triboelectric charging of wind-blown sand

    PubMed Central

    Gu, Zhaolin; Wei, Wei; Su, Junwei; Yu, Chuck Wah

    2013-01-01

    Triboelectric charging is common in desert sandstorms and dust devils on Earth; however, it remains poorly understood. Here we show a charging mechanism of sands with the adsorbed water on micro-porous surface in wind-blown sand based on the fact that water content is universal but usually a minor component in most particle systems. The triboelectric charging could be resulted due to the different mobility of H+/OH− between the contacting sands with a temperature difference. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element method (DEM) were used to demonstrate the dynamics of the sand charging. The numerically simulated charge-to-mass ratios of sands and electric field strength established in wind tunnel agreed well with the experimental data. The charging mechanism could provide an explanation for the charging process of all identical granular systems with water content, including Martian dust devils, wind-blown snow, even powder electrification in industrial processes. PMID:23434920

  13. Continental crust generated in oceanic arcs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gazel, Esteban; Hayes, Jorden L.; Hoernle, Kaj; Kelemen, Peter; Everson, Erik; Holbrook, W. Steven; Hauff, Folkmar; van den Bogaard, Paul; Vance, Eric A.; Chu, Shuyu; Calvert, Andrew J.; Carr, Michael J.; Yogodzinski, Gene M.

    2015-04-01

    Thin oceanic crust is formed by decompression melting of the upper mantle at mid-ocean ridges, but the origin of the thick and buoyant continental crust is enigmatic. Juvenile continental crust may form from magmas erupted above intra-oceanic subduction zones, where oceanic lithosphere subducts beneath other oceanic lithosphere. However, it is unclear why the subduction of dominantly basaltic oceanic crust would result in the formation of andesitic continental crust at the surface. Here we use geochemical and geophysical data to reconstruct the evolution of the Central American land bridge, which formed above an intra-oceanic subduction system over the past 70 Myr. We find that the geochemical signature of erupted lavas evolved from basaltic to andesitic about 10 Myr ago--coincident with the onset of subduction of more oceanic crust that originally formed above the Galápagos mantle plume. We also find that seismic P-waves travel through the crust at velocities intermediate between those typically observed for oceanic and continental crust. We develop a continentality index to quantitatively correlate geochemical composition with the average P-wave velocity of arc crust globally. We conclude that although the formation and evolution of continents may involve many processes, melting enriched oceanic crust within a subduction zone--a process probably more common in the Archaean--can produce juvenile continental crust.

  14. Sand Dunes in Spring

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2014-03-05

    NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Mars northern-most sand dunes beginning to emerge from their winter cover of seasonal carbon dioxide dry ice. Dark, bare south-facing slopes are soaking up the warmth of the sun.

  15. Sand consolidation methods

    SciTech Connect

    Friedman, R.H.

    1984-01-24

    Methods are provided for selectively consolidating sand grains within a subterranean formation. First an acidic salt catalyst such as ZnCl/sub 2/ is injected into the subterranean formation, wherein the acidic salt catalyst is adsorbed to the surface of the sand grains. Next a polymerizable resin composition such as furfuryl alcohol oligomer is introduced into the well formation. Polymerization of the resin occurs upon exposure to the elevated well temperatures and contact with the acid salt catalyst adsorbed to the sand grains. The polymerized resin serves to consolidate the surfaces of the sand grains while retaining permeability through the pore spaces. An ester of a weak organic acid is included with the resin compositions to control the extent of a polymerization by consuming the water by-product formed druing the polymerization reaction.

  16. Southern Sand Dunes

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2003-01-15

    At first glance, this NASA Mars Odyssey image showing impact craters and linear ridges and troughs is typical of the southern highlands. However, upon closer examination migrating sand dunes are observed within the troughs.

  17. The Flow of Sand.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yersel, Metin

    2000-01-01

    Describes a simple demonstration of the flow of sand through an orifice at the bottom of a sandbox. Advocates the experiment's use with dimensional analysis for students in an introductory physics course. (WRM)

  18. Sand Volcano Following Earthquake

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1989-01-01

    Sand boil or sand volcano measuring 2 m (6.6 ft.) in length erupted in median of Interstate Highway 80 west of the Bay Bridge toll plaza when ground shaking transformed loose water-saturated deposit of subsurface sand into a sand-water slurry (liquefaction) in the October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake. Vented sand contains marine-shell fragments. Sand and soil grains have faces that can cause friction as they roll and slide against each other, or even cause sticking and form small voids between grains. This complex behavior can cause soil to behave like a liquid under certain conditions such as earthquakes or when powders are handled in industrial processes. Mechanics of Granular Materials (MGM) experiments aboard the Space Shuttle use the microgravity of space to simulate this behavior under conditions that carnot be achieved in laboratory tests on Earth. MGM is shedding light on the behavior of fine-grain materials under low effective stresses. Applications include earthquake engineering, granular flow technologies (such as powder feed systems for pharmaceuticals and fertilizers), and terrestrial and planetary geology. Nine MGM specimens have flown on two Space Shuttle flights. Another three are scheduled to fly on STS-107. The principal investigator is Stein Sture of the University of Colorado at Boulder. (Credit: J.C. Tinsley, U.S. Geological Survey)

  19. Sand Volcano Following Earthquake

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1989-01-01

    Sand boil or sand volcano measuring 2 m (6.6 ft.) in length erupted in median of Interstate Highway 80 west of the Bay Bridge toll plaza when ground shaking transformed loose water-saturated deposit of subsurface sand into a sand-water slurry (liquefaction) in the October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake. Vented sand contains marine-shell fragments. Sand and soil grains have faces that can cause friction as they roll and slide against each other, or even cause sticking and form small voids between grains. This complex behavior can cause soil to behave like a liquid under certain conditions such as earthquakes or when powders are handled in industrial processes. Mechanics of Granular Materials (MGM) experiments aboard the Space Shuttle use the microgravity of space to simulate this behavior under conditions that carnot be achieved in laboratory tests on Earth. MGM is shedding light on the behavior of fine-grain materials under low effective stresses. Applications include earthquake engineering, granular flow technologies (such as powder feed systems for pharmaceuticals and fertilizers), and terrestrial and planetary geology. Nine MGM specimens have flown on two Space Shuttle flights. Another three are scheduled to fly on STS-107. The principal investigator is Stein Sture of the University of Colorado at Boulder. (Credit: J.C. Tinsley, U.S. Geological Survey)

  20. Spectral detection of different types of soil crusts under intact and disturbance conditions in semiarid environments from SE Spain.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chamizo, S.; Stevens, A.; Cantón, Y.; Domingo, F.; van Wesemael, B.

    2009-04-01

    Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) consist of an association of soil particles with cyanobacteria, algae, microfungi, liverworts, bryophytes and lichens creating a cohesive thin horizontal layer on the soil surface. They have a widespread distribution in arid and semiarid regions, which comprise over 40% of the world's land surface. BSCs play an important role on hydrological and ecological functioning of arid and semiarid ecosystems since they influence all components of hydrological balance (runoff, rainfall capture, infiltration, evaporation, water retention capacity) and erosion. It is well known that BSCs at local scale reduce water erosion by protecting soil against raindrop impact. However, their effects have to be evaluated at different spatial scales, because in many cases BSCs lead to an increase of runoff and downslope erosion or water harvesting from crusted areas to nourish adjacent vegetated areas. Moreover, BSCs are easily damaged by livestock or human activities and the disturbance usually has great significance for the coverage and the composition of the community of the BSCs, the developmental stage of the BSC and their effects on hydrology and erosion. So, to accurately predict runoff and erosion processes, the spatial distribution of soil crust types and their disturbance conditions should be included in models. To map soil crusting at large scales, the use of their spectral characteristics can be a useful method. The objectives of this work are i) to analyze the spectral characteristics of different crust types (physical and biological soil crusts), also corresponding to different crust development stages, in two semiarid areas in SE Spain, El Cautivo (in the Tabernas Desert) and Amoladeras (in the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar), ii) to demonstrate the efficiency of diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, especially in the visible part of the spectrum, for classifying different crust types and different crust disturbance conditions. Spectral

  1. Mojave Desert, California

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1973-06-22

    SL2-03-126 (June 1973) --- A color infrared photograph of the Los Angeles County and Kern County area, taken from the Skylab space station in Earth orbit during its first manned Skylab mission. The Mojave Desert occupies the northeast one-fourth of the photograph. Lake Isabella in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the v-shaped body of water. The San Gabriel Mountains extend across the southern part of the picture. At lower center is the intersection of the San Andreas and Garlock faults. The San Joaquin Valley is in the center at the left edge. (The picture should be held with the heavy cloud cover at lower right corner so that north will be at top.) This picture was exposed by one of the six lenses of the Itek-furnished S190-A Multispectral Photographic Facility experiment in the Multiple Docking Adapter of the Skylab space station. Type 2443 film was used. Photo credit: NASA

  2. Archaean zircons in Miocene oceanic hotspot rocks establish ancient continental crust beneath Mauritius

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashwal, Lewis D.; Wiedenbeck, Michael; Torsvik, Trond H.

    2017-01-01

    A fragment of continental crust has been postulated to underlie the young plume-related lavas of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius based on the recovery of Proterozoic zircons from basaltic beach sands. Here we document the first U-Pb zircon ages recovered directly from 5.7 Ma Mauritian trachytic rocks. We identified concordant Archaean xenocrystic zircons ranging in age between 2.5 and 3.0 Ga within a trachyte plug that crosscuts Older Series plume-related basalts of Mauritius. Our results demonstrate the existence of ancient continental crust beneath Mauritius; based on the entire spectrum of U-Pb ages for old Mauritian zircons, we demonstrate that this ancient crust is of central-east Madagascar affinity, which is presently located ~700 km west of Mauritius. This makes possible a detailed reconstruction of Mauritius and other Mauritian continental fragments, which once formed part of the ancient nucleus of Madagascar and southern India.

  3. Dune-scale distribution pattern of herbaceous plants and their relationship with environmental factors in a saline-alkali desert in Central Asia.

    PubMed

    Tao, Ye; Wu, Gan-Lin; Zhang, Yuan-Ming

    2017-01-15

    Sand dunes are the main landforms in modern deserts worldwide. As an important type of desert vegetation, herbaceous plants have long been acknowledged for their important ecological functions. We focus on the dune-scale distribution pattern of herbaceous plants and their relationship with the environment. During the early summer of 2010, the herbaceous plant density, coverage, aboveground biomass and eighteen environmental factors were surveyed from 214 plots (5m×5m) across two linear sand dunes (220m×110m) located in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China, a typical saline-alkali desert in Central Asia. Data were analyzed using univariate, ordination, and geostatistical techniques. Three vegetation variables represent a significant clumped distribution (P<0.01) across the entire study site. Obvious differences were observed among different slope positions/transects, with the lowest values observed at the summit. Geostatistics indicated that all of the variables showed a moderate spatial dependence and obvious zonal distribution along the sand dunes. The ranges (lag distance) of density (32.2m) and coverage (33.5m) were close to the average width (31.4m) of the transects. The biomass range (74.1m) was almost equal to the average width (75m) of the sand dunes. Pearson's correlation analysis and nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis consistently demonstrated that the distributions of herbs on sand dunes were dominantly influenced by sand dune topography (slope position, convexity, and relative height), soil nutrients (total nitrogen and phosphorus) and deep-rooted shrubbery (Ephedra distachya). Compared to large, mobile and steep sand dunes, low, fixed and gentle sand dunes contribute to herbaceous plant abundance and distribution as well as the stability maintenance of the whole desert ecosystem. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. MODELING FLOW PATTERNS IN A SMALL VEGETATED AREA IN THE NORTHERN CHICHUAHUAN DESERT USING QUIC ( QUIC URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX )

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sandstorms are frequent in the northern Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, an area characterized by open areas lacking vegetation, individual mesquite bushes, and mesquite coppice dunes. Field measurements of sand fluxes and wind velocities over a two year period provided a descri...

  5. MODELING FLOW PATTERNS IN A SMALL VEGETATED AREA IN THE NORTHERN CHICHUAHUAN DESERT USING QUIC ( QUIC URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX )

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sandstorms are frequent in the northern Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, an area characterized by open areas lacking vegetation, individual mesquite bushes, and mesquite coppice dunes. Field measurements of sand fluxes and wind velocities over a two year period provided a descri...

  6. Australian Red Dune Sand: A Potential Martian Regolith Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuhlman, K. R.; Marshall, J.; Evans, N. D.; Luttge, A.

    2001-01-01

    To demonstrate the potential scientific and technical merits of in situ microscopy on Mars, we analyzed a possible Martian regolith analog - an acolian red dune sand from the central Australian desert (near Mt. Olga). This sand was chosen for its ubiquitous red coating and the desert environment in which is it found. Grains of this sand were analyzed using a variety of microanalytical techniques. A database of detailed studies of such terrestrial analogs would assist the study of geological and astrobiological specimens in future missions to Mars. Potential instrument concepts for in situ deployment on Mars include local electrode atom probe nanoanalysis (LEAP), vertical scanning white light interferometry (VSWLI), scanning electron microscopies, energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis (EDX), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). While in situ deployment of these techniques is many years away, ground-based studies using these analytical techniques extend our understanding of the data obtained from instruments to be flown in the near future.

  7. Australian Red Dune Sand: A Potential Martian Regolith Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuhlman, K. R.; Marshall, J.; Evans, N. D.; Luttge, A.

    2001-01-01

    To demonstrate the potential scientific and technical merits of in situ microscopy on Mars, we analyzed a possible Martian regolith analog - an acolian red dune sand from the central Australian desert (near Mt. Olga). This sand was chosen for its ubiquitous red coating and the desert environment in which is it found. Grains of this sand were analyzed using a variety of microanalytical techniques. A database of detailed studies of such terrestrial analogs would assist the study of geological and astrobiological specimens in future missions to Mars. Potential instrument concepts for in situ deployment on Mars include local electrode atom probe nanoanalysis (LEAP), vertical scanning white light interferometry (VSWLI), scanning electron microscopies, energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis (EDX), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). While in situ deployment of these techniques is many years away, ground-based studies using these analytical techniques extend our understanding of the data obtained from instruments to be flown in the near future.

  8. Construction techniques for the Taklamakan Desert Highway: research on the construction materials and the results of field tests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jin, Changning; Dong, Zhibao; Li, Zhinong

    2006-03-01

    After conducting many laboratory and field experiments, several key technical issues related to the construction of China’s Taklamakan Desert Highway have been satisfactorily resolved. In particular, considerable progress has been made on the dry compaction of a sand sub-base, road design parameters, the creation of a structure that combines a sub-grade and asphalt pavement, analysis of the stability of a sand sub-base strengthened with geotextiles, and on the development of a complete set of construction techniques. The achievements of this research were successfully applied for the first time in the Taklamakan Desert, where the environmental conditions are extremely harsh. The results suggest that the construction of this highway was economical and that the simple construction methods produced a reliable highway. The resulting highway is believed to be the world’s first long-distance graded highway running through a huge desert with migrating dunes.

  9. History of the earth's crust

    SciTech Connect

    Eicher, D.L.; Mcalester, A.L.; Rottman, M.L.

    1984-01-01

    The history of the earth's crust since its formation 4.6 Gyr ago is traced in an introductory textbook, with consideration of the global climate and the general outline of biological evolution. The methodology of paleogeology is introduced, and the origin of the solar system, the accumulation and differentiation of the earth, the beginnings of life, and the history of the moon are examined. Separate chapters are then devoted to the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic earth. Photographs, maps, diagrams, and drawings are provided. 49 references.

  10. Contribution to improving of the sands-bitumen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haddadi, S.; Saoula, S.; Muñoz, M. E.; Santamaría, A.

    2012-09-01

    Algeria is a country made up of about 75% desert. It is a country rich in sand dune. Roads made in these regions have had very significant damage. Their repairs are very expensive because there are generally isolated roads and supporting low traffic. Aggregates represent about 94% of the asphalt mixture. Aggregate quarries which have good characteristics for bituminous concrete are found in northern Algeria. The transport of these aggregates from north to south is extremely expensive. This makes the project to the south of Algeria very expensive. In order to overcome the lack of aggregates, the use of local materials becomes a necessity. In this study we were interested in the sand dunes in two regions of southern Algeria: El-Oued and Ouargla. The objective of this work is to find ways to improve the mechanical properties of these sands to increase the life of pavements with low traffic in these areas. We have associated with these sands: crushed sand of the north, cement, lime and sulfur. Hubbard Field test, Marshall test, and Duriez test were applied to the different bituminous mixtures. This study showed that some associations have given encouraging results.

  11. CFD evaluation of erosion rate around a bridge near a sand dune

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Wei; Huang, Ning; Dun, Hongchao; Wang, Wenbo

    2017-04-01

    This study performs a series of simulations through solving the Navier-Stokes equations and the RNG k-ε turbulence model to investigate the wind erosion rates around a bridge in a desert area with sand dunes. The digital elevation model of sand dunes and the bridge model are obtained respectively from hypsographic map and construction drawings. Through combining them into the CFD software of Fluent the simulation zone was formed. The data of wind speed obtained from field observation is fitted into a logarithm format, which was imported into Fluent model as a inlet wind speed condition. Then, the effect of Dun-Go railway on wind-blown sand movement of the neighbouring environment is simulated. The results exhibit that affected by both the sand dune and bridge, the flow field is in a complex condition. It is also shown that the bridge in upstream of the sand dune will not increase the sand transport rate intensively, but change both wind velocity gradient and turbulence kinetic energy over surface of sand dune. On the other hand, when the bridge is built downstream the sand dune, simulation results show that sand deposition rate would be decreased in reference region downstream the pier.

  12. Community succession of bacteria and eukaryotes in dune ecosystems of Gurbantünggüt Desert, Northwest China.

    PubMed

    Li, Ke; Bai, Zhihui; Zhang, Hongxun

    2015-01-01

    Pyrosequencing and quantitative polymerase chain reaction of small subunit rRNA genes were used to provide a comprehensive examination of bacterial, cyanobacterial, and eukaryotic communities in the biological soil crusts (BSCs) of Gurbantünggüt Desert sand dunes (China). Three succession stages were recognized based on the analyses of eukaryotic communities: a late succession stage of BSCs in a swale with eukaryotes mainly related to the Bryophyta clade, an initial succession stage in a slope with barely any eukaryotic phototrophic microorganisms detected, and an intermediate succession type detected from both the swale and slope BSCs dominated by the phylum Chlorophyta. Moreover, the cyanobacterial community dominated all of the BSCs (48.2-69.5% of the total bacteria) and differed among the three succession stages: sequences related to Microcoleus steenstrupii and the genus Scytonema were abundant in the later succession stage, whereas both the initial and intermediate stages were dominated by Microcoleus vaginatus. Compared with swales, BSCs from slopes are exposed to a harsher environment, e.g., higher irradiance and lower water availability, and thus may be restricted from developing to a higher succession stage. Other disturbances such as wind and grazing may explain the different succession stages observed in swales or slopes. However, no clear differences were detected from non-phototrophic bacterial communities of the three succession stages, and sequences related to Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria were most abundant in all the BSCs. The closest matches for the most frequent non-phototrophic bacterial genera were mainly derived from harsh environments, indicating the robustness of these genera.

  13. Soil heterogeneity in Mojave Desert shrublands: Biotic and abiotic processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caldwell, Todd G.; Young, Michael H.; McDonald, Eric V.; Zhu, Jianting

    2012-09-01

    Geological and ecological processes play critical roles in the evolution of desert piedmonts. Feedback between fast cyclic biotic and slow cumulative pedogenic processes on arid alluvial fan systems results in a heterogeneous landscape of interspace and canopy microsites. Defining the spatial extent between these processes will allow a better connection to ecosystem service and climate change. We use a soil chronosequence in the Mojave Desert and high spatial resolution infiltrometer measurements along transects radiating from canopies of perennial shrubs to assess the extent of biotic and abiotic processes and the heterogeneity of soil properties in arid shrublands. Results showed higher saturated conductivity under vegetation regardless of surface age, but it was more conspicuous on older, developed soils. At proximal locations to the shrub, bulk density, soil structure grade, silt, and clay content significantly increased radially from the canopy, while sand and organic material decreased. Soil properties at distal locations 2-5 times the canopy radius had no significant spatial correlation. The extent of the biotic influence of the shrub was 1.34 ± 0.32 times the canopy radius. Hydraulic properties were weakly correlated in space, but 75% of the variance could be attributed to sand content, soil structure grade, mean-particle diameter, and soil organic material, none of which are exclusively biotic or abiotic. The fast cyclic biotic processes occurring under vegetation are clearly overprinted on slow cumulative abiotic processes, resulting in the deterministic variability observed at the plant scale.

  14. Kentucky tar sand project

    SciTech Connect

    Kelley, M.N.; Jones, H.D. II; Lewis, F.W.

    1985-03-01

    Engineering details and pilot-plant results from a pioneering investigation based on a Kentucky tar-sand reserve are presented. The tar sand deposits of Kentucky are generally situated in the southeastern rim of the Illinois Basin along the southern boundary of the Western Coal Field region. In a recent study of US tar sand reserves, it was reported that over 3.4 billion barrels of oil are in Kentucky tar sand deposits alone. In the 22,000 acres, estimated reserves are over 100 million barrels of recoverable heavy oil. The oil-impregnated section of the deposit ranges in heavy oil content from five gallons per ton to over fifteen gallons per ton. The ore body is up to thirty-five feet thick and the overall stripping ratio for a commercial plant is estimated to be one cubic yard of undisturbed overburden material per ton of tar sand ore. A shovel and truck-type strip mining operation would be used to provide feedstock to the plant.

  15. Three-link Swimming in Sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hatton, R. L.; Ding, Yang; Masse, Andrew; Choset, Howie; Goldman, Daniel

    2011-11-01

    Many animals move within in granular media such as desert sand. Recent biological experiments have revealed that the sandfish lizard uses an undulatory gait to swim within sand. Models reveal that swimming occurs in a frictional fluid in which inertial effects are small and kinematics dominate. To understand the fundamental mechanics of swimming in granular media (GM), we examine a model system that has been well-studied in Newtonian fluids: the three-link swimmer. We create a physical model driven by two servo-motors, and a discrete element simulation of the swimmer. To predict optimal gaits we use a recent geometric mechanics theory combined with empirically determined resistive force laws for GM. We develop a kinematic relationship between the swimmer's shape and position velocities and construct connection vector field and constraint curvature function visualizations of the system dynamics. From these we predict optimal gaits for forward, lateral and rotational motion. Experiment and simulation are in accord with the theoretical predictions; thus geometric tools can be used to study locomotion in GM.

  16. Periodic Trajectories in Aeolian Sand Transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valance, A.; Jenkins, J. T.

    2014-12-01

    Saltation is the primary mode of aeolian sand transport and refers to the hoping motion of grains over the bed [1]. We develop a simple model for steady, uniform transport in aeolian saltation over a horizontal bed that is based on the computation of periodic particle trajectories in a turbulent shearing flow [2]. The wind and the particles interact through drag, and the particles collide with the bed. We consider collisions with a rigid, bumpy bed, from which the particles rebound, and an erodible particle bed, for which a collision involves both rebound and particle ejection. The difference in the nature of the collisions results in qualitative differences in the nature of the solutions for the periodic trajectories and, in particular, to differences in the dependence of the particle flow rate on the strength of the turbulent shearing. We also discuss the pertinence of this model to describe bedload transport in water. References:[1] R. A. Bagnold, « The physics of blown sand and desert dunes » , Methuen, New York (1941).[2] J.T Jenkins and A. Valance. Periodic trajectories in Aeolian saltation transport. Physics of Fluids, 2014, 26, pp. 073301

  17. Functions of biological soil crusts on central European inland dunes: Water repellency and pore clogging influence water infiltration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, Thomas; Spröte, Roland; Veste, Maik; Wiehe, Wolfgang; Lange, Philipp; Bens, Oliver; Raab, Thomas; Hüttl, Reinhard F.

    2010-05-01

    Biological soil crusts play a key role for hydrological processes in many open landscapes. They seal and stabilize the topsoil and promote surface run-off. Three crust types were identified on two inland dunes in Brandenburg, North-East Germany: A natural, active dune, located in a former military training area near Lieberose, and an artificial dune, which was constructed in 2001 and which serves as a study area for geo-ecological monitoring of flora and fauna from the forefield of an opencast-mine ("Neuer Lugteich"). Both dunes consisted of Quarternary, carbonate-free, siliceous sandy substrate. Utilization of the mineral substrate at early stages of microbiotic crust development was assessed using chlorophyll concentrations, scanning electron (SEM) and optical microscopy. Water repellency indices, which are an indication of surface polarity and wettability, were measured using the ethanol/water microinfiltrometer method, and steady state water flow was determined on the dry crusts and after 0, 300, 600, 1200 and 1800 seconds of wetting, thus allowing to follow pore clogging through swelling of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Chlorophyll concentrations indicated early stages of crust development at both sites. In crust type 1, dominating sand grains were physically stabilized in their contact zones by accumulated organic matter and by few filamentous cyanobacteria and filamentous green algae. The pore space was defined by the mineral matrix only. In crust type 2, filamentous cyanobacteria and algae partially filled in the matrix pores and enmeshed sand grains. In the dry sample, the pore space was dominated by crust organisms but still micropore channels, which are known to increase water infiltration, were left. Crust type 3 was characterized by intense growth of filamentous and coccoid algae and cyanobacteria, and by few mosses, which covered less than 5% of the surface. Crust organisms completely utilized the substrate and clogged the pores between

  18. Mars Crust: Made of Basalt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2009-05-01

    By combining data from several sources, Harry Y. (Hap) McSween (University of Tennessee), G. Jeffrey Taylor (University of Hawaii) and Michael B. Wyatt (Brown University) show that the surface of Mars is composed mostly of basalt not unlike those that make up the Earth's oceanic crust. McSween and his colleagues used data from Martian meteorites, analyses of soils and rocks at robotic landing sites, and chemical and mineralogical information from orbiting spacecraft. The data show that Mars is composed mostly of rocks similar to terrestrial basalts called tholeiites, which make up most oceanic islands, mid-ocean ridges, and the seafloor beneath sediments. The Martian samples differ in some respects that reflect differences in the compositions of the Martian and terrestrial interiors, but in general are a lot like Earth basalts. Cosmochemistst have used the compositions of Martian meteorites to discriminate bulk properties of Mars and Earth, but McSween and coworkers' synthesis shows that the meteorites differ from most of the Martian crust (the meteorites have lower aluminum, for example), calling into question how diagnostic the meteorites are for understanding the Martian interior.

  19. Mate desertion in the snail kite

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beissinger, S.R.; Snyder, N.F.R.

    1988-01-01

    Mate desertion during the breeding cycle was documented at 28 of 36 (78%) snail kite, Rostrhamus sociabilis nests in Florida between 1979 and 1983. Offspring mortality occurred at only one deserted nest, however. Parents that were deserted by their mates continued to care for their young until independence (3?5 additional weeks) and provided snails at a rate similar to that of both parents combined before desertion. Males and females deserted with nearly equal frequency, except in 1982 when more females deserted. No desertion occurred during drought years, whereas desertion occurred at nearly every nest during favourable conditions. The occurrence of mate desertion was generally related to indirect measures of snail abundance: foraging range, snail delivery rates to the young and growth rates. Small broods were deserted more frequently by females than by males and tended to be deserted earlier than large ones. After desertion, deserters had the opportunity to re-mate and nest again since breeding seasons were commonly lengthy, but whether they did so was impossible to determine conclusively in most cases. The deserted bird sometimes incurred increased energetic costs and lost breeding opportunities during periods of monoparental care.

  20. Building Archean cratons from Hadean mafic crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Neil, Jonathan; Carlson, Richard W.

    2017-03-01

    Geologic processing of Earth’s surface has removed most of the evidence concerning the nature of Earth’s first crust. One region of ancient crust is the Hudson Bay terrane of northeastern Canada, which is mainly composed of Neoarchean felsic crust and forms the nucleus of the Northeastern Superior Province. New data show these ~2.7-billion-year-old rocks to be the youngest to yield variability in neodymium-142 (142Nd), the decay product of short-lived samarium-146 (146Sm). Combined 146-147Sm-142-143Nd data reveal that this large block of Archean crust formed by reworking of much older (>4.2 billion-year-old) mafic crust over a 1.5-billion-year interval of early Earth history. Thus, unlike on modern Earth, mafic crust apparently could survive for more than 1 billion years to form an important source rock for Archean crustal genesis.

  1. Desert shrub stemflow and its significance in soil moisture replenishment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, X.-P.; Wang, Z.-N.; Berndtsson, R.; Zhang, Y.-F.; Pan, Y.-X.

    2011-02-01

    Stemflow of xerophytic shrubs represents a significant component of water replenishment to the soil-root system influencing water utilization of plant roots at the stand scale, especially in water scarce desert ecosystems. In this study, stemflow of Caragana korshinskii was quantified by an aluminum foil collar collection method on re-vegetated sand dunes of the Shapotou restored desert ecosystem in northwestern China. Time domain reflectometry probes were inserted horizontally at 20 different soil profile depths under the C. korshinskii shrub to monitor soil moisture variation at hourly intervals. Results indicated that 2.2 mm precipitation was necessary for the generation of stemflow for C. korshinskii. Stemflow averaged 8% of the gross precipitation and the average funnelling ratio was as high as 90. The soil moisture in the uppermost soil profile was strongly correlated with individual rainfall and the stemflow strengthened this relationship. Therefore, it is favourable for the infiltrated water redistribution in the deeper soil profile of the root zone. Consequently, stemflow contributes significantly to a positive soil moisture balance in the root zone and the replenishment of soil moisture at deeper soil layers. This plays an important role in plant survival and the general ecology of arid desert environments.

  2. [Research advance in seed germination of desert woody plants].

    PubMed

    Chang, Wei; Wu, Jian-guo; Liu, Yan-hong

    2007-02-01

    This paper reviewed the research methods of desert woody plants seed germination, and the effects of internal and external ecological factors on it. Most researchers use incubator and artificial climate chamber to dispose the seeds, while field investigation was few involved. Seed dormancy is the important physiological factor affecting germination, while seed size, mass and color are closely correlated with its maturity and vigor. The poor permeability of seed capsule is a barrier that restrains the germination, which can be weakened or eliminated by shaving, cutting, treating with low temperature, and dipping in chemical reagent, etc. Seed water content has a close correlation with its storage life and water-absorbing capability. Suitable temperature is the prerequisite of seed germination, while changing temperature can accelerate the germination. Soil moisture content is a limiting factor, while illumination is not so essential to the seed germination of most desert woody plants. Sand-burying plays an important role in the seed germination through regulating illumination, temperature, and soil moisture content. Salinity stress restrains the seed germination of desert woody plants observably. In further studies, the effects of multi-factors and the eco-physiological and molecular biological mechanisms of germination should be more concerned.

  3. Space Radar Image of Namib Desert in Southern Namib

    NASA Image and Video Library

    1999-01-27

    This is a C-band, VV polarization radar image of the Namib desert in southern Namibia, near the coast of South West Africa. The image is centered at about 25 degrees South latitude, 15.5 degrees East longitude. This image was one of the first acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) when it was taken on orbit 4 from the shuttle Endeavour on April 9, 1994. The area shown is approximately 78 kilometers by 20 kilometers. The dominant features in the image are complex sand dune patterns formed by the prevailing winds in this part of the Namib desert. The Namib desert is an extremely dry area formed largely because of the influence of the cold Benguela ocean current that flows northward along the coast of Namibia. The bright areas at the bottom of the image are exposed outcrops of Precambrian rocks. This extremely barren area is a region rich in diamonds that through the centuries have washed down from the mountains. The town of Luderitz is located just to the south of the area shown. http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA01720

  4. Direct Production of Silicones From Sand

    SciTech Connect

    Larry N. Lewis; F.J. Schattenmann: J.P. Lemmon

    2001-09-30

    Silicon, in the form of silica and silicates, is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust. However the synthesis of silicones (scheme 1) and almost all organosilicon chemistry is only accessible through elemental silicon. Silicon dioxide (sand or quartz) is converted to chemical-grade elemental silicon in an energy intensive reduction process, a result of the exceptional thermodynamic stability of silica. Then, the silicon is reacted with methyl chloride to give a mixture of methylchlorosilanes catalyzed by cooper containing a variety of tract metals such as tin, zinc etc. The so-called direct process was first discovered at GE in 1940. The methylchlorosilanes are distilled to purify and separate the major reaction components, the most important of which is dimethyldichlorosilane. Polymerization of dimethyldichlorosilane by controlled hydrolysis results in the formation of silicone polymers. Worldwide, the silicones industry produces about 1.3 billion pounds of the basic silicon polymer, polydimethylsiloxane.

  5. [Effect of shifting sand burial on evaporation reduction and salt restraint under saline water irrigation in extremely arid region].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jian-Guo; Zhao, Ying; Xu, Xin-Wen; Lei, Jia-Qiang; Li, Sheng-Yu; Wang, Yong-Dong

    2014-05-01

    The Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt is drip-irrigated with high saline groundwater (2.58-29.70 g x L(-1)), and shifting sand burial and water-salt stress are most common and serious problems in this region. So it is of great importance to study the effect of shifting sand burial on soil moisture evaporation, salt accumulation and their distribution for water saving, salinity restraint, and suitable utilization of local land and water resources. In this study, Micro-Lysimeters (MLS) were used to investigate dynamics of soil moisture and salt under different thicknesses of sand burial (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 cm), and field control experiments of drip-irrigation were also carried out to investigate soil moisture and salt distribution under different thicknesses of shifting sand burial (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 cm). The soil daily and cumulative evaporation decreased with the increase of sand burial thickness in MLS, cumulative evaporation decreased by 2.5%-13.7% compared with control. And evaporative inhibiting efficiency increased with sand burial thickness, evaporative inhibiting efficiency of 1-5 cm sand burial was 16.7%-79.0%. Final soil moisture content beneath the interface of sand burial increased with sand burial thickness, and it increased by 2.5%-13.7% than control. The topsoil EC of shifting sand in MLS decreased by 1.19-6.00 mS x cm(-1) with the increasing sand burial thickness, whereas soil salt content beneath the interface in MLS increased and amplitude of the topsoil salt content was higher than that of the subsoil. Under drip-irrigation with saline groundwater, average soil moisture beneath the interface of shifting sand burial increased by 0.4% -2.0% compare with control, and the highest value of EC was 7.77 mS x cm(-1) when the sand burial thickness was 10 cm. The trend of salt accumulation content at shifting sand surface increased firstly, and then decreased with the increasing sand burial thickness. Soil salt contents beneath the

  6. Pacific ferromanganese crust geology and geochemistry

    SciTech Connect

    Andreev, S.I.; Vanstein, B.G.; Anikeeva, L.I. )

    1990-06-01

    Cobaltiferous ferromanganese crusts form part of a large series of oceanic ferromanganese oxide deposits. The crusts show high cobalt (commonly over 0.4%), low nickel and copper sum (0.4-0.8%), considerably high manganese (18-20%), and iron (14-18%). Less abundant elements in crusts are represented by molybdenum and vanadium; the rare-earth elements cerium, lanthenum, and yttrium; and the noble metals platinum and rhodium. Co-rich crusts form at water depths of 600 to 2,500 m. Crust thicknesses range from millimeters to 15-17 cm, averaging 2-6 cm. The most favorable conditions for 4-10 cm thick crusts to occur is at water depths of 1,200-2,200 m. The crusts formed on basaltic, calcareous, siliceous, and breccia bedrock surfaces provided there were conditions preventing bottom sedimentation at them. If the sedimentation takes place, it may be accompanied by nodules similar in composition to the crusts. The most favorable topography for extensive crust formation is considered to be subdued (up to 20{degree}) slopes and summit platforms of conical seamounts, frequently near faults and their intersection zones. Subhorizontal guyot summits do not usually favor crust growth. Crust geochemistry is primarily defined by mineralogy and manganese hydroxides (vernadite)/iron ratio. The first associated group of compounds includes cobalt, nickel, molybdenum, vanadium, cerium, and titanium; the other is strontium, yttrium, cerium, and cadmium. The aluminosilicate phase is associated with titanium, iron, chromium, and vanadium; phosphate biogenic phase includes copper, nickel, zinc, lead, and barium. The crucial point in cobaltiferous crust formation is their growth rate on which is dependent the degree of ferromanganese matrix sorption saturation with cobalt. The optimum for cobalt-rich ferromanganese ores is the conditions facilitating long-term and continuous hydrogenic processes.

  7. The evolution of the early lunar crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, P. C.; Parmentier, E. M.

    1997-03-01

    In the framework of the plutonic and tectonic processes that acted to create the current configuration of the lunar crust, attention is given to the problems as to why (1) the crust is vertically zoned; (2) there are no plutonic equivalents to mare basalt; and (3) the evolution of lunar crust would shape subsequent and younger volcanic events. The existence of mascons by 3.9 By shows that the entire crust had strengthened, and could support far greater stresses than those generated by mafic plutons.

  8. Pulsar glitches: the crust is not enough.

    PubMed

    Andersson, N; Glampedakis, K; Ho, W C G; Espinoza, C M

    2012-12-14

    Pulsar glitches are traditionally viewed as a manifestation of vortex dynamics associated with a neutron superfluid reservoir confined to the inner crust of the star. In this Letter we show that the nondissipative entrainment coupling between the neutron superfluid and the nuclear lattice leads to a less mobile crust superfluid, effectively reducing the moment of inertia associated with the angular momentum reservoir. Combining the latest observational data for prolific glitching pulsars with theoretical results for the crust entrainment, we find that the required superfluid reservoir exceeds that available in the crust. This challenges our understanding of the glitch phenomenon, and we discuss possible resolutions to the problem.

  9. Ganges Chasma Sand Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site]

    Our topic for the weeks of April 4 and April 11 is dunes on Mars. We will look at the north polar sand sea and at isolated dune fields at lower latitudes. Sand seas on Earth are often called 'ergs,' an Arabic name for dune field. A sand sea differs from a dune field in two ways: 1) a sand sea has a large regional extent, and 2) the individual dunes are large in size and complex in form.

    Today's sand sheet is located in the Ganges Chasma portion of Valles Marineris. As with yesterday's image, note that the dune forms are seen only at the margin and that the interior of the sand sheet at this resolution appears to completely lack dune forms.

    Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -6.4, Longitude 310.7 East (49.3 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.

    Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

  10. Diversity and Community Composition of Vertebrates in Desert River Habitats

    PubMed Central

    Free, C. L.; Baxter, G. S.; Dickman, C. R.; Lisle, A.; Leung, L. K.-P.

    2015-01-01

    Animal species are seldom distributed evenly at either local or larger spatial scales, and instead tend to aggregate in sites that meet their resource requirements and maximise fitness. This tendency is likely to be especially marked in arid regions where species could be expected to concentrate at resource-rich oases. In this study, we first test the hypothesis that productive riparian sites in arid Australia support higher vertebrate diversity than other desert habitats, and then elucidate the habitats selected by different species. We addressed the first aim by examining the diversity and composition of vertebrate assemblages inhabiting the Field River and adjacent sand dunes in the Simpson Desert, western Queensland, over a period of two and a half years. The second aim was addressed by examining species composition in riparian and sand dune habitats in dry and wet years. Vertebrate species richness was estimated to be highest (54 species) in the riverine habitats and lowest on the surrounding dune habitats (45 species). The riverine habitats had different species pools compared to the dune habitats. Several species, including the agamid Gowidon longirostris and tree frog Litoria rubella, inhabited the riverine habitats exclusively, while others such as the skinks Ctenotus ariadnae and C. dux were captured only in the dune habitats. The results suggest that, on a local scale, diversity is higher along riparian corridors and that riparian woodland is important for tree-dependent species. Further, the distribution of some species, such as Mus musculus, may be governed by environmental variables (e.g. soil moisture) associated with riparian corridors that are not available in the surrounding desert environment. We conclude that inland river systems may be often of high conservation value, and that management should be initiated where possible to alleviate threats to their continued functioning. PMID:26637127

  11. Diversity and Community Composition of Vertebrates in Desert River Habitats.

    PubMed

    Free, C L; Baxter, G S; Dickman, C R; Lisle, A; Leung, L K-P

    2015-01-01

    Animal species are seldom distributed evenly at either local or larger spatial scales, and instead tend to aggregate in sites that meet their resource requirements and maximise fitness. This tendency is likely to be especially marked in arid regions where species could be expected to concentrate at resource-rich oases. In this study, we first test the hypothesis that productive riparian sites in arid Australia support higher vertebrate diversity than other desert habitats, and then elucidate the habitats selected by different species. We addressed the first aim by examining the diversity and composition of vertebrate assemblages inhabiting the Field River and adjacent sand dunes in the Simpson Desert, western Queensland, over a period of two and a half years. The second aim was addressed by examining species composition in riparian and sand dune habitats in dry and wet years. Vertebrate species richness was estimated to be highest (54 species) in the riverine habitats and lowest on the surrounding dune habitats (45 species). The riverine habitats had different species pools compared to the dune habitats. Several species, including the agamid Gowidon longirostris and tree frog Litoria rubella, inhabited the riverine habitats exclusively, while others such as the skinks Ctenotus ariadnae and C. dux were captured only in the dune habitats. The results suggest that, on a local scale, diversity is higher along riparian corridors and that riparian woodland is important for tree-dependent species. Further, the distribution of some species, such as Mus musculus, may be governed by environmental variables (e.g. soil moisture) associated with riparian corridors that are not available in the surrounding desert environment. We conclude that inland river systems may be often of high conservation value, and that management should be initiated where possible to alleviate threats to their continued functioning.

  12. 75 FR 61467 - Desert Southwest Power, LLC; Notice of Filing

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-10-05

    ... Energy Regulatory Commission Desert Southwest Power, LLC; Notice of Filing September 27, 2010. Take notice that on September 24, 2010, Desert Southwest Power, LLC (Desert Southwest) supplemented the... Commission's July 28, 2010 letter regarding Desert Southwest's petition for declaratory order...

  13. Desert winds; monitoring wind-related surface processes in Arizona, New Mexico, and California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Breed, Carol S.; Reheis, Marith C.

    1999-01-01

    The 18-year Desert Winds Project established instrumented field sites in the five major regions of the North American Desert to obtain meteorological, geological, and vegetation data for natural desert sites affected by wind erosion. The eight chapters in this volume describe the settings and operation of the stations and summarize eolian-related research to date around the stations. The report includes studies of the sand-moving effectiveness of storm winds, wind-erosion susceptibility of different ground-surface types, relations of dust storms to meteorological conditions, mediation of wind erosion by vegetation, remote sensing to detect vegetation changes related to climate change, and comparison of regional dust deposition to that near Owens (dry) Lake.

  14. Sand Dunes with Frost

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    9 May 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a suite of frost-covered sand dunes in the north polar region of Mars in early spring, 2004. The dunes indicate wind transport of sand from left to right (west to east). These landforms are located near 78.1oN, 220.8oW. This picture is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left and covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across.

  15. Mars Rover Curiosity Traverses of Sand Ripples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stein, N.; Arvidson, R. E.; Zhou, F.; Heverly, M.; Maimone, M.; Hartman, F.; Bellutta, P.; Iagnemma, K.; Senatore, C.

    2014-12-01

    Martian sand ripples present a challenge for rover mobility, with drives over ripples often characterized by high wheel sinkage and slippage that can lead to incipient embedding. Since landing in Gale Crater, Curiosity has traversed multiple sand ripples, including the transverse aeolian ridge (TAR) straddling Dingo Gap on sols 533 and 535. On sol 672, Curiosity crossed backward over a series of sand ripples before ending its drive after high motor currents initiated visual odometry (VO) processing, which detected 77% slip, well in excess of the imposed 60% slip limit. At the end of the drive, the right front wheel was deeply embedded at the base of a ripple flank with >20 cm sinkage and the rear wheels were near a ripple crest. As Curiosity continues its approach to Mount Sharp it will have to cross multiple ripples, and thus it is important to understand Curiosity's performance on sol 672 and over similar ripples. To this end the sol 672 drive was simulated in ARTEMIS (Adams-Based Rover Terramechanics Interaction Simulator), a software tool consisting of realistic rover mechanical models, a wheel-terrain interaction module for deformable and non-deformable surfaces, and realistic terrain models. ARTEMIS results, Dumont Dunes tests performed in the Mojave Desert using the Scarecrow test rover, and single wheel tests performed at MIT indicate that the high slip encountered on sol 672 likely occurred due to a combination of rover attack angle, ripple geometry, and soil properties. When ripple wavelength approaches vehicle length, the rover can reach orientations in which the leading wheels carry minimal normal loads and the trailing wheels sink deeply, resulting in high slippage and insufficient thrust to propel the rover over ripples. Even on relatively benign (i.e. low tilt) terrains, local morphology can impose high sinkage, thus impeding rover motion. Work is underway to quantify Curiosity's drive performance over various ripple geometries to retrieve soil

  16. Surface disturbance of cryptobiotic soil crusts: nitrogenase activity, chlorophyll content, and chlorophyll degradation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Harper, Kimball T.; Warren, Steven D.

    1994-01-01

    Cryptobiotic soil crusts are an important component of semiarid and arid ecosystems. An important role of these crusts is the contribution of fixed nitrogen to cold‐desert ecosystems. This study examines the residual effects of various intensities and combinations of different surface disturbances (raking, scalping, and tracked vehicles) on nitrogenase activity, chlorophyll content, and chlorophyll degradation in these soil crusts. Nine months after disturbance chlorophyll content of disturbed soils was not statistically different from undisturbed controls, except in the scalped treatments, indicating recovery of this characteristic is fairly quick unless surface material is removed. Differences in chlorophyll degradation among treatments were not statistically significant. However, nitrogenase activity in all treatments showed tremendous reductions, ranging from 77–97%, when compared to the control, indicating this characteristic is slow to recover. Consequently, assessment of crustal recovery from disturbance must include not only visual and biomass characteristics but other physiological measurements as well. Areas dominated by these crusts should be managed conservatively until the implications of crustal disturbance is better understood.

  17. Soil wind erosion in ecological olive trees in the Tabernas desert (southeastern Spain): a wind tunnel experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asensio, Carlos; Lozano, Francisco Javier; Gallardo, Pedro; Giménez, Antonio

    2016-08-01

    Wind erosion is a key component of the soil degradation processes. The purpose of this study is to find out the influence of material loss from wind on soil properties for different soil types and changes in soil properties in olive groves when they are tilled. The study area is located in the north of the Tabernas Desert, in the province of Almería, southeastern Spain. It is one of the driest areas in Europe, with a semiarid thermo-Mediterranean type of climate. We used a new wind tunnel model over three different soil types (olive-cropped Calcisol, Cambisol and Luvisol) and studied micro-plot losses and deposits detected by an integrated laser scanner. We also studied the image processing possibilities for examining the particles attached to collector plates located at the end of the tunnel to determine their characteristics and whether they were applicable to the setup. Samples collected in the traps at the end of the tunnel were analyzed. We paid special attention to the influence of organic carbon, carbonate and clay contents because of their special impact on soil crusting and the wind-erodible fraction. A principal components analysis (PCA) was carried out to find any relations on generated dust properties and the intensity and behavior of those relationships. Component 1 separated data with high N and OC contents from samples high in fine silt, CO3= and available K content. Component 2 separated data with high coarse silt and clay contents from data with high fine sand content. Component 3 was an indicator of available P2O5 content. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was carried out to analyze the effect of soil type and sampling height on different properties of trapped dust. Calculations based on tunnel data showed overestimation of erosion in soil types and calculation of the fraction of soil erodible by wind done by other authors for Spanish soils. As the highest loss was found in Cambisols, mainly due to the effect on soil crusting and the wind

  18. 78 FR 36568 - Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Approved Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-06-18

    ... Bureau of Land Management Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Approved Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Management Plan and California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Availability. SUMMARY: The Bureau of...

  19. 100 Kyr Old Desert of Western India: Morhodynamics and Environmental Significance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhatt, N.

    2012-04-01

    The Late Quaternary oscillations in sea levels and resultant changes in the coastal environment have remained a popular aspect of study amongst the earthscientists and archaeologists. The Saurashtra peninsula of the western India that lies on the southwestern side of the Thar Desert, has archived a fascinating record of such environmental changes since last interglacial (~120kyr) in the form of a fossil desert exhibiting various aeolian land forms constituted by the sand largely derived from the coastal areas due to an oscillatory sea level change. A variety of dunes viz., coastal transverse, parabolic, longitudinal, barchans, climbing and falling dunes along with valley fills and sand sheets have been mapped. Being biogenic calcium carbonate rich, the sands have been lithified under the influence of an increase in moisture and thus the dune and bed forms are preserved in its best shape. The intense aeolian activities are also evident in the form of desert varnish on rocky outcrops. The sequence comprises smaller climate perturbations in the form of stabilization, erosion and karstification of older dunes and deposition of fluvial sediments in between. The paper deals with the mode of occurrence, response of sediments to wind dynamics and palaeo topography, internal structures, later modifications of sediments and significance of the geochronologically constrained aeolianites in understanding of environmental changes since 100kyr in the region.

  20. Late Quaternary stratigraphy and luminescence geochronology of the northeastern Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mahan, S.A.; Miller, D.M.; Menges, C.M.; Yount, J.C.

    2007-01-01

    The chronology of the Holocene and late Pleistocene deposits of the northeastern Mojave Desert have been largely obtained using radiocarbon ages. Our study refines and extends this framework using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) to date deposits from Valjean Valley, Silurian Lake Playa, Red Pass, and California Valley. Of particular interest are eolian fine silts incorporated in ground-water discharge (GWD) deposits bracketed at 185-140 and 20-50 ka. Alluvial fan deposits proved amenable for OSL by dating both eolian sand lenses and reworked eolian sand in a matrix of gravel that occurs within the fan stratigraphy. Lacustrine sand in spits and bars also yielded acceptable OSL ages. These OSL ages fill gaps in the geochronology of desert deposits, which can provide data relevant to understanding the responses of several depositional systems to regional changes in climate. This study identifies the most promising deposits for future luminescence dating and suggests that for several regions of the Mojave Desert, sediments from previously undated landforms can be more accurately placed within correct geologic map units.

  1. Speleothems and Sand Castles

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hance, Trevor; Befus, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    The idea of building sand castles evokes images of lazy summer days at the beach, listening to waves crash, enjoying salty breezes, and just unplugging for a while to let our inner child explore the wonderful natural toys beneath our feet. The idea of exploring caves might evoke feelings and images of claustrophobia or pioneers and Native…

  2. Sand Pine Symposium Proceedings

    Treesearch

    USDA Forest Service Southern Forest Experiment Station

    1973-01-01

    Sand pine, a species well suited to the excessively drained soils common to several million acres in the Southeast, was the subject of this well-attended 3-day meeting. Papers presented included a review of the literature plus results of current research related to this species. Subjects covered ranged from seeds and seedlings to final harvest and conversion...

  3. Building with Sand

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ashbrook, Peggy

    2010-01-01

    Children playing in damp sand invariably try to make a tower or a tunnel. By providing experiences with a variety of materials, alone and together, teachers set up the conditions for children to learn through their senses and ensure that a class approaches a topic with a common set of experiences to build on. Learning about the properties of…

  4. Sand Penetration Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bless, Stephan; Berry, Don; Lawhorn, William

    2009-06-01

    In an experimental program, steel bullets and short cylinders, and tungsten alloy rods were shot into dry silica sand at 600 to 1100 m/s. The rods included finsets that were designed for aerodynamic stabilization. The fins also apparently provided trajectory stabilization within the sand as well. Time-of-arrival screens allowed measurement of velocity. Analysis of those data indicated that drag coefficients increased as projectiles slowed down. Comparison with previous data indicates there was a slight increase in drag coefficient of rods over expected values for unfinned rods; however, the net result was penetration normalized by length was as high as 40, depending on nose shape. It was found that when the velocity exceeded about 80 m/s (which is close to the speed of sound in sand) sand particles were broken down into their constituent grains, resulting in a decrease in size by about 1000. Normalized penetration is expected to scale as kinetic energy per unit area, and it was significantly higher for the rods than for the other projectiles. This is attributed to stabilization from interaction of the fins with the cavity wall.

  5. Sand supply to beaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aagaard, Troels

    2017-04-01

    In most cases, beaches and dunes are built by sand that has been transported onshore from the shoreface. While this has been known for a long time, we are still not able to quantitatively predict onshore sediment transport and sand supply to beaches. Sediment transport processes operating during brief, high-energy stormy conditions - when beaches erode and sand moves offshore - are fairly well known and they can be modelled with a reasonable degree of confidence. However, the slower onshore sand transport leading to beach recovery under low-to-moderate energy conditions - and the reason why beaches and dunes exist in the first place - is not yet well understood. This severely limits our capability to understand and predict coastal behaviour on long time scales, for example in response to changing sea level or wave conditions. This paper will discuss issues and recent developments in sediment transport measurement and prediction on the lower and upper shoreface and into the swash zone. The focus will be on the integration and upscaling of small-scale deterministic process measurements into parametric models that may increase modelling capabilities of coastal behaviour on larger temporal and spatial scales.

  6. Building with Sand

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ashbrook, Peggy

    2010-01-01

    Children playing in damp sand invariably try to make a tower or a tunnel. By providing experiences with a variety of materials, alone and together, teachers set up the conditions for children to learn through their senses and ensure that a class approaches a topic with a common set of experiences to build on. Learning about the properties of…

  7. Speleothems and Sand Castles

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hance, Trevor; Befus, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    The idea of building sand castles evokes images of lazy summer days at the beach, listening to waves crash, enjoying salty breezes, and just unplugging for a while to let our inner child explore the wonderful natural toys beneath our feet. The idea of exploring caves might evoke feelings and images of claustrophobia or pioneers and Native…

  8. The Engineering of Sand.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pilkey, Orrin H.

    1989-01-01

    Discussed are beach replenishment, and hard structures in relation to the sand transportation system. Failures of current engineering practices and the resulting costs to the taxpayer are stressed. Equations and parameters used to make predictions of beach durability are criticized. (CW)

  9. Sand and sandstone

    SciTech Connect

    Pettijohn, F.J.; Potter, P.E.; Siever, R.

    1987-01-01

    Here is a new, second edition of a classical textbook in sedimentology, petrology, and petrography of sand and sandstones. It has been extensively revised and updated, including: new techniques and their utility; new literature; new illustrations; new, explicitly stated problems for the student; and a wider scope.

  10. Influence of Nitrogen-Fixing Biological Soil Crusts on Nitrogen Gas Fluxes (NO, N2O + N2) in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barger, N. N.; Belnap, J.; Ojima, D. S.

    2001-12-01

    Biological soil crusts (also known as microbiotic, microphytic, or cryptobiotic crusts) are communities of fungi, lichens, cyanobacteria, and mosses that colonize soil surfaces in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Associated cyanobacteria and bacteria species within biological soil crusts fix atmospheric N2 and are an important source of nitrogen [N] in desert ecosystems. On the Colorado Plateau, estimates of N fixation rates by biological soil crusts are high and range from 4-37 kg N/ha/yr depending on biological crust composition. However estimates of N accumulation within these ecosystems are generally < 1 kg N/ha/yr, leading to considerable uncertainties regarding the fate of the fixed N by biological soil crusts and the dominant N loss pathways in desert ecosystems. To examine whether N gas losses increase with increasing N fixation potential of the biological crust community, we measured nitric oxide [NO] emissions and denitrification (nitrous oxide [N2O] + dinitrogen [N2 ]) from three biological soil crust communities. Coloration in biological soil crusts is a good indicator of crust community composition and N fixation rates which generally increase with increasing darkness of the biological soil crust. Based on coloration we chose light, medium and dark crusts to represent different N fixation potentials. NO fluxes were measured in the field during June and July 2001. We simulated a 5 mm rainfall event and measured NO fluxes from field chambers over several hours. In July only, we measured N2O fluxes on soil cores maintained at field capacity. Immediately after N2O fluxes were measured from soil cores, we injected 10 KPa C2H2 into each chamber. C2H2 at 10 KPa blocks the reduction of N2O to N2 in the denitrification process while simultaneously inhibiting nitrification. NO fluxes from dark crusts were 4 fold higher relative to light crusts, and 2 fold higher relative to medium crusts in June. By July the pattern was not as strong but dark crusts still had 42

  11. Extracting Oil From Tar Sands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ford, L. B.; Daly, D.

    1984-01-01

    Recovery of oil from tar sands possible by batch process, using steam produced by solar heater. In extraction process, solar heater provides steam for heating solvent boiler. Boiling solvent removes oil from tar sands in Soxhlet extractor.

  12. The Geology of the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii as a Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craddock, R. A.; Irwin, R. P.; Williams, R.; Swanson, D.; Howard, A. D.; Quantin, C.; Kuzmin, R.; Zimbelman, J. R.

    2005-12-01

    The Ka'u Desert is located on the western flank of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a desert because it receives little annual rainfall (about 150 mm/yr) but also because it is subjected to constant outgassing from Kilauea, which creates a harsh, acidic environment. Near the summit of Kilauea the Ka'u Desert is characterized by the Keanakako'i tephra deposit, which is several meters deep thinning out to a discontinuous deposit 1.5 km (1 mile) towards the center of the desert. The deposit itself has been incised by a number of gullies that are flat-floored and terminate in a series of amphitheater-shaped plunge pools. Most of the interior desert contains undulating weathered lava flows, extensive deposits of sand, and several more recent lava flows and volcanic edifices. The southern portion of the desert is bounded by the Hilina Pali fault scarp, which is 500 m (1,500 ft) above the nearby Pacific Ocean and contains a complex series of outwash plains, alluvial fans, and debris flows. We will present a summary of the geology of the Ka'u Desert. Contrary to published interpretations, we will present evidence that the Keanakako'i was not emplaced by two separate catastrophic eruption events but rather by two distinct eruption episodes that included multiple eruption events often interrupted by long hiatuses. Despite the morphology of the gullies contained on the Keanakako'i