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Sample records for desert sand crusts

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. A newly isolated Chlorella sp. from desert sand crusts exhibits a unique resistance to excess light intensity.

    PubMed

    Treves, Haim; Raanan, Hagai; Finkel, Omri M; Berkowicz, Simon M; Keren, Nir; Shotland, Yoram; Kaplan, Aaron

    2013-12-01

    We recently isolated a small green alga from a biological sand crust (BSC) in the NW Negev, Israel. Based on its 18S rRNA and rbcL genes, it is a close relative of Chlorella sorokiniana and of certain strains of C. vulgaris and C. variabilis, but differs substantially in many aspects from C. sorokiniana. Because the classification of Chlorellales is still not resolved, we designated this species as C. ohadii (Trebouxiophyceae) in honor of Professor Itzhak Ohad. Under controlled laboratory conditions, C. ohadii showed marked structural and photosynthetic performance changes, depending on the carbon source used during growth, as well as remarkable resistance to photoinhibition. CO2 -dependent O2 evolution was not affected even when exposed to a light intensity of 3500 μmole photons m(-2)  s(-1) , over 1.5 times the maximal intensity reached at the BSC surface, whereas the variable fluorescence declined sharply. We briefly discuss the use of fluorescence to assess photosynthetic rate and the implications of this finding for the assessment of global BSCs activity.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Hydrotaxis of cyanobacteria in desert crusts.

    PubMed

    Pringault, O; Garcia-Pichel, F

    2004-05-01

    We studied the migration of cyanobacteria in desert crusts from Las Bárdenas Reales (Spain). The crusts were almost exclusively colonized by the filamentous cyanobacterium Oscillatoria, which formed a dense layer approximately 600 microm thick located between 1.5 and 2.1 mm deep. Laboratory and field experiments showed that saturation of the crust with liquid water induced a migration of the cyanobacteria leading to a significant greening of the surface within a few minutes. Under light and rapid evaporation, the green color rapidly disappeared and the crust surface was completely devoid of filaments within 60 min. In contrast, 260 min was required to recover the original white color of the crust when slow evaporation was experimentally imposed. The up and down migration following wetting and drying occurred also in the dark. This demonstrates that light was not a required stimulus. Addition of ATP synthesis inhibitors prevented the cyanobacterium from migrating down into the crust, with filaments remaining on the surface. Therefore, the disappearance of the green color observed during desiccation can only be attributed to an active cyanobacterial motility response to the decrease in the water content. The simplest explanation that can account for the evidence gathered is the presence of a mechanism that links, directly or indirectly, these motility responses to gradients in water content, namely a form of hydrotaxis. PMID:14605777

  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. Biogenic crust dynamics on sand dunes.

    PubMed

    Kinast, Shai; Meron, Ehud; Yizhaq, Hezi; Ashkenazy, Yosef

    2013-02-01

    Sand dunes are often covered by vegetation and biogenic crusts. Despite their significant role in dune stabilization, biogenic crusts have rarely been considered in model studies of dune dynamics. Using a simple model, we study the existence and stability ranges of different dune-cover states along gradients of rainfall and wind power. Two ranges of alternative stable states are identified: fixed crusted dunes and fixed vegetated dunes at low wind power; and fixed vegetated dunes and active dunes at high wind power. These results suggest a crossover between two different forms of desertification.

  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. 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.

  12. Geomorphic controls on biological soil crust distribution: A conceptual model from the Mojave Desert (USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Amanda J.; Buck, Brenda J.; Soukup, Deborah A.; Merkler, Douglas J.

    2013-08-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are bio-sedimentary features that play critical geomorphic and ecological roles in arid environments. Extensive mapping, surface characterization, GIS overlays, and statistical analyses explored relationships among BSCs, geomorphology, and soil characteristics in a portion of the Mojave Desert (USA). These results were used to develop a conceptual model that explains the spatial distribution of BSCs. In this model, geologic and geomorphic processes control the ratio of fine sand to rocks, which constrains the development of three surface cover types and biogeomorphic feedbacks across intermontane basins. (1) Cyanobacteria crusts grow where abundant fine sand and negligible rocks form saltating sand sheets. Cyanobacteria facilitate moderate sand sheet activity that reduces growth potential of mosses and lichens. (2) Extensive tall moss-lichen pinnacled crusts are favored on early to late Holocene surfaces composed of mixed rock and fine sand. Moss-lichen crusts induce a dust capture feedback mechanism that promotes further crust propagation and forms biologically-mediated vesicular (Av) horizons. The presence of thick biogenic vesicular horizons supports the interpretation that BSCs are long-lived surface features. (3) Low to moderate density moss-lichen crusts grow on early Holocene and older geomorphic surfaces that display high rock cover and negligible surficial fine sand. Desert pavement processes and abiotic vesicular horizon formation dominate these surfaces and minimize bioturbation potential. The biogeomorphic interactions that sustain these three surface cover trajectories support unique biological communities and soil conditions, thereby sustaining ecological stability. The proposed conceptual model helps predict BSC distribution within intermontane basins to identify biologically sensitive areas, set reference conditions for ecological restoration, and potentially enhance arid landscape models, as scientists address impacts

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Precipitation pulse size effects on Sonoran Desert soil microbial crusts.

    PubMed

    Cable, Jessica M; Huxman, Travis E

    2004-10-01

    Deserts are characterized by low productivity and substantial unvegetated space, which is often covered by soil microbial crust communities. Microbial crusts are important for nitrogen fixation, soil stabilization and water infiltration, but their role in ecosystem production is not well understood. This study addresses the following questions: what are the CO2 exchange responses of crusts to pulses of water, does the contribution of crusts to ecosystem flux differ from the soil respiratory flux, and is this contribution pulse size dependent? Following water application to crusts and soils, CO2 exchange was measured and respiration was partitioned through mixing model analysis of Keeling plots across treatments. Following small precipitation pulse sizes, crusts contributed 80% of soil-level CO2 fluxes to the atmosphere. However, following a large pulse event, roots and soil microbes contributed nearly 100% of the soil-level flux. Rainfall events in southern Arizona are dominated by small pulse sizes, suggesting that crusts may frequently contribute to ecosystem production. Carbon cycle studies of arid land systems should consider crusts as important contributors because of their dynamic responses to different pulse sizes as compared to the remaining ecosystem components.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. PMID:18240967

  3. 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.

  4. Soil stabilization by a prokaryotic desert crust: implications for Precambrian land biota.

    PubMed

    Campbell, S E

    1979-09-01

    A cyanophyte dominated mat, desert crust, forms the ground cover in areas measuring hundreds of square meters in Utah and smaller patches in Colorado. The algal mat shows stromatolitic features such as sediment trapping and accretion, a convoluted surface, and polygonal cracking. Sand and clay particles are immobilized by a dense network of filaments of the two dominating cyanophyte species, Microcoleus vaginatus and M. chthonoplastes, which secrete sheaths to which particles adhere. These microorganisms can tolerate long periods of desiccation and are capable of instant reactivation and migration following wetting. Migration occurs in two events: 1. immediately following wetting of dry mat, trichomes are mechanically expelled from the sheath as it swells during rehydration, and 2. subsequently, trichomes begin a self-propelled gliding motility which is accompanied by further production of sheath. The maximum distance traveled on solid agar by trichomes of Microcoleus vaginatus during a 12 hour period of light was 4.8 cm. This corresponds to approximately 500 times the length of the fastest trichome, and provides a measure of the potential for spreading of the mat in nature via the motility of the trichomes. Dehydration resistence of the sheath modifies the extracellular environment of the trichomes and enables their transition to dormancy. Following prolonged wetting and evaporative drying of the mat in the laboratory, a smooth wafer-like crust is formed by the sheaths of Microcleus trichomes that have migrated to the surface. Calcium carbonate precipitates among the algal filaments under experimental conditions, indicating a potential for mat lithification and fossilization in the form of a caliche crust. It is suggested that limestones containing tubular microfossils may, in part, be of such an origin. The formation of mature Precambrian soils may be attributable to soil accretion, stabilization, and biogenic modification by blue-green algal land mats similar to

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. [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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Bacterial diversity and community along the succession of biological soil crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert, Northern China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Bingchang; Kong, Weidong; Wu, Nan; Zhang, Yuanming

    2016-06-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are common and play critical roles in semi-arid and arid ecosystems. Bacteria, as an important community in BSCs, play critical roles in biochemical processes. However, how bacterial diversity and community change in different successional stages of BSCs is still unknown. We used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA to investigate the bacterial composition and community, and the relationships between bacterial composition and environmental factors were also explored. In different successional stages of BSCs, the number of bacteria operational taxonomic units (OTUs) detected in each sample ranged from 2572 to 3157. Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes were dominant in BSCs, followed by Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. At the successional stages of BSCs, bacterial communities, OTU composition and their relative abundance notably differentiated, and Cyanobacteria, especially Microcoleus vaginatus, dominated algal crust and lichen crust, and were the main C-fixing bacteria in BSCs. Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes increased with the development of BSCs. OTUs related to Planomicrobium Chinese, Desulfobulbus sp., Desulfomicrobium sp., Arthrobacter sp., and Ahhaerbacter sp. showed higher relative abundance in bare sand than other successional stages of BSCs, while relative abundance of Sphingomonas sp. Niastella sp., Pedobacter, Candidatus solobacter, and Streptophyta increased with the development of BSCs. In successional stages of BSCs, bacterial OTUs composition demonstrated strong correlations with soil nutrients, soil salts, and soil enzymes. Additionally, variation of bacterial composition led to different ecological function. In bare sand, some species were related with mineral metabolism or promoting plant growth, and in algal crust and lichen crust, C-fixing bacteria increased and accumulated C to the desert soil. In later developed stage of BSCs, bacteria related with decomposition of organic matter, such as

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Influence of shrub species and biological soil crust cover on nutrient distribution in a semiarid sand dune area (Negev, Israel)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drahorad, S.; Felix-Henningsen, P.

    2009-04-01

    Deserts are expanding and the restoration of barren lands is of great importance. To achieve this goal the understanding of soil-plant interactions is necessary. In semiarid systems the biogeochemical cycles are strongly linked to "fertile islands" which are surrounded by bare interspaces, areas mostly covered by biological soil crusts. These microbiological communities have great influence runoff, nutrient fixation and soil stability. This spatial horizontal pattern on the surface leads to vertical distribution patterns of nutrients. For a re-established sand dune system in the Negev (Israel) this pattern is highly depending on surface cover. Here unconsolidated sand dunes have been stabilised by the growth of biological soil crust leading to an establishment of perennial shrubs. After 15 years of landuse exclusion a clear spatial pattern in the amount of different soil cations and anions can be proofed. Our results show significant difference for potassium, manganese, calcium, sodium and chloride under biological soil crusts, the chenopod Anabasis articulata and the legume Retama raetam. This redistribution on behalf of biological processes can be shown for 3 study sites along a sharp precipitation gradient (90 mm per year up to 170 mm per year). The comparison of the study sites shows changes in the distribution patterns with increasing precipitation not only due to higher leaching or differences in dust input but changes in plant activity. The plant essential potassium proofs to be the best indicator for redistribution processes. The not plant essential sodium is non-normally distributed as Anabasis articulata and the biological soil crust accumulate this cation. Perennial shrubs and biological soil crusts are important ecosystem engineers. They have the ability to enrich ecosystems with cations and anions. The mechanisms of redistribution depend on soil cover and amount of precipitation and are, contradictory to earlier results, not independent from shrub

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    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.

  1. 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. PMID:10789921

  2. [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

  3. Comparison of diurnal dynamics in evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil within a revegetated desert ecosystem of northwestern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

    Effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil evaporation is quite controversial in literature, being either facilitative or inhibitive, and therein few studies have actually conducted direct evaporation measurements. Continuous field measurements of soil water evaporation were conducted on two microlysimeters, i.e., one with sand soil collected from bare sand dune area and the other with moss-crusted soil collected from an area that was revegetated in 1956, from field capacity to dry, at the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert. We mainly aimed to quantify the diurnal variations of evaporation rate from two soils, and further comparatively discuss the effects of BSCs on soil evaporation after revegetation. Results showed that in clear days with high soil water content (Day 1 and 2), the diurnal variation of soil evaporation rate followed the typical convex upward parabolic curve, reaching its peak around mid-day. Diurnal evaporation rate and the accumulated evaporation amount of moss-crusted soil were lower (an average of 0.90 times) than that of sand soil in this stage. However, as soil water content decreased to a moderately low level (Day 3 and 4), the diurnal evaporation rate from moss-crusted soil was pronouncedly higher (an average of 3.91 times) than that of sand soil, prolonging the duration of this higher evaporation rate stage; it was slightly higher in the final stage (Day 5 and 6) when soil moisture was very low. We conclude that the effects of moss crusts on soil evaporation vary with different evaporation stages, which is closely related to soil water content, and the variation and transition of evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil are expected to be predicted by soil water content.

  4. 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.

  5. Extending the western North American Proterozoic and Paleozoic continental crust through the Mojave Desert

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, M.W.; Walker, J.D. )

    1992-08-01

    Data supporting the existence of Proterozoic basement in the central and western Mojave Desert include U-Pb zircon geochronology and Nd, Sr, and Pb isotopic values of quartzofeldspathic gneisses, detrital zircon provenance ages, and the presence of basement clasts in Paleozoic and Mesozoic conglomerates. These data corroborate existing isotopic data from Mesozoic and Tertiary intrusive rocks that suggest involvement of Proterozoic crust in their genesis. Exposures of Proterozoic basement and Late Proterozoic and Paleozoic transitional miogeoclinal-cratonal facies trends in the central and western Mojave Desert consistently imply that cratonal North America continues westward uninterrupted through this region to the San Andreas fault. These data place geographic limits on the position of several pre-Tertiary tectonic elements speculated to exist in the Mojave Desert.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Recovery of topsoil physicochemical properties in revegetated sites in the sand-burial ecosystems of the Tengger Desert, northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, X. R.; He, M. Z.; Duan, Z. H.; Xiao, H. L.; Jia, X. H.

    2007-08-01

    Recovery in soil properties and processes after sand burial in the Tengger Desert, northern China, was documented at five different-aged revegetated sites (1956, 1964, 1973, 1982, and 1991) and at a reference site with native vegetation, which had never been damaged by sand burial and was enclosed for grazing. The proportions of silt and clay, depth of topsoil and biological soil crusts, and concentrations of soil organic C, K, total N and total P increased with years since revegetation. Most characteristics of topsoil (0-5 cm) characteristics had recovered to 60% of those measured at the reference site by 50 years after sand-binding vegetation had been established. Exceptions were electrical conductivity and contents of sand, silt, CaCO 3 and organic C, which recovered to 20-40% of the values at the reference site. The difference in annual recovery rates of soil properties between the two most recently revegetated sites (0-14 years) was greater than the difference between the two oldest revegetated sites (43-50 years). Best-fit asymptote models showed that the estimated times for the soil properties in the 50-year-old site to reach the same levels as in the reference site (i.e. an undisturbed, native steppified desert ecosystem) would be between 23 and 245 years, but for some properties even maximum recovery after > 50 years still fell significantly short of the level at the reference site. These results suggest that soil recovery is a slow process in an extremely arid desert environment, and therefore the conservation of soil habitat is a crucial issue for land managers.

  11. 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.

  12. [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. PMID:21265140

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. [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.

  16. 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

    ... California Desert District Advisory Council SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given, in accordance with Public Laws 92-463 and 94-579, that the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Subgroup of the California Desert... filed in advance of the meeting for the California Desert District Advisory Council ISDRA Subgroup,...

  17. Biological soil crusts of sand dunes in Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, USA.

    PubMed

    Smith, S M; Abed, R M M; Gercia-Pichel, F

    2004-08-01

    Biological soil crusts cover hundreds of hectares of sand dunes at the northern tip of Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts, USA). Although the presence of crusts in this habitat has long been recognized, neither the organisms nor their ecological roles have been described. In this study, we report on the microbial community composition of crusts from this region and describe several of their physical and chemical attributes that bear on their environmental role. Microscopic and molecular analyses revealed that eukaryotic green algae belonging to the genera Klebsormidium or Geminella formed the bulk of the material sampled. Phylogenetic reconstruction of partial 16S rDNA sequences obtained from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprints also revealed the presence of bacterial populations related to the subclass of the Proteobacteria, the newly described phylum Geothrix/ Holophaga/ Acidobacterium, the Cytophaga/ Flavobacterium/ Bacteroides group, and spirochetes. The presence of these crusts had significant effects on the hydric properties and nutrient status of the natural substrate. Although biological soil crusts are known to occur in dune environments around the world, this study enhances our knowledge of their geographic distribution and suggests a potential ecological role for crust communities in this landscape.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. PMID:26843695

  4. 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.

  5. The Sahara Desert as an Analogue to Sand Seas on Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Radebaugh, J.; Lorenz, R. D.; Savage, C. J.; Farr, T. G.; Wall, S. D.; Lancaster, N.; Cassini RADAR Team

    2010-12-01

    The prevalence of tens of thousands of sand dunes on Titan, nearly all of which are linear in form and of similar size and spacing to those in Earth’s large deserts, leads to useful comparisons across sand seas on both bodies. Outcomes of these analyses include the importance of process over materials. Earth’s quartz or gypsum and Titan’s organic sands all produce the same resultant form, highlighting the process of saltation in similar atmospheric conditions, likely even in similar boundary layer conditions (Lorenz et al. 2010). Another result of combined analyses is the recognition that linear dune forms are affected by topographic obstacles, which disrupt sand-carrying winds and provide indicators of wind directions. Over time, sands may collect upwind of an obstacle, where winds decrease in strength and saltation is diminished. Evidence of this can be seen in the eastern Sahara Desert of Earth and on Titan, providing indication of the long-term, time-averaged wind direction. Recent winds, which may deviate from time-averaged winds, produce sand streaks behind the obstacles and crests and ripples. Large sand streaks can be seen on Titan at Cassini instrument resolutions, but not crests or ripples. Many Saharan dunes have sand-free interdunes, indicating sand is sparse because sediment bypassing is occurring in the region. This is true for the Fensal sand sea of Titan’s equatorial leading hemisphere. Analysis of sand transport patterns in the eastern Sahara will provide information about sand transport, as well as sand sources and sinks, in Fensal. The age of Titan’s dunes, though among the youngest features on Titan from superposition relationships, is not decisively known. Though limited by resolution, the apparent absence of compound or complex dune forms across Titan indicates the dune systems may be mature, and that the current atmospheric/climatic conditions have persisted for long time periods. Titan, with its lack of oceans, vegetation, and

  6. 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.

  7. Diagenetic origin of ironstone crusts in the Lower Cenomanian Bahariya Formation, Bahariya Depression, Western Desert, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Afify, A. M.; Sanz-Montero, M. E.; Calvo, J. P.; Wanas, H. A.

    2015-01-01

    In this paper, a new interpretation of the ironstone crusts of the Bahariya Formation as late diagenetic products is provided. The siliciclastic Lower Cenomanian Bahariya Formation outcropping in the northern part of the Bahariya Depression (Western Desert, Egypt) is subdivided into three informal units that are mainly composed of thinly laminated siltstone, cross-bedded and massive sandstone, fossiliferous sandstone/sandy limestone and variegated shale. Abundant ironstone crusts occur preferentially within its lower and upper units but are absent in the middle unit. The ironstone crusts show selective replacement of carbonate components, including calcretes, by iron oxyhydroxides. More permeable parts of the terrigenous beds such as burrow traces, subaerial exposure surfaces, concretionary features and soft-sediment deformation structures led to heterogeneous distribution of the iron oxyhydroxides. A variety of diagenetic minerals, where goethite and hematite are the main end-products, were characterized by mineralogical analysis (XRD), petrography and SEM observation, and geochemical determinations (EMPA). Other diagenetic minerals include Fe-dolomite/ankerite, siderite, manganese minerals, barite, silica, illite/smectite mixed-layer, and bitumen. These minerals are interpreted to be formed in different diagenetic stages. Some minerals, especially those formed during eodiagenesis, show features indicative of biogenic activity. During burial, dolomite and ankerite replaced preferentially the depositional carbonates and infilled secondary porosity as well. Also during mesodiagenesis, the decomposition of organic matter resulted in the formation of bitumen and created reducing conditions favorable for the mobilization of iron-rich fluids in divalent stage. Telodiagenesis of the Cenomanian Bahariya deposits took place during the Turonian-Santonian uplift of the region. This resulted in partial or total dissolution of Fe-dolomite and ankerite which was concomitant to

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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. PMID:22802981

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. On the formation of sand ramps: A case study from the Mojave Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bateman, Mark D.; Bryant, Robert G.; Foster, Ian D. L.; Livingstone, Ian; Parsons, Anthony J.

    2012-08-01

    Sand ramps are dune-scale sedimentary accumulations found at mountain fronts and consist of a combination of aeolian sands and the deposits of other geomorphological processes associated with hillslope and fluvial activity. Their complexity and their construction by wind, water and mass movement means that sand ramps potentially hold a very rich store of palaeoenvironmental information. However, before this potential can be realised a full understanding of their formation is necessary. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the principal factors influencing the development of sand ramps. It reviews the stratigraphic, chronometric and sedimentological evidence relating to the past development of sand ramps, focussing particularly on Soldier Mountain sand ramp in the Mojave Desert, as well as using observations of the modern movement of slope material to elucidate the formation of stone horizons within sand ramps. Findings show that sand ramps cannot easily be interpreted in terms of a simple model of fluctuating palaeoenvironmental phases from aeolian dominated to soil/fluvial dominated episodes. They accumulate quickly (perhaps in < 5 ka), probably in a single phase before becoming relict. Based on the evidence from Soldier Mountain, they appear strongly controlled by a 'window of opportunity' when sediment supply is plentiful and cease to develop when this sediment supply diminishes and/or the accommodation space is filled up. Contemporary observations of stone movement both on rock and sandy sloping surfaces in the Mojave region indicate movement rates in the order of 0.6 and 11 mm yr- 1, which is insufficiently fast to explain how stone horizons could have been moved across and been incorporated into sand ramps on multiple occasions. Stone horizons found within the aeolian sediments lack evidence for soil development and are interpreted as very short-term events in which small streams moved and splayed discontinuous stone horizons across the sand

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  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)

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Adaptation of Nitraria sphaerocarpa to wind-blown sand environments at the edge of a desert oasis.

    PubMed

    Li, Qiu-yan; Zhao, Wen-zhi; Fang, Hai-yan

    2007-01-01

    This study addresses the adaptation of Nitraria sphaerocarpa to blown sand at the edge of a desert oasis with regard to the aspects of soil seed banks, seedlings, and population. Horizontally, the total number of seeds per unit area decreased from the shrub canopy center to intershrub areas, and most seeds were found under shrub canopies. Vertically, the highest proportion of seeds was found at depths of 5-10 cm. The emergence percentage, seedling mass, and seedling height, which were significantly affected by both burial depth and seed size, were highest at the optimal burial depth of 2 cm, and decreased with increasing burial depth in each seed size-class. Although seedling mass was usually greatest for large seeds and least for small seeds at each burial depth, little difference was observed in seedling height at shallow burial depths of 0-3 cm. The population shows a patchy and discontinuous distribution pattern. Population height increases with increasing sand depth. Also the density increases with increasing depth of sand in the desert; however, there is a steady decrease when the depth of sand is more than 100 cm. This result indicates that the depth of sand that is most suitable for the growth of Nitraria sphaerocarpa is 100 cm. The size of the population is significantly correlated with the sand depth, which increases with increasing depth in the desert. PMID:17918649

  10. 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...

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:25050837

  13. 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

  14. Correlates of peak expiratory flow rate: a study of sand stone quarry workers in desert.

    PubMed

    Mathur, M L; Dixit, A K; Lakshminarayana, J

    1996-10-01

    The study assesses the relationship between selected demographic, anthropometeric, radiological, work-history and smoking-history related variables with Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) in a sample of 286 sand stone quarry workers from a desert region. Age, height, profusion of radiological opacities, age at beginning of work, duration of work and duration of smoking were found significantly associated with PEFR while duration of exposure to dust, nature of job and number of biries smoked per day failed to establish their significant association. Mean PEFR of these workers was found significantly lower than the same among healthy adults from the study area. The subset of predictors of PEFR only included age, height and profusion of radiological opacities as identified by multiple regression analysis.

  15. Heterothermy of free-living Arabian sand gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa marica) in a desert environment.

    PubMed

    Ostrowski, Stéphane; Williams, Joseph B

    2006-04-01

    To test whether free-living desert ungulates employ heterothermy to reduce water loss, we measured core body temperature (T(b)) of six free-living Arabian sand gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa marica), a small desert antelope (12-20 kg) that lives in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, where air temperature (T(a)) often exceeds 40 degrees C. We found that the mean daily T(b) varied by 2.6+/-0.8 degrees C during summer (June-July) and 1.7+/-0.3 degrees C during winter (January-February); over both seasons, mean T(b) was 39.5+/-0.2 degrees C. During the day, in summer, T(b) increased by more than 2 degrees C when T(a)>T(b) and declined at night when T(a)sand gazelles maintained under controlled conditions in summer. The daily amplitude of T(b) was increased by 1.4 degrees C when gazelles were denied drinking water but supplied with pre-formed water in food, and by 1.1 degrees C when they were denied both water and food. Gazelles denied only drinking water increased the amplitude of variation in T(b), whereas when denied both food and water, they seemed to undergo a dehydration-hyperthermia, with increased mean and maximal T(b) values but no decrease of minimal T(b). Free-ranging and captive gazelles surviving on pre-formed water in natural food used heterothermy during

  16. 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...

  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. 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. PMID:20726901

  19. Winter photosynthetic activity of twenty temperate semi-desert sand grassland species.

    PubMed

    Tuba, Zoltán; Csintalan, Zsolt; Szente, Kálmán; Nagy, Zoltán; Fekete, Gábor; Larcher, Walter; Lichtenthaler, Hartmut K

    2008-09-29

    The winter photosynthetic activity (quantified by net CO(2) assimilation rates and chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence parameters) of 20 plant species (including two lichens and two mosses) of a Hungarian temperate semi-desert sand grassland was determined on one occasion per year in 1984, 1989 and 1994. Throughout winter, the overwintering green shoots, leaves or thalli were regularly exposed to below zero temperatures at night and daytime temperatures of 0-5 degrees C. In situ tissue temperature varied between -2.1 and +6.9 degrees C and the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) between 137 and 351 micromol m(-2)s(-1). Under these conditions 18 of the grassland species exhibited photosynthetic CO(2) uptake (range: vascular plants ca. 0.2-3.8 micromol m(-2)s(-1), cryptogams 0.3-2.79 micromol kg(-1)s(-1)) and values of 0.9-5.1 of the Chl fluorescence decrease ratio R(Fd). In 1984, Festuca vaginata and Sedum sexangulare had net CO(2) assimilation at leaf temperatures of -0.85 to -1.2 degrees C. In 1989, all species except Cladonia furcata showed net CO(2) assimilation at tissue temperatures of 0 to +3.3 degrees C, with the highest rates observed in Poa bulbosa and F. vaginata. The latter showed a net CO(2) assimilation saturation at a PPFD of 600 micromol m(-2)s(-1) and a temperature optimum between +5 and +18 degrees C. At the 1994 measurements, the photosynthetic rates were higher at higher tissue water contents. The two mosses and lichens had a net photosynthesis (range: 1.1-2.79 micromol CO(2)kg(-1)s(-1)) at 2 degrees C tissue temperature and at 4-5 degrees C air temperature. Ca. 80% of the vascular grassland plant species maintained a positive C-balance during the coldest periods of winter, with photosynthetic rates of 1.5-3.8 micromol CO(2)m(-2)s(-1). In an extremely warm beginning March of the relatively warm winter of 2006/2007, the dicotyledonous plants had much higher CO(2) assimilation rates on a Chl (range 6-14.9 micromol g(-1)Chl s(-1)) and on a dry

  20. 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

  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.

    PubMed

    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

  3. 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

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

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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; et al

    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

  5. 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.

  6. [Spatial pattern of sand-mound of Nitraria in different habitat at the southeastern fringe of the Tengger desert].

    PubMed

    Jia, Xiao-Hong; Li, Xin-Rong

    2008-07-01

    Based on the geo-statistics and quantitative ecology method, the spatial pattern of sand-mound of Nitraria was been analyzed in different habitat at the southeastern fringe of the Tengger desert in order to keep the natural mounds stability and ecological efficiency. The results showed that the different groundwater level and plant growth condition resulted in difference of Nitraria population at capacity of withstanding sand bury and the effect of sand-binding. The coverage, density and biomass of Nitraria population at the lacustrine basin lowland were significant higher than those of the alluvial fan (p < 0.01). Although the height of Nitraria population at the lacustrine basin lowland was lower than that of the alluvial fan, there was no significant difference between two habitat (p > 0.05). The height and volume of sand-mound was 1.20 m and 88.19 m3 at the lacustrine basin lowland, 1.14 m and 33.16 m3 at the alluvial fan, respectively. The size and distribution of sand-mound was significant difference at different habitat (p < 0.01). The mound of the lacustrine basin lowland has the tendency of large patch and low density, developed longer scale pattern in auto-correlated distance, and those of the alluvial fan just the reverse. The spatial heterogeneity of mound size and volume of accumulation sand in the lacustrine basin lowland can be controlled by auto-correlated factors at 1.2-84 m scale, and the random factors at under 100 m controlled the spatial heterogeneity in the alluvial fan. Especially, the size and volume of sand-mound has constant variation at under the 100 m scale in the alluvial fan, and has random spatial pattern without law. PMID:18828398

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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 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. 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.

  11. 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. PMID:24699917

  12. [Development and succession of artificial biological soil crusts and water holding characteristics of topsoil].

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

    In order to understand the improving effects of cyanobacterial inoculation on water retention of topsoil in desert regions, this work focused on the development and succession of biological soil crusts and water holding characteristics of topsoil after cyanobacterial inoculation in Qubqi Desert. The results showed that after the artificial inoculation of desert cyanobacteria, algal crusts were quickly formed, and in some microenvironments direct succession of the algal crusts to moss crusts occurred after 2-3 years. With the development and succession of biological soil crusts, the topsoil biomass, polysaccharides content, crust thickness and porosity increased, while the soil bulk density decreased. At the same time, with crust development and succession, the topsoil texture became finer and the percents of fine soil particles including silt and clay contents increased, while the percents of coarse soil particles (sand content) decreased proportionately. In addition, it was found that with crust development and succession, the water holding capacity and water content of topsoil showed an increasing trend, namely: moss crust > algal crusts > shifting sand. The water content (or water holding capacity) in algal and moss crusts were 1.1-1.3 and 1.8-2.2 times of those in shifting sand, respectively. Correlation analysis showed that the water holding capacity and water content of topsoil were positively correlated with the crust biomass, polysaccharides content, thickness, bulk density, silt and clay content; while negatively correlated with the porosity and sand content. Furthermore, stepwise regression analysis showed that the main factor affecting water content was the clay content, while that affecting water holding capacity was the porosity.

  13. 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.

  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. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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. PMID:26084731

  19. 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.

  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.

    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.

  1. 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.

  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. (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.

  3. δ18O and chemical composition of Libyan Desert Glass, country rocks, and sands: New considerations on target material

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Longinelli, Antonio; Sighinolfi, Giampaolo; de Michele, Vincenzo; Selmo, Enricomaria

    2011-02-01

    Oxygen isotope and chemical measurements were carried out on 25 samples of Libyan Desert Glass (LDG), 21 samples of sandstone, and 3 of sand from the same area. The δ18O of LDG samples range from 9.0‰ to 11.9‰ (Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water [VSMOW]); some correlations between isotope data and typological features of the LDG samples are pointed out. The initial δ18O of a bulk parent material may be slightly increased by fusion due to the loss of isotopically light pore water with no isotope exchange with oxygen containing minerals. Accordingly, the δ18O of the bulk parent material of LDG may have been about 9.0 ± 1‰ (VSMOW). The measured bulk sandstone and sand samples have δ18O values ranging from 12.6‰ to 19.5‰ and are consequently ruled out as parent materials, matching the results of previous studies. However, separated quartz fractions have δ18O values compatible with the LDG values suggesting that the modern surface sand inherited quartz from the target material. This hypothesis fits previous findings of lechatelierite and baddeleyite in these materials. As the age of the parent material reported in previous studies is Pan-African, we measured the δ18O values of bulk rock and quartz from intrusives of Pan-African age and the results obtained were compatible with the LDG values. The main element abundances (Fe, Mg, Ca, K, Na) in our LDG samples conform to previous estimates; Fe, Mg, and K tend to be higher in heterogeneous samples with dark layers. The hypothesis of a low-altitude airburst involving silica-rich surface materials deriving from weathered intrusives of Pan-African age, partially melted and blown over a huge surface by supersonic winds matches the results obtained.

  4. [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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:24530579

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Aeolian erosion and sand transport over the Mejillones Pampa in the coastal Atacama Desert of northern Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flores-Aqueveque, Valentina; Alfaro, Stéphane; Muñoz, Ricardo; Rutllant, José A.; Caquineau, Sandrine; Le Roux, Jacobus P.; Vargas, Gabriel

    2010-08-01

    The Mejillones Peninsula in the coastal Atacama Desert of northern Chile is a region in which ocean-atmosphere-land interactions are particularly strong, resulting in enhanced alongshore winds that erode the surface and transport sand particles to the sea. Because the aeolian particles in the laminated sediments at the bottom of Mejillones Bay record long-term changes in the intensity of prevailing southerly winds, it is fundamental to understand aeolian processes such as wind erosion and sand transport to improve paleoceanographic reconstructions. The aim of the present study is to characterize the wind erosion process over the flat geomorphology of the northern portion of the Mejillones Peninsula, the Mejillones Pampa, including the influence of wind erosion on the initial particle size distribution and the associated fractionation processes of the mineralogical composition of moving particles, through field measurements. In addition, we test the ability of an existing saltation model (MB95) to reproduce the variability of the erosion process during the field experiment. Soil samples from 17 locations on this flat surface contain significant amounts of highly erodible particles with diameters in the 200-300 µm and 100-150 µm size ranges. Aeolian particles collected in BSNE sand traps located at different heights near the surface, exhibit a bimodal size distribution similar to that of the erodible fraction of the soils; the abundance of the fine class increasing with height. Small stones that have a spatially variable distribution can locally reduce the intensity of wind erosion. The mineralogical composition of moving particles is similar to that of the soils, with quartz, feldspar and calcite as the most important minerals, followed by clay minerals, gypsum and amphibole. A value of u*t is calculated for each soil particle size class. Subsequently, the elementary contribution of each size class to the horizontal flux is calculated using White (1979)'s equation

  14. 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)).

  15. 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).

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. [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.

  5. 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.

  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. Dew formation characteristics in a revegetation-stabilized desert ecosystem in Shapotou area, Northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Yan-xia; Wang, Xin-ping; Zhang, Ya-feng

    2010-06-01

    SummarySoil moisture in the upper layer plays an important role in arid desert ecosystems. Dew as an additional source of fresh water, may have a positive impact upon the ecosystems in arid and semi-arid zones. Measurements on dew formation amount and duration were carried out in the whole October of 2008 at different condensing surface types (bare dune sands, physical soil crusts and biological soil crusts) associated with different inter-space positions between plants, and at the area under plant canopy in a revegetation-stabilized arid desert ecosystem in Shapotou area, China. The results indicated that there was a positive linear correlation between dew amounts and relative humidity, while mean temperature was negatively linearly related to dew amounts and no significant relationship was found between dew amounts and wind speed. Clear and foggy mornings were characterized by higher dew amounts and longer dew duration, whereas less dew was recorded during cloudy and especially windy mornings. Crusts, especially the biological soil crusts, obtained significantly higher amounts of dew than that of bare moving sand dunes. It was more difficult for dew to condense under the canopy of the plants than on the bare sand dunes. At the first stage of ecological engineering projects, dew can renew the moisture losing through the evaporation of soil and transpiration of leaves, and thus can supply important source of water for xerophytic shrubs. The higher dew amount at the inter-space of re-vegetated plants is an important driving factor for the growth of microorganisms and spore plants, which further accelerate the formation of biological soil crusts and stabilization of moving sand dunes. The presence of biological soil crusts, in turn, helps to facilitate the formation of dew. Therefore, a mutual enhanced effect exists between dew and artificially revegetation ecosystems.

  10. 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.

  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. PMID:26867773

  12. 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.

  13. The utility of desert sand dunes as Quaternary chronostratigraphic archives: evidence from the northeast Rub' al Khali

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leighton, Carly L.; Bailey, Richard M.; Thomas, David S. G.

    2013-10-01

    The distributions of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages from dunes are affected by palaeoenvironmental changes, complex dune dynamics and sampling strategy. Extracting the relative importance of these factors when interpreting discontinuous OSL chronologies from sand dunes has proven difficult, and is particularly hindered in contexts where the internal sedimentary structures of dunes are not visible. In this study samples for OSL dating were taken from three major dune exposures in the Rub' al Khali, United Arab Emirates, each showing clear internal structure, with the aim of addressing these problems. Specific objectives were to assess how ages of individual sedimentary units represent dune accumulation as a whole, and how the dune record in turn reflects known past environmental changes. Final ages were calculated using the OxCal software package, by incorporating the known relative stratigraphy through the application of Bayesian methods. The results show that stratigraphy alone is not sufficient at these sites to guide OSL sampling; that is, chrono- and lithostratigraphic boundaries do not necessarily coincide. Where chronological hiatuses are present, internal sediment stratigraphy can be a useful tool in identifying potential problems of under-sampling the full dune record. The implications of these findings for reconstructing Quaternary climates from dune chronologies are considered.

  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. 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. PMID:22001971

  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. 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.

  19. 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. PMID:25437760

  20. The prospect function of terrestrial nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae on the fixation of desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Yusuo; Lei, Jiaqiang

    2003-07-01

    The Terrestrial Nitrogen-fixing Blue-green Algae, which are possessed of both photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation, are the leading organisms in the adverse circumstances. With their typical cell structures and physiological abilities, they are strongly resistant to drought, infertility etc. The growth of Terrestrial Nitrogen-fixing Blue-green Algae can rich the soils in nitrogen and organic compounds, which are benefit to other microbes and plants. Terrestrial Nitrogen-fixing Blue-green Algae are widely distributed in Gurbantunggut Desert. It was estimated that about 40% of the surface of the desert are covered by the "Black Crust". "Black Crust" is mainly occupied by Terrestrial Nitrogen-fixing Blue-green Algae. It is Terrestrial Nitrogen-fixing Blue-green Algae that construct the mechanical crust with a little other algae and fungi through biological, chemical and physical actions. So Terrestrial Nitrogen-fixing Blue-green Algae play an important part in desert fixation. It was analyzed that there are three species of the blue-greens in the "Black Crust": Microcoleus vaginatus(Vauch)Gom.,Scytonema ocellatum Lynbye and Schizothrix mella Gardner. We had isolated Microcoleus vaginatus(Vauch)Gom. and Scytonema ocellatum Lynbye. Some tests had been made to prove the feasibility of the desert fixation of the Blue-greens. Under experiment conditions, the blue-greens grown on the surface of sand, covered the sand quickly after the inoculation, and formed a mechanical fixed surface layer (7 days for Microcoleus vaginatus, 15-21 days for Scytonema ocellatum).

  1. Aeolian sand ripples around plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Qian-Hua; Miao, Tian-De

    2003-05-01

    Plants in the desert may locally change the aeolian process, and hence the pattern of sand ripples traveling nearby. The effect of plants on ripples is investigated using a coupled map lattice model with nonuniform coupling coefficients.

  2. The negative effect of biocrusts upon annual-plant growth on sand dunes during extreme droughts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidron, Giora J.

    2014-01-01

    The moisture content of crusted and non-crusted habitats on sand was measured.Higher available water characterized the non-crusted habitats during drought years.Non-crusted habitats had higher species diversity, density and biomass.Crusts exert a negative effect on annual plants during droughts.Mobile sand serve as fertility belts for annual plants during drought years.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    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.

  7. Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    One of the driest regions on Earth, the Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa (23.0N, 15.0E) lies adjacent to the Atlantic coast but 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 rivers 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.

  8. Continental crust

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pakiser, L.C.

    1964-01-01

    The structure of the Earth’s crust (the outer shell of the earth above the M-discontinuity) has been intensively studied in many places by use of geophysical methods. The velocity of seismic compressional waves in the crust and in the upper mantle varies from place to place in the conterminous United States. The average crust is thick in the eastern two-thirds of the United States, in which the crustal and upper-mantle velocities tend to be high. The average crust is thinner in the western one-third of the United States, in which these velocities tend to be low. The concept of eastern and western superprovinces can be used to classify these differences. Crustal and upper-mantle densities probably vary directly with compressional-wave velocity, leading to the conclusion that isostasy is accomplished by the variation in densities of crustal and upper-mantle rocks as well as in crustal thickness, and that there is no single, generally valid isostatic model. The nature of the M-discontinuity is still speculative.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

  16. Sand residence times of one million years in the Namib Sand Sea from cosmogenic nuclides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vermeesch, P.; Fenton, C. R.; Kober, F.; Wiggs, G. F. S.; Bristow, C. S.; Xu, S.

    2010-12-01

    The Namib Sand Sea is one of the world's oldest and largest sand deserts, yet little is known about the source of the sand in this, or other large deserts. In particular, it is unclear whether the sand is derived from local sediment or comes from remote sources. The relatively uniform appearance of dune sands and low compositional variability within dune fields make it difficult to address this question. Here we combine cosmogenic-nuclide measurements and geochronological techniques to assess the provenance and migration history of sand grains in the Namib Sand Sea. We use U-Pb geochronology of detrital zircons to show that the primary source of sand is the Orange River at the southern edge of the Namib desert. Our burial ages obtained from measurements of the cosmogenic nuclides 10Be, 26Al and 21Ne suggest that the residence time of sand within the sand sea is at least one million years. We therefore conclude that, despite large climatic changes in the Namib region associated with Quaternary glacial-interglacial cycles, the area currently occupied by the Namib Sand Sea has never been entirely devoid of sand during the past million years.

  17. 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

  18. 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)

  19. Desert Scrublands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, L.L.C.; Halama, K.J.; Lovich, R.E.

    2016-01-01

    Desert scrublands comprise the lower to mid-elevation portions of four different ecosystems including the Chihuahuan, Great Basin, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Together the area inside their outer boundaries includes over 8% of the surface area of the United States. Despite significant differences in the flora and fauna of these bioregions they all share the common trait of being arid shrub-steppe ecosystems, receiving, on average, less than 254 mm of rain per year. The austere nature of these landscapes belies their significant biodiversity, the amazing behavioral and physiological adaptations of the biota, and the fragility of the ecosystems to human disturbances. For example, the Mojave Desert alone has at least 250 species of ephemeral plants, mostly winter annuals, and up to 90% are endemic.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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…

  3. 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 sections: (1)…

  4. [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

  5. [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

  6. 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.

  7. The Karakum and Kyzylkum sand seas dynamics; mapping and palaeoclimatic interpretations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maman, Shimrit; Blumberg, Dan G.; Tsoar, Haim; Porat, Naomi

    2015-04-01

    Sand seas are large basins in deserts that are mantled by wind-swept sand and that exhibit varying degrees of vegetation cover. Wilson (1973) was the first to globally map and classify sand seas. Beyond Wilson's maps, however, little research has been published regarding the Karakum and Kyzylkum sand seas of Central Asia. Wilson's maps delineate active ergs from inactive ergs based solely on precipitation. His assumption of annual average rainfall as a factor determining mobility vs. stability of sand seas is too simplistic and does not take into consideration other factors such as biogenic soil crusts and wind power, both of which are known to have major effects on the dynamics of sand dunes. Literature related to mapping and classifying the Central Asian ergs by remote sensing or sand sea classification state (stable/active) is lacking. Moreover, the palaeoclimatic significance of dunes in Central Asia is difficult to assess, as there has been few studies of dune stratigraphy and numerical ages are lacking. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is a firm optical dating method that is used to determine the elapsed time since quartz grains were last exposed to sunlight, thus, their burial. Yet, absolute ages indicating mobilization and stabilization of these sands, are still inadequately known and are here under discussion. The broad concern of this research was to determine the dynamics of the Central Asian sand seas and study the palaeoclimatic changes that brought to their stabilization. As there are no reliable maps or aeolian discussion of these sands, establishment of a digital data base was initially conducted, focusing on identifying and mapping these sand seas. The vast area and inaccessibility make traditional mapping methods virtually impossible. A variety of space-borne imagery both optical and radar, with varying spectral and spatial resolutions was used. These images provided the basis for mapping sand distribution, dune forms, and vegetation cover

  8. Aeolian deposition and its effect on soil and vegetation changes on stabilised desert dunes in northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fearnehough, W.; Fullen, M. A.; Mitchell, D. J.; Trueman, I. C.; Zhang, J.

    1998-06-01

    Spatial and temporal patterns of aeolian deposition at Shapotou, northern China, were studied on a chronosequence (0, 12, 29 and 37 years) of stabilised desert dunes. Aeolian deposition markedly influenced soil and vegetation changes on the dunes. The spatial pattern of aeolian deposition was studied using dust traps and measurements of the depth of aeolian accumulation. Mean deposition from August 1993 to July 1994 was 372 g/m 2, and showed a complex spatial pattern, determined by prevailing wind direction, topography and shrub distribution. Contrasts between the topographic pattern of aeolian deposition (trap data) and accumulation (thickness of aeolian deposits) indicate that the measured pattern of aeolian deposition alone is insufficient to explain the pattern of accumulation. An accretionary surface soil or `grey sand' (containing much aeolian-derived particles) is developing on the stabilised dunes at a mean rate of 1.6 mm/year. Rapid accumulation of aeolian particles significantly changed the surface environment. Increased moisture retention by the finer `grey sand' resulted in decreased moisture penetration and subsequent desiccation of the deeper dune sands. This has led to vegetation changes, with the deep-rooted, planted xerophytic shrubs declining from 12 to only 3% cover after 37 years of stabilisation. The shrubs were replaced by a widespread microphytic crust and later by shallow-rooted annual species, which increased from 0 to approximately 12% cover over the same period. The implications of projected increases in the dustiness of arid regions on the stability of desert dunes and vegetated desert margins are discussed. Stabilised dunes may become increasingly vulnerable to deflation with the progressive decline in shrub cover.

  9. Multi-Technique Study of a Martian Aeolian Sand Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuhlman, K.; Marshall, J.; Evans, N. D.; Luttge, A.

    2001-01-01

    Potential scientific returns from technological advances in various forms of microscopy and benchmarking of currently available in-situ measurements using an aeolian red dune sand from the central Australian desert. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  10. Multi-Technique Study of a Martian Aeolian Sand Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhlman, K. R.; Marshall, J.; Evans, N. D.; Luttge, A.

    2001-03-01

    Potential scientific returns from technological advances in various forms of microscopy and benchmarking of currently available in-situ measurements using an aeolian red dune sand from the central Australian desert.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. [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.

  18. Meteorite fusion crust variability.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thaisen, Kevin G.; Taylor, Lawrence A.

    2009-06-01

    Two assumptions commonly employed in meteorite interpretation are that fusion crust compositions represent the bulk-rock chemistry of the interior meteorite and that the vesicles within the fusion crust result from the release of implanted solar wind volatiles. Electron microprobe analyses of thin sections from lunar meteorite Miller Range (MIL) 05035 and eucrite Bates Nunataks (BTN) 00300 were performed to determine if the chemical compositions of the fusion crust varied and/or represented the published bulk rock composition. It was determined that fusion crust compositions are significantly influenced by the incorporation of fragments from the substrate, and by the composition and grain size of those minerals. Because of compositional heterogeneities throughout the meteorite, one cannot assume that fusion crust composition represents the bulk rock composition. If the compositional variability within the fusion crust and mineralogical differences among thin sections goes unnoticed, then the perceived composition and petrogenetic models of formation will be incorrect. The formation of vesicles within these fusion crusts were also compared to current theories attributing vesicles to a solar wind origin. Previous work from the STONE-5 experiment, where terrestrial rocks were exposed on the exterior of a spacecraft heatshield, produced a vesicular fusion crust without prolonged exposure to solar wind suggesting that the high temperatures experienced by a meteorite during passage through the Earth's atmosphere are sufficient to cause boiling of the melt. Therefore, the assumption that all vesicles found within a fusion crust are due to the release of implanted volatiles of solar wind may not be justified.

  19. 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…

  20. Desert pavements and associated rock varnish in the Mojave Desert: How old can they be?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quade, Jay

    2001-09-01

    Desert pavements are common features of arid landscapes and have been widely used as a relative age indicator of the geomorphic surfaces upon which they are developed. In this study I examined the patterns of pavement development as a function of elevation in the Mojave Desert as well as the causes for the gradual disappearance of pavement at high elevations. Pavement density, as measured by percentage of pebble coverage, decreases systematically with elevation gain by ˜3% per 100 m, from 95% coverage below 500 m to less than 60% at 1700 m. Plants appear to be the main agent of pavement disruption; plant density decreases as pavement density increases. Burrowing by rodents and crusting by cryptobiota also disrupt pavement development at higher elevation. During the last glacial maximum, plant communities were displaced 1000 1400 m downward in the Mojave Desert. Pavements today generally do not survive above the blackbush (Coleogyne ramossisma)-sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) zone. Evidence from packrat middens shows that these and other plants typical of high elevations today grew as low as 300 400 m during the last glacial maximum. I suggest that during the last glacial maximum, desert pavements were confined to the lowest alluvial fans of Death Valley and adjoining low valleys. No alluvial desert pavements above ˜400 m in the region are older than the latest Pleistocene. By the same reasoning, desert varnish on desert pavements above 400 m may all be Holocene in age, except where developed on stable boulders.

  1. 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)

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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)

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. Weathering crusts on peridotite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bucher, Kurt; Stober, Ingrid; Müller-Sigmund, Hiltrud

    2015-05-01

    Chemical weathering of dark-green massive peridotite, including partly serpentinized peridotite, produces a distinct and remarkable brown weathering rind when exposed to the atmosphere long enough. The structure and mineral composition of crusts on rocks from the Ronda peridotite, Spain, have been studied in some detail. The generic overall weathering reaction serpentinized peridotite + rainwater = weathering rind + runoff water describes the crust-forming process. This hydration reaction depends on water supply from the outcrop surface to the reaction front separating green peridotite from the brown crust. The reaction pauses after drying and resumes at the front after wetting. The overall net reaction transforms olivine to serpentine in a volume-conserving replacement reaction. The crust formation can be viewed as secondary serpentinization of peridotite that has been strongly altered by primary hydrothermal serpentinization. The reaction stoichiometry of the crust-related serpentinization is preserved and reflected by the composition of runoff waters in the peridotite massif. The brown color of the rind is caused by amorphous Fe(III) hydroxide, a side product from the oxidation of Fe(II) released by the dissolution of fayalite component in olivine.

  13. Raindrop induced crust formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szabó, Judit Alexandra; Jakab, Gergely; Józsa, Sándor; Németh, Tibor; Kovács, Ivett; Szalai, Zoltán

    2016-04-01

    Rainfall simulators are wildly used to study soil erosion because all parts of the erosion process can be simulated with them. Small-scale laboratory rainfall simulator was used to examine the detachment phase of the erosion and study the redistribution trend of the organic and mineral components of the soil. Splash erosion often creates crust on the soil surface that decreases porosity and infiltration. Crusts have crucial role in physical soil degradation processes, erosion and crop production fall. Intensive rainfall on a recently tilled Regosol and a Cambisol plots detached the aggregates and the occurred runoff scattered the individual particles on the surface. Oriented thin sections from the various morphological types of surface crusts were made similar as a thin section from any rock but during the preparation the samples were saturated often with dilute two-component adhesive to solidify the soil to preserve the crust. Raman spectroscopy and XRD analysis measurements are in progress in order to identify spatial changes in organic matter and mineralogical composition among the crust layers. Preliminary results suggest the separation of the mineral and organic soil components. The lighter organic matter seems to be enriched in the soil loss while the heavier minerals are deposited and stratified in the deeper micromorphological positions of the surface. The understanding of this selectivity is necessary in soil loss estimation.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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)

  20. Testing the influence of a sand mica mixture on basin fill in extension and inversion experiments.

    PubMed

    Gomes, Caroline J S; D'Angelo, Taynara; Almeida, Gisela M S

    2015-03-01

    We compare the deformation patterns produced by sand and a sand mica mixture (14:1 ratio of sand to mica by weight) while simulating basin fill in extension and inversion models to analyze the potential of the sand mica mixture for applications that require a strong elasto-frictional plastic analogue material in physical models. Sand and the sand mica mixture have nearly equal angles of internal friction, but the sand mica mixture deforms at a significantly lower level of peak shear stress. In extension, the sand mica mixture basin fill experiments show fewer normal faults. During inversion, the most striking difference between the sand and the sand mica mixture basin fill experiments is related to the internal deformation in fault-propagation folds, which increases with an increase in the basal friction. We conclude that our strongly elasto-frictional plastic sand mica mixture may be used to simulate folds in experiments that focus on mild inversion in the brittle crust.

  1. Trajectories of saltating sand particles behind a porous fence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Ning; Lee, Sang Joon; Chen, Ting-Guo

    2015-01-01

    Trajectories of aeolian sand particles behind a porous wind fence embedded in a simulated atmospheric boundary layer were visualized experimentally, to investigate the shelter effect of the fence on sand saltation. Two sand samples, one collected from a beach (d = 250 μm) and the other from a desert (d = 100 μm), were tested in comparison with the previous studies of a 'no-fence' case. A wind fence (ε = 38.5%) was installed on a flat sand bed filled with each sand sample. A high-speed photography technique and the particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) method were employed to reconstruct the trajectories of particles saltating behind the fence. The collision processes of these sand particles were analyzed, momentum and kinetic energy transfer between saltating particles and ground surface were also investigated. In the wake region, probability density distributions of the impact velocities agree well with the pattern of no-fence case, and can be explained by a log-normal law. The horizontal component of impact velocity for the beach sand is decreased by about 54%, and about 76% for the desert sand. Vertical restitution coefficients of bouncing particles are smaller than 1.0 due to the presence of the wind fence. The saltating particles lose a large proportion of their energy during the collision process. These results illustrate that the porous wind fence effectively abates the further evolution of saltating sand particles.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. [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.

  10. [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. PMID:26288862

  11. 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.

  12. Animals of the Desert.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    NatureScope, 1985

    1985-01-01

    Provides background information and student activities on how desert animals have adapted to dryness and heat, how and when animals move on the desert, and nocturnal/diurnal animals. Each activity includes objective(s), recommended age level(s), subject area(s), list of materials needed, and procedures. Ready-to-copy pages are included for a…

  13. Oxygen isotopic compositions of quartz in the sand seas and sandy lands of northern China and their implications for understanding the provenances of aeolian sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xiaoping; Zhang, Feng; Fu, Xudong; Wang, Xiaoming

    2008-12-01

    A better understanding of aeolian sand provenance in deserts would be useful for studying interactions between various Earth surface processes occurring in arid and semiarid regions. In this study we examined oxygen isotopic compositions of quartz in sand samples taken from Taklamakan and Badain Jaran deserts of northwestern China and from the Hunshandake and Hulunbeier sandy lands in northeastern China. Typical fractions of grain sizes were chosen for examination. Sample preparation followed the chemical principals described in geochemistry and final measurements were performed with mass spectrometers. In the sands from the Badain Jaran Desert the δ18O value is generally low, with a mean of 12.1‰ in the coarse fraction (0.200-0.250 mm) and a mean of 13.2‰ in the fine fraction (0.125-0.154 mm). The sands of the Taklamakan Desert show a mean δ18O value of 15.4‰ in the main grain size fraction 0.064-0.150 mm. In contrast, the mean δ18O values in all grain size fractions of sand samples from the Hunshandake Sandy Land and from the Hulunbeier Sandy Land are much lower, varying between 6.8‰ and 9.9‰. The outcome established a preliminary database about δ18O distributions in quartz sands throughout China's large deserts and sandy lands. The results show regional differences between each of the sand seas and sandy lands, indicating different provenances of the aeolian sands. Further detailed comparison of the δ18O values between the deserts and loess stratigraphy in the Loess Plateau would provide information about changes in areas of loess sources and evidence of palaeocirculation.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. [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.

  18. 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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  20. 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.

  1. Beach sands

    SciTech Connect

    Fairbridge, R.W.; Lowrie, A.

    1988-01-01

    Beach sands are the residual of climatic and sea level processes interacting in an oscillating geologic continuum. The location of a shoreface is the result of tectonic, sedimentary, oceanographic, and climatic processes, all interweaving to create a single location. The combining processes include passive continental margin subsidence, lithospheric flexuring and epirogenic uplift, depositional processes, fluvial transportation traits, sediment compaction and lithostatic pressure, global wind and ocean currents, global average temperature, and insolation rate. These mechanisms are either synergistic or algebraically additive, positive or negative, and act with periodicities ranging from 10/sup 8/ to 10/sup 0/ years. Sea level oscillations have maximal impact, with climate-weather characteristics and associated oscillation ranges occurring at different periods: plate margin rifted-basin tectonics at 10/sup 8/ years, characterized by periods of major glacial activity lasting 10/sup 7/ years and sea level oscillation ranges of up to 0.5 km; regional basin evolution at 10/sup 7/ years and oscillation ranges of several hundreds of meters; local basin tectonics and sedimentation patterns and long-term sets of climate and sea level oscillation patterns at 10/sup 6/ years, with oscillation ranges of up to 125 m and averaging 50 m; individual glacial and sea level cycles (controlled by planetary orbital motions and insolation) at 10/sup 5/ and 10/sup 4/ years, and oscillation ranges of up to 125 m and averaging 50 m; medium-term climate cycles at 10/sup 3/ years, characterized by peaks of storminess and oscillation ranges of meters to decameters; short-term climate-weather cycles at 10/sup 2/, 10/sup 1/, and 10/sup 0/ years, and oscillation ranges of meters to centimeters. All of these processes impact on sea level oscillations, thus, on the shoreface, leaving a residuum of beach sands.

  2. Are Food Deserts Also Play Deserts?

    PubMed

    Cohen, Deborah A; Hunter, Gerald; Williamson, Stephanie; Dubowitz, Tamara

    2016-04-01

    Although food deserts are areas that lack easy access to food outlets and considered a barrier to a healthy diet and a healthy weight among residents, food deserts typically comprise older urban areas which may have many parks and street configurations that could facilitate more physical activity. However, other conditions may limit the use of available facilities in these areas. This paper assesses the use of parks in two Pittsburgh food desert neighborhoods by using systematic observation. We found that while the local parks were accessible, they were largely underutilized. We surveyed local residents and found that only a minority considered the parks unsafe for use during the day, but a substantial proportion suffered from health limitations that interfered with physical activity. Residents also felt that parks lacked programming and other amenities that could potentially draw more park users. Parks programming and equipment in food desert areas should be addressed to account for local preferences and adjusted to meet the needs and limitations of local residents, especially seniors.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:20354782

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. What is Desert RATS?

    NASA Video Gallery

    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...

  9. Modification of atmospheric sand-associated bacterial communities during Asian sandstorms in China and South Korea.

    PubMed

    An, S; Sin, H H; DuBow, M S

    2015-05-01

    The transport of desert soil into the atmosphere during desert sandstorms can affect the Earth's climate and environmental health. Asian desert sandstorms occur almost every year during the Spring, as the atmosphere in the Northern hemisphere warms. It is conceivable that these Asian desert sandstorms may transport microbes from deserts, such as the Gobi and Taklamaken deserts, over long distances in China, east Asia and the Pacific. In this study, we examined local atmospheric sand particle-associated bacterial populations collected in the absence (sterile sand exposed for 24 h to the air in the absence of a sandstorm) and presence of sandstorms in five Asian cities. We used pyrosequencing of PCR-amplified 16S rDNA genes from sand-extracted total DNA to overcome cultivation limitations of bacterial enumeration. We found that >90% of the control and sandstorm sequences could be classified as representing bacteria belonging to four phyla: Proteobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. The sand-associated bacterial populations in sandstorm samples were distinct from sand-associated bacteria in the absence of a sandstorm. Members of the phylum Proteobacteria were found to significantly increase in sandstorm samples (P=0.01). Principal component analyses showed that the sand-associated bacterial populations were best clustered by sampling year, rather than location. DNA sequences representing bacteria belonging to several genera (including putative human pathogens) were observed to increase in sand-associated samples from sandstorms, whereas others were found to decrease, when comparing sand-associated bacterial populations versus those in control samples, suggesting human/environmental implications of sandstorm events.

  10. Modification of atmospheric sand-associated bacterial communities during Asian sandstorms in China and South Korea.

    PubMed

    An, S; Sin, H H; DuBow, M S

    2015-05-01

    The transport of desert soil into the atmosphere during desert sandstorms can affect the Earth's climate and environmental health. Asian desert sandstorms occur almost every year during the Spring, as the atmosphere in the Northern hemisphere warms. It is conceivable that these Asian desert sandstorms may transport microbes from deserts, such as the Gobi and Taklamaken deserts, over long distances in China, east Asia and the Pacific. In this study, we examined local atmospheric sand particle-associated bacterial populations collected in the absence (sterile sand exposed for 24 h to the air in the absence of a sandstorm) and presence of sandstorms in five Asian cities. We used pyrosequencing of PCR-amplified 16S rDNA genes from sand-extracted total DNA to overcome cultivation limitations of bacterial enumeration. We found that >90% of the control and sandstorm sequences could be classified as representing bacteria belonging to four phyla: Proteobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. The sand-associated bacterial populations in sandstorm samples were distinct from sand-associated bacteria in the absence of a sandstorm. Members of the phylum Proteobacteria were found to significantly increase in sandstorm samples (P=0.01). Principal component analyses showed that the sand-associated bacterial populations were best clustered by sampling year, rather than location. DNA sequences representing bacteria belonging to several genera (including putative human pathogens) were observed to increase in sand-associated samples from sandstorms, whereas others were found to decrease, when comparing sand-associated bacterial populations versus those in control samples, suggesting human/environmental implications of sandstorm events. PMID:25388140

  11. Modification of atmospheric sand-associated bacterial communities during Asian sandstorms in China and South Korea

    PubMed Central

    An, S; Sin, H H; DuBow, M S

    2015-01-01

    The transport of desert soil into the atmosphere during desert sandstorms can affect the Earth's climate and environmental health. Asian desert sandstorms occur almost every year during the Spring, as the atmosphere in the Northern hemisphere warms. It is conceivable that these Asian desert sandstorms may transport microbes from deserts, such as the Gobi and Taklamaken deserts, over long distances in China, east Asia and the Pacific. In this study, we examined local atmospheric sand particle-associated bacterial populations collected in the absence (sterile sand exposed for 24 h to the air in the absence of a sandstorm) and presence of sandstorms in five Asian cities. We used pyrosequencing of PCR-amplified 16S rDNA genes from sand-extracted total DNA to overcome cultivation limitations of bacterial enumeration. We found that >90% of the control and sandstorm sequences could be classified as representing bacteria belonging to four phyla: Proteobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. The sand-associated bacterial populations in sandstorm samples were distinct from sand-associated bacteria in the absence of a sandstorm. Members of the phylum Proteobacteria were found to significantly increase in sandstorm samples (P=0.01). Principal component analyses showed that the sand-associated bacterial populations were best clustered by sampling year, rather than location. DNA sequences representing bacteria belonging to several genera (including putative human pathogens) were observed to increase in sand-associated samples from sandstorms, whereas others were found to decrease, when comparing sand-associated bacterial populations versus those in control samples, suggesting human/environmental implications of sandstorm events. PMID:25388140

  12. Influence of disturbance on soil respiration in biologically crusted soil during the dry season.

    PubMed

    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, Q 10 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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). PMID:12278008

  16. 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).

  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. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Discussion. Cemented horizon in subarctic Alaskan sand dunes.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Galloway, J.P.; Koster, E.A.; Hamilton, T.D.

    1985-01-01

    Exception is taken to the conclusions (M.A. 84M/4465) concerning the distribution, age and origin of the cementing materials of carbonate crusts in the eaeolian sand deposits of the dune field in the central Kobuk Valley. (Following abstract)-M.S.

  1. Characterization of the aeolian terrain facies in Wadi Araba Desert, southwestern Jordan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saqqa, Walid; Atallah, Mohammad

    2004-09-01

    The sand dunes in Wadi Araba Desert, southwestern Jordan, conform to the influence of two main wind systems: (1) the Shamal " north wind", the main determinant of dune patterns, and (2) the southerly winds caused by the Red Sea Trough and Khamasin winds. Wadi Araba is a narrow elongated morphotectonic depression bordered by the high eastern and western mountain ranges that would obstruct most of westerlies in winter and the hot dry easterlies in summer. Wadi Araba Desert is caused by the rain shadow of the eastern and western topographic highs, with an arid-hyperarid climate and moisture index between 0.1 and <0.05. An aeolian terrain occupies about 16% of Wadi Araba Desert divided into four sand dune fields that contain different dune types, interdunes, and sand sheet facies. The development of the aeolian terrain was more likely in the interglacial periods of latest Pleistocene-Holocene during which wind deposition and fluvial erosion were prompted. The variability of wind direction, wind speed and rates of sand supply led to a variety of simple, compound and complex dune formations. Barchanoid (barchan, barchanoid ridge, transverse dunes) are very common. Linear dunes, nabkhas and climbing dunes are less common. The dunes in Wadi Araba are either mobile (active) or stabilized. Dune fixation is primarily by desert shrubs or cementation in case of aeolianites. Interdune troughs vary from dry to damp. Sand sheets are mainly unvegetated or barren. Dune sands are well sorted to moderately well sorted with more than half the sand falling in fine-medium sand fraction. Interdune areas and sheet sands are moderately-poorly sorted with grain size between 0.06-5 and 0.1-0.5 mm, respectively. Angular-subrounded grain shapes are relatively common on all sides of barchanoid dunes. The sediments of the aeolian terrain are chiefly composed of quartz, feldspar, mica and kaolinite. Calcite and dolomite are less predominant minerals.

  2. The continental crust: Its composition and evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Taylor, S.R.; McLennan, S.M.

    1985-01-01

    This book describes the composition of the present upper crust, and deals with possible compositions for the total crust and the inferred composition of the lower crust. The question of the uniformity of crustal composition throughout geological time is discussed. It describes the Archean crust and models for crustal evolution in Archean and Post-Archean time. The rate of growth of the crust through time is assessed, and the effects of the extraction of the crust on mantle compositions. The question of early pre-geological crusts on the Earth is discussed and comparisons are given with crusts on the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus and the Galilean Satellites.

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Bioclogging and Biocementation in Construction of Water Pond in Sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, J.; Ivanov, V.; Stabnikov, V.; Li, B.

    2012-12-01

    Conventionally, compacted bentonite, geosynthetic clay liner or plastic liners are used to seal ponds, channels, and reservoirs in sand. Recently, a new approach to form a low permeability layer of several centimetres thick through the microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) process has been developed (Chu et al., 2012). This method has been adopted to build a laboratory scale water pond model in sand. Calcium solution for bioclogging and biocementation was supplied initially by spaying to form a layer of the clogged sand by precipitation in the pores and then by slow percolation from solution above sand surface, which formed a crust of calcite. This combination of bioclogging and biocementation formed a sand layer of 1 - 3 cm depth with low permeability. The permeability of sand after this treatment was reduced from the order of 10^-4 m/s to 10^-7 m/s when an average 2.1 kg of Ca per m^2 of sand surface was precipitated. The bending strengths of the walls and the base of the model pond were in the range of 90 to 256 kPa. The unconfined compressive strengths obtained from samples from the walls and the base were in the range of 215 to 932 kPa. The graded sand and uniform supply of calcium solution were used for the model pond construction but it was significant spatial three-dimensional heterogeneity of sand bioclogging and biocementation.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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)

  14. How desert varnish forms?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perry, Randall S.; Kolb, Vera M.; Lynne, Bridget Y.; Sephton, Mark A.; Mcloughlin, Nicola; Engel, Michael H.; Olendzenski, Lorraine; Brasier, Martin; Staley, James T., Jr.

    2005-09-01

    Desert varnish is a black, manganese-rich rock coating that is widespread on Earth. The mechanism underlying its formation, however, has remained unresolved. We present here new data and an associated model for how desert varnish forms, which substantively challenges previously accepted models. We tested both inorganic processes (e.g. clays and oxides cementing coatings) and microbial methods of formation. Techniques used in this preliminary study include SEM-EDAX with backscatter, HRTEM of focused ion beam prepared (FIB) wafers and several other methods including XRPD, Raman spectroscopy, XPS and Tof-SIMS. The only hypothesis capable of explaining a high water content, the presence of organic compounds, an amorphous silica phase (opal-A) and lesser quantities of clays than previously reported, is a mechanism involving the mobilization and redistribution of silica. The discovery of silica in desert varnish suggests labile organics are preserved by interaction with condensing silicic acid. Organisms are not needed for desert varnish formation but Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya, and other organic compounds are passively incorporated and preserved as organominerals. The rock coatings thus provide useful records of past environments on Earth and possibly other planets. Additionally this model also helps to explain the origin of key varnish and rock glaze features, including their hardness, the nature of the "glue" that binds heterogeneous components together, its layered botryoidal morphology, and its slow rate of formation.

  15. 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

  16. [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. PMID:23755477

  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. 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...

  19. Lunar crust: structure and composition.

    PubMed

    Toksöz, M N; Press, F; Anderson, K; Dainty, A; Latham, G; Ewing, M; Dorman, J; Lammlein, D; Sutton, G; Duennebier, F; Nakamura, Y

    1972-06-01

    Lunar seismic data from artificial impacts recorded at three Apollo seismometers are interpreted to determine the structure of the moon's interior to a depth of about 100 kilomneters. In the Fra Mauro region of Oceanus Procellarum, the moon has a layered crust 65 kilometers thick. The seismic velocities in the upper 25 kilometers are consistent with those in lunar basalts. Between 25 and 65 kilometers, the nearly constant velocity (6.8 kilometers per second) corresponds to velocities in gabbroic and anorthositic rocks. The apparent velocity is high (about 9 kilometers per second) in the lunar mantle immediately below the crust.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. A Comparative Analysis of the Microfabrics of Surface Horizons and Desert Varnish in Extremely Arid Soils of the Mojave (USA) and Trans-Altai Gobi (Mongolia) Deserts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebedeva, M. P.; Shishkov, V. A.

    2016-02-01

    The mineralogical composition of coarse fraction and characteristic features of the micro- and submicrofabrics and chemical composition of desert varnish on gravels of desert pavements and the underlying vesicular crust soil horizons were studied in the extremely arid soils of the Mojave (USA) and Trans-Altai Gobi (Mongolia) deserts. A set of common diagnostic features of elementary pedogenetic processes was identified in the automorphic desert soils developed on ancient (70-90 ka) piedmont plains composed of alluvial deposits with the high content of red-earth clay. The results of this study attest to the long and complicated history of the extremely arid soils with alternation of the humid and arid phases of pedogenesis reflected in a specific combination of textural (clay-illuvial) and carbonate pedofeatures and in the distribution patterns of iron, manganese, titanium, and barium in different layers of the desert varnish. The chemical composition of the latter did not depend on the mineralogical composition of the underlying substrates and was formed with active participation of soil microorganisms. This allowed us to conclude about the polygenetic (accretionary-microbiological) nature of desert varnish.

  9. Statistics of Magnetar Crusts Magnetoemission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kondratyev, V. N.; Korovina, Yu. V.

    2016-05-01

    Soft repeating gamma-ray (SGR) bursts are considered as magnetoemission of crusts of magnetars (ultranamagnetized neutron stars). It is shown that all the SGR burst observations can be described and systematized within randomly jumping interacting moments model including quantum fluctuations and internuclear magnetic interaction in an inhomogeneous crusty nuclear matter.

  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. Microbial origin of desert varnish.

    PubMed

    Dorn, R I; Oberlander, T M

    1981-09-11

    Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray analyses of desert varnish reveal that microorganisms concentrate ambient manganese that becomes greatly enhanced in brown to black varnish. Specific characteristics of desert varnish and of varnish bacteria support a microbial origin for manganese-rich films. Varnish microbes can be cultured and produce laboratory manganese films. Accordingly, natural desert varnish and also manganese-rich rock varnishes in nondesert environments appear to be a product of microbial activity. PMID:17744757

  12. Microbial origin of desert varnish.

    PubMed

    Dorn, R I; Oberlander, T M

    1981-09-11

    Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray analyses of desert varnish reveal that microorganisms concentrate ambient manganese that becomes greatly enhanced in brown to black varnish. Specific characteristics of desert varnish and of varnish bacteria support a microbial origin for manganese-rich films. Varnish microbes can be cultured and produce laboratory manganese films. Accordingly, natural desert varnish and also manganese-rich rock varnishes in nondesert environments appear to be a product of microbial activity.

  13. 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

  14. 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. ?? 2002 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Crusted scabies in a healthy infant.

    PubMed

    Baysal, V; Yildirim, M; Türkman, C; Aridogan, B; Aydin, G

    2004-03-01

    Crusted scabies is generally seen in mentally retarded and immunosuppressed individuals. We report the case of a patient with crusted scabies with neither systemic disease nor immunosuppression; all the lesions were cured with applications of 5% permethrin lotion.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Are There High Meteorite Concentrations in the Atacama Desert/Chile?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scherer, P.; Delisle, G.

    1992-07-01

    We have visited numerous regions of the Atacama desert between Copiapo (27 degrees, 15'S) and Calama (22 degrees, 25'S) to assess their potential as a high-yield meteorite concentration surface, easily exploitable by search efforts within a reasonable time frame. According to our observations, this desert is characterized by the following features: a) A high percentage of the desert consists of sloping surfaces on which soil movement occurs, presumably by very infrequent, though heavy rain. b) Vast areas of the desert are covered by a dm-thick sand layer of dark colour. Since the sand is too coarse-grained to be transported by wind it presumably resulted from in-situ weathering of rock debris derived from nearby mountains. We suspect that impacting smaller objects can easily penetrate the sand layer. c) The sand layer is typically dotted by rocks, fist-size or smaller, that are covered by a thick layer of desert paint (reddish-brown to black colour). Most country rocks are of volcanic origin (rhyolite, andesite, basalt) and are typically of grey to black colour. A noticeable colour contrast in particular to potential stony meteorites is almost nonexistent. d) Soil salts with a potential to speed up weathering processes are ubiquitous near the surface. e) The Pampa de Mejillones, 45 km north of Antofagasta, is one of the few light-coloured areas in the Atacama desert. The surface, being of Mio-Pliocene age, consists of an almost continuous layer of light-brown fossil shells (bivalves and gastropodes). Fluvially transported dark rocks from adjacent outcrops rest on top. The latter material is covered again by desert paint. Few meteorite discoveries have been reported from this area (Pampa (a),(b),(c)). f) Numerous old tire tracks, in particular around mines in operation, crisscross most areas of the Atacama. Undetected objects such as large masses of iron bodies are not likely to have remained undiscovered in great numbers any more. We conclude that the potential of

  5. 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.

  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.

  7. Aircraft and satellite remote sensing of desert soils and landscapes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petersen, G. W.; Connors, K. F.; Miller, D. A.; Day, R. L.; Gardner, T. W.

    1987-01-01

    Remote sensing data on desert soils and landscapes, obtained by the Landsat TM, Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM), Simulated SPOT, and Thermal IR Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) aboard an aircraft, are discussed together with the analytical techniques used in the studies. The TM data for southwestern Nevada were used to discriminate among the alluvial fan deposits with different degrees of desert pavement and varnish, and different vegetation cover. Thermal-IR data acquired from the HCMM satellite were used to map the spatial distribution of diurnal surface temperatures and to estimate mean annual soil temperatures in central Utah. Simulated SPOT data for northwestern New Mexico identified geomorphic features, such as differences in eolian sand cover and fluvial incision, while the TIMS data depicted surface geologic features of the Saline Valley in California.

  8. 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

  9. Libyan Desert, Libya, Africa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    Desert landscapes such as this part of the northern Sahara (27.0N, 11.0E) may be analogous to other planets which have no soil or plant growth. The dark rocks in this view are probably volcanic in origin and have many stream beds leading into the dune areas. These stream beds carry sediments towards the lower terrain where the water evaporates, leaving the sediments to be wind blown into the complex dune patterns. The red color comes from iron oxides.

  10. Minimal model for aeolian sand dunes.

    PubMed

    Kroy, Klaus; Sauermann, Gerd; Herrmann, Hans J

    2002-09-01

    We present a minimal model for the formation and migration of aeolian sand dunes in unidirectional winds. It combines a perturbative description of the turbulent wind velocity field above the dune with a continuum saltation model that allows for saturation transients in the sand flux. The latter are shown to provide a characteristic length scale, called saturation length, which is distinct from the saltation length of the grains. The model admits two different classes of solutions for the steady-state profile along the wind direction: smooth heaps and dunes with slip face. We clarify the origin of the characteristic properties of these solutions and analyze their scaling behavior. We also investigate in some detail the dynamic evolution of heaps and dunes, including the steady-state migration velocity and transient shape relaxation. Although the minimal model employs nonlocal expressions for the wind shear stress as well as for the sand flux, it is simple enough to serve as a very efficient tool for analytical and numerical investigations and opens up the way to simulations of large scale desert topographies. PMID:12366107

  11. 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)

  12. China Dust and Sand

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... article title:  Dust and Sand Sweep Over Northeast China     View Larger Image ... these views of the dust and sand that swept over northeast China on March 10, 2004. Information on the height of the dust and an ...

  13. 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. PMID:25825769

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Insecticide Treated Camouflage Sceening Reduces Sand Fly Numbers in Leishmania-Endemic Regions in Kenya

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Fine gravel controls hydrologic and erodibility responses to trampling disturbance for coarse-textured soils with weak cyanobacterial crusts.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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).

  9. 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

  10. A Microscopists View of Desert Varnish from the Sonoran Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garvie, L. A. J.; Burt, D. M.; Buseck, P. R.

    2009-03-01

    Nanometer-scale element mapping and spectroscopy of desert varnish reveals a dynamic disequilibrium system characterized by post-depositional mineralogical, chemical, and structural changes, activated by liquid water.

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. Challenge of a desert: revegetation of disturbed desert lands

    SciTech Connect

    Wallace, A.; Romney, E.M.; Hunter, R.B.

    1980-01-01

    The revegetation of disturbed, arid lands is one of the great challenges of a desert. An attempt to encourage it is not an impossible task, however, if the natural and the man-made resources available are utilized and managed. Where rainfall and temperature conditions approach or exceed those of the Great Basin desert, restoration of disturbed land will occur through natural revegetation processes within a reasonable period of time. This is not generally the case in the more arid Mojave Desert areas where the moisture and temperature conditions are less favorable for germination and seedling survival. Restoration of vegetation by natural reseeding can, however, occur within local sites where moisture has concentrated as the result of terrain features forming catchment basins. Otherwise, the natural revegetation processes in the Mojave Desert areas require much longer periods of time (possibly decades or centuries) than are practical for meeting environmental protection standards imposed by current legislation. Through better understanding of the processes governing revegetation and the ability to control them, it is possible for man to more rapidly restore disturbed desert lands. Terrain manipulation to form moisture catchment basins, selection of seed from pioneering shrub species, preservation of existing shrub clump fertile islands in the soil, supplemental fertilization, irrigation, organic amendments, and transplanting vigorous shrub species are some of the important things that can be done to help restore disturbed desert land.

  14. North Polar Sand Dunes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-417, 10 July 2003

    The martian north polar ice cap is surrounded by fields of dark, windblown sand dunes. This March 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dunes near 76.5oN, 264.7oW. The steep dune slip faces indicate wind transport of sand from the lower left toward the upper right. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  15. 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

  16. 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)

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Composition of the ancient north american crust.

    PubMed

    Condie, K C

    1967-02-24

    Geochemical studies of Wyoming Precambrian graywackes derived from continental crust older than 3.2 x 10(9) years indicate that their source area was at least as highly differentiated as most younger Precambrian crust. The composition of this early crust (approximately that of calcium-rich granite) is not unlike that of the 2.5 to 3.2 x 10(9) year old North American crust. Limited geochemical data suggest that the composition of North America may not have changed significantly during the last 3.0 to 3.5 x 10(9) years.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. PMID:23368300

  3. The cumulative effects of using fine particles and cyanobacteria for rehabilitation of disturbed active sand dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaady, Eli; Katra, Itzhak; Barkai, Daniel; Knoll, Yaakov; Sarig, Shlomo

    2016-04-01

    One of the main problems in desertified lands worldwide is active wind-borne sand dunes, which lead to covering of fertile soils and agricultural fields. In regions with more than 100 mm of annual rainfall, sand dunes may be naturally stabilized by biocrusts (biological soil crusts). One of the main restraints of biocrust development is the typical lack of fine particles in sand dunes. Our study investigated the combined application of fine particles [coal fly-ash <100 micrometer] and bio-inoculant of filamentous cyanobacteria, isolated from nearby natural stabilized sand dunes, on the soil surface of active sands for increasing resistance to wind erosion. Boundary-layer wind tunnel experiments were conducted in experimental plots within a greenhouse for examining the effects of adding coal fly-ash and bio-inoculant to active sands. The biocrust development was evaluated via several physical and bio-physiological variables. In all the physical measurements and the bio-physiological variables, the treatment of "sand+inoculum+coal fly-ash" showed significant differences from the "sand-control". The combination led to the best results of surface stabilization in boundary-layer wind tunnel experiments, with the lowest sand fluxes. The filamentous cyanobacteria use the fine particles of the coal fly-ash as bridges for growing toward and adhering to the large sand particles. The cumulative effects of biocrusts and coal fly-ash enhance soil surface stabilization and may allow long-term sustainability.

  4. The role of soil surface crusting in desertification and strategies to reduce crusting.

    PubMed

    Fox, D M; Bryan, R B; Price, A G

    2004-12-01

    Soil crusting decreases infiltration, increases erosion, and impedes vegetation establishment, so reducing the impact of crusting is of major importance in combating desertification. Although surface crusting has been the subject of considerable research over the past 50 years or more, the practical management of soil crusts remains a challenge for many dryland communities. Crusting occurs in two steps, an initial aggregate breakdown period that occurs under rainfall and a subsequent hardening phase during drying. Several factors influence crust development, but the single most important one is soil aggregate stability. Strategies to reduce crusting can be based either on protecting the surface from raindrop impact or improving aggregate stability, or a combination of both. However, crust control is labor and/or capital intensive and must be thought out clearly in terms of the benefits to be achieved.

  5. 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.

  6. Aeolian process-induced hyper-concentrated flow in a desert watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ta, Wanquan; Wang, Haibin; Jia, Xiaopeng

    2014-04-01

    Ephemeral desert channels are characterized by very high rates of sediment transport during infrequent flood events. Here we show that aeolian process-induced hyper-concentrated (AHC) flows occur in the Sudalaer desert watershed in the Ordos Plateau of China, which primarily transport 0.08-0.25 mm non-cohesive aeolian sand and have a peak suspended sediment concentration of 1.1-1.4 × 106 mg l-3. Aeolian sand supply and storage in the channel play a crucial role in causing hyper-concentrated flow. Our results indicate that non-cohesive aeolian sand can be entrained from the bed and suspended in the turbulent flow when the channel bed slope exceeds a critical threshold (0.0003). We also show that if the frequency ratio of wind-blown sandstorms to rainstorms Tw/Tp exceeds β(γ - γ0)/α (P/V3) (A/L) (where α is the wind-blown sand transport coefficient, β is the runoff coefficient, γ - γ0 is the increase in suspension concentration caused by addition of aeolian sands, P is the density of rainstorms, V is the wind speed of sandstorms, A is the runoff-generating area, L is the aeolian sand-filled channel length), an AHC flow occurs during the passage of a flood in a desert channel. Since high-frequency aeolian processes provide an adequate quantity of transportable sediment and promote AHC flow, most of the infrequent rainfall-induced floods occurring in arid zones can develop as AHC flows.

  7. Orbital radar studies of paleodrainages in the central Namib Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lancaster, N.; Schaber, G.G.; Teller, J.T.

    2000-01-01

    Orbital radar images of the central Namib Desert show clearly the extent of relict fluvial deposits associated with former courses of the Tsondab and Kuiseb rivers. South of the Kuiseb River, radar data show the existence of a drainage network developed in calcrete-cemented late Tertiary fluvial deposits. The sand-filled paleovalleys are imaged as radar-dark tones in contrast to the radar-bright interfluves where the calcreted gravels occur. The drainage network developed as a result of local runoff from indurated gravels and channeled surface and subsurface flow to the sites of the many interdune lacustrine deposits found in the area. (C) Elsevier Science Inc., 2000.Orbital radar images of the central Namib Desert show clearly the extent of relict fluvial deposits associated with former courses of the Tsondab and Kuiseb rivers. South of the Kuiseb River, radar data show the existence of a drainage network developed in calcrete-cemented late Tertiary fluvial deposits. The sand-filled paleovalleys are imaged as radar-dark tones in contrast to the radar-bright interfluves where the calcreted gravels occur. The drainage network developed as a result of local runoff from indurated gravels and channeled surface and subsurface flow to the sites of the many interdune lacustrine deposits found in the area.

  8. 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.

  9. [Study on the change of dune CO2 concentration in the autumn at Minqin in Tengger desert].

    PubMed

    Shao, Tian-Jie; Zhao, Jing-Bo; Yu, Ke-Ke; Dong, Zhi-Bao

    2010-12-01

    In order to find out the CO2 concentration of the desert area, the influence of it on the CO2 in the atmosphere and the role that it played on the global carbon cycle, the research team utilized in September 2009 infrared CO2 monitor to observe the CO2 concentration of the 12 drill holes day and night in Minqin desert area in the Tengger desert. The difference of various observation spots' CO2 concentration of the desert area in the Tengger desert area is relatively big. The CO2 concentration at night is low but high in the daytime and the CO2 concentration at each observation spot changes from 310 x 10(-6) to 2 630 x 10(-6). The CO2 concentration is also obviously different in depth and the CO2 concentration at different depths in order of size is as follows: 4 m(3m) > 2 m > 1m. Compared with Xi' an area where is in the temperate and semi-humid region, the CO2 concentration of the desert area in Tengger desert is very low. The diurnal variation of CO2 concentration of the desert area in Tengger desert is obvious, and from the day 09:00 am to 09:00 am the next day, the CO2 concentrations at different depths which rang from 1 m to 4 m present the regularity that it changes from low to high, and then from high to low. The diurnal variation in temperature is the main reason that causes the change of the CO2 concentration in the sand layer, both of which have the positive correlation. The sand layer's CO2 concentration with higher water content is obviously higher than that with lower water content. The moisture content of sand layer is the main factor of the CO2 concentration. The CO2 concentration above 4m in the desert area is higher than that above the surface, which maybe indicates that the CO2 from the highest desert area is also the resource of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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. PMID:26637127

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. The origin and distribution of soluble salts in the sand seas of northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Bingqi; Yang, Xiaoping

    2010-11-01

    Based on samples taken from four large sand seas of northern China, this paper first provides basic data about the concentrations and chemistries of soluble salts in deserts of northern China and then discusses the origins and parameters triggering geographical variations. The total concentration of soluble salts in the aeolian sands of four large sand seas in northern China ranges between 0.14‰ and 1.32‰, with the pH of the soluble salts solution (mixing ratio of sand and water 1:5) changing between 8.4 and 9.6, confirming alkaline soil conditions in these regions. Sodium chloride and bicarbonate are the dominant salts occurring as soluble salts in the aeolian deposits of these sand seas. The geographical changes of soluble salts' concentration display a clear correlation with regional climatic parameters, i.e., precipitation and temperature. The domination of sedimentation of soluble salts in the aeolian sands deposited via atmospheric processes is discussed, which are heavily associated with dry deposition. The mean percentages of Na and Cl, derived from dry depositions, are estimated to be > 90% in both Badain Jaran and Taklamakan deserts.

  18. 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.

  19. Plagioclase flotation and lunar crust formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walker, D.; Hays, J. F.

    1977-01-01

    Anorthitic plagioclase floats in liquids parental to the lunar highlands crust. The plagioclase enrichment that is characteristic of lunar highlands rocks can be the result of plagioclase flotation. Such rocks would form a gravitationally stable upper crust on their parental magma.

  20. Secular evolution of the continental crust: Implications for crust evolution models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rollinson, Hugh

    2008-12-01

    The present-day flux from mantle to crust is basaltic and yet the average composition of the continental crust is andesitic. This is the crust composition paradox. A new solution to this paradox is proposed whereby the secular evolution in the composition of the continental crust reflects a changing flux from mantle to crust over time. Thus it is proposed that the present-day composition of the continental crust is a time-integrated average. Crustal growth curves show that 48-54% of the continental crust was formed by the end of the Archaean. A mass balance model based upon a tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite compositional model for the Archaean continental crust shows that the post-Archaean mantle to crust flux was predominantly basaltic and likely a mix of arc-plume basalts. Trace element modeling, however, reveals that additional processes also contributed to the average crust composition. Balancing Y, Ho, and Yb concentrations requires a garnetiferous mafic granulite lower Archaean crust, which in turn drives the post-Archaean flux toward a high mg # andesite. This suggests that there was a slab melt contribution to the continents, in addition to basalt. An excess of fluid mobile elements in the continental crust can be explained either by the addition of a slab melt or small fraction melts. A deficiency in Sr requires that the post-Archaean crustal composition has been modified by erosion. Both Archaean and post-Archaean continental crust contain contributions from basalt and a slab melt. In the Archaean crust the slab melt contribution is dominant. In the post-Archaean crust the basaltic contribution is dominant.

  1. [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

  2. [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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Diurnal variations of saltation activity at Tazhong: the hinterland of Taklimakan Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-02-01

    The Taklimakan Desert of China is a region of frequent sandstorms and, thus, is a major sand and dust source area. Tazhong, a small mining village, is located near the center of the Taklimakan Desert at a distance of 220 km from the desert margins. Near Tazhong, we conducted a 2-year field investigation designed to monitor the diurnal variation of saltation activity using fast-responding piezoelectric saltation sensors (Sensits). Results suggest that saltation activity tends to occur more frequently during daytime in all seasons, relatively high levels of saltation activity are maintained from around 11:30 to around 16:30 local standard time (LST), because of stronger wind speed, higher soil temperature and lower relative humidity. During the spring and summer seasons, the saltation activity can occur at any time of the day, while there are some periods with zero saltation seconds at night and in the early morning during autumn and winter seasons. The results confirm that sandstorms tend to occur more frequently during daylight hours, so it may be helpful to forecast and guard against the occurrence of blowing sand or sandstorms in the Taklimakan Desert.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Phytoremediation for Oily Desert Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Radwan, Samir

    This chapter deals with strategies for cleaning oily desert soils through rhizosphere technology. Bioremediation involves two major approaches; seeding with suitable microorganisms and fertilization with microbial growth enhancing materials. Raising suitable crops in oil-polluted desert soils fulfills both objectives. The rhizosphere of many legume and non-legume plants is richer in oil-utilizing micro-organisms than non-vegetated soils. Furthermore, these rhizospheres also harbour symbiotic and asymbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and are rich in simple organic compounds exuded by plant roots. Those exudates are excellent nutrients for oil-utilizing microorganisms. Since many rhizospheric bacteria have the combined activities of hydrocarbon-utilization and nitrogen fixation, phytoremediation provides a feasible and environmentally friendly biotechnology for cleaning oil-polluted soils, especially nitrogen-poor desert soils.

  10. Ganges Chasma Sands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    8 July 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows dark, windblown sand in the form of dunes and a broad, relatively flat, sand sheet in Ganges Chasma, part of the eastern Valles Marineris trough complex. The winds responsible for these dunes blew largely from the north. Sand dunes on Mars, unlike their Earthly counterparts, are usually dark in tone. This is a reflection of their composition, which includes minerals that are more rich in iron and magnesium than the common silica-rich dunes of Earth. Similar dark sands on Earth are found in volcanic regions such as Iceland and Hawaii. A large dune field of iron/magnesium-rich grains, in the form fragments of the volcanic rock, basalt, occurs south of Moses Lake, Washington, in the U.S.

    Location near: 7.7oS, 45.3oW Image width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Southern Spring

  11. 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…

  12. 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)

  13. Sand-box modelling

    SciTech Connect

    Avery, P.

    1983-01-01

    As the result of an enquiry into BHRA's physical-reservoir-modelling experience, the use of sand box models was investigated. The type of model was considered a possible means of confirmation of a numerical model. The problem facing the numerical model user was comparing the performance of inclined or horizontal oil wells with that of the conventional vertical well.

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. Western Gas Sands Subprogram

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1983-12-01

    The Western Gas Sands Subprogram (WGSS) is a multidisciplinary research effort within the US Department of Energy program on Unconventional Gas Recovery. The subprogram, managed by DOE's Morgantown Energy Technology Center, is directed towards the development of tight (very low permeability) lenticular gas sands in the western United States. The purpose of the subprogram is to demonstrate the feasibility of economically producing natural gas from low-permeability reservoirs. The subprogram has two broad goals: (1) to reduce the uncertainty of the reservoir production potential and (2) to improve the extraction technology. With input from the gas industry, universities, and geologic and engineering consulting firms, the WGSS was broadened to include more fundamental research and development. Consequently, for the last five years it has focused on improving diagnostic instrumentation, geophysical and engineering interpretation, and stimulation techniques. Integrated geologic studies of the three priority basins containing tight sands and selected by DOE as research targets have also been pursued as part of this new effort. To date, the following tentative conclusions have evolved: Permeability of the tight gas sands can be as much as three to four orders of magnitude lower than conventional gas deposits. Nineteen western geologic basins and trends containing significant amounts of tight gas have been identified. Gas resources in the priority geologic basins are Piceance Basin, 49 tcf., Uinta Basin, 20 tcf., and Greater Green River Basin, 136 tcf. The presence of natural micro-fractures within the production zone of a reservoir and the effective propped length of hydraulically-induced fractures are the critical parameters for successful development of tight sand resources. 8 figures.

  18. Morphologic characteristics and migration rate assessment of barchan dunes in the Southeastern Western Desert of Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamdan, M. A.; Refaat, A. A.; Abdel Wahed, M.

    2016-03-01

    This work explores the morphologic characteristics of aeolian dune sand in the southeastern part of Western Desert of Egypt. It aims to assess the movement of barchan dunes and evaluate their environmental influence on the Toshka Project. Morphometric investigation of barchan dunes in the Toshka area revealed that most barchans have high length/width (a/c) ratios (fat to pudgy), while one-fifth of the studied barchans have lower a/c ratios and so appear normal in their morphologic forms. Statistical analysis of the main parameters of barchan dunes in Toshka and other desert regions in the Kharga (Egypt), Kuwait, Southern Morocco, California and Southern Peru demonstrates that barchans of the Toshka area are distinctive in their appearance. They are characterized by distinct aspect with higher values of length and width and greater growth in height. The high-energy wind environment in addition to the large amount of drifting sand are principal factors responsible for the unique shape of Toshka barchans. The migration rate of barchan dunes in four chosen test locations, within the central and western Toshka area, ranges from about 3 to 10.82 m/year. The calculated average migration rate of these dunes is about 6 m/year in a SSW direction. Sand encroachment is more extensive in the central and western parts of the investigated Toshka area. Risk evaluation of sand dune movements in the southeastern part of the Western Desert points to medium to high sand encroachment risk values. These may represent serious hazards to the newly-established Toshka Project, threatening roads, as well as cultivated lands in the area.

  19. Connecting Brabant's cover sand landscapes through landscape history

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heskes, Erik; van den Ancker, Hanneke; Jungerius, Pieter Dirk; Harthoorn, Jaap; Maes, Bert; Leenders, Karel; de Jongh, Piet; Kluiving, Sjoerd; van den Oetelaar, Ger

    2015-04-01

    Noord-Brabant has the largest variety of cover sand landscapes in The Netherlands, and probably in Western Europe. During the Last Ice Age the area was not covered by land ice and a polar desert developed in which sand dunes buried the existing river landscapes. Some of these polar dune landscapes experienced a geomorphological and soil development that remained virtually untouched up to the present day, such as the low parabolic dunes of the Strabrechtse Heide or the later and higher dunes of the Oisterwijkse Vennen. As Noord-Brabant lies on the fringe of a tectonic basin, the thickness of cover sand deposits in the Centrale Slenk, part of a rift through Europe, amounts up to 20 metres. Cover sand deposits along the fault lines cause the special phenomenon of 'wijst' to develop, in which the higher grounds are wetter than the boarding lower grounds. Since 4000 BC humans settled in these cover sand landscapes and made use of its small-scale variety. An example are the prehistoric finds on the flanks and the historic towns on top of the 'donken' in northwest Noord-Brabant, where the cover sand landscapes are buried by river and marine deposits and only the peaks of the dunes protrude as donken. Or the church of Handel that is built beside a 'wijst' source and a site of pilgrimage since living memory. Or the 'essen' and plaggen agriculture that developed along the stream valleys of Noord-Brabant from 1300 AD onwards, giving rise to geomorphological features as 'randwallen' and plaggen soils of more than a metre thickness. Each region of Brabant each has its own approach in attracting tourists and has not yet used this common landscape history to connect, manage and promote their territories. We propose a landscape-historical approach to develop a national or European Geopark Brabants' cover sand landscapes, in which each region focuses on a specific part of the landscape history of Brabant, that stretches from the Late Weichselian polar desert when the dune

  20. Quantifying the Relationship between Strike-slip Fault Spacing and Brittle Crust Thickness in Continental Settings based on Sandbox Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, J. C.; Zuza, A. V.; Yin, A.

    2015-12-01

    Parallel and evenly spaced strike-slip faults occur widely in continental settings. The fault spacing varies from 10s of km along transform fault systems (e.g., southern California and New Zealand) to 200-400 km in continental interiors (e.g., central Tibet, central Asia, and North China plains). In order to understand the role of the brittle crust rheology and thickness in controlling the fault spacing in continental settings, we performed a series of sandbox experiments using medium-grained dry sand under strike-slip simple-shear conditions. With a self-built sliding device, we determined the yield strength of the dry sand to follow a Coulomb fracture relationship: Tn = 0.5173Sn + 15.475(Pa), with R2 = 0.936, where Tn is the shear stress, Sn is the normal stress, R is the coefficient of linear correlation, and 15.475 Pa is the cohesive strength. In our experiments, we created parallel Riedel shears in a simple shear zone with sand layer thickness varying from 1 cm to 6 cm. The relationship between the fault spacing (S) and the sand layer thickness (T) fits a linear equation of S = 0.5528T + 4.765, with R2 = 0.975. Assuming that the cohesive strength of the continental crust is 1-5 MPa and neglecting the density difference between rock and sand, the scaling relationship between sand and crustal thickness can be approximated as 1:1 X 105 to 1:5 X 105, which means that our experiments simulate a range of crustal thicknesses from 1 km to 30 km. The relevance of the S-T relationship obtained from this study will be tested in areas of active strike-slip tectonics, where the thickness of the brittle crust can be determined by the thickness of the seismogenic zones.

  1. Facilitation of endolithic microbial survival in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert by mineral deliquescence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davila, Alfonso F.; Gómez-Silva, Benito; de Los Rios, Asunción; Ascaso, Carmen; Olivares, Hector; McKay, Christopher P.; Wierzchos, Jacek

    2008-03-01

    The hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert is considered the dry limit for life on Earth. Soils in this region have very low abundance of heterotrophic bacteria and are practically barren of photosynthetic microorganisms because of the extreme dry conditions (≤2 mm a-1 rainfall). However, relatively abundant endolithic communities of cyanobacteria (Chroococcidiopsis) occur within halite crusts in paleolake evaporitic deposits. By means of continuous monitoring of the microclimate conditions (temperature, relative humidity, water vapor density, wetness, and photosynthetically active radiation) inside and around the halite crusts, we demonstrate here that water vapor condenses within the pore space of the halite at relative humidity (RH) levels that otherwise hinder the occurrence of liquid water in the surrounding environment. Water condensation occurs at RH >75%, which corresponds to the deliquescence point of halite. We have estimated a total of 57 deliquescence events (i.e., water condensation) within the halite crusts, as opposed to only 1 liquid water event outside. These wet events resulted in a total of 213.8 h of potential photosynthetic activity for the endolithic microorganisms versus only 6 h for organisms outside the halite crusts. Halite crusts may therefore represent the last available niche for photosynthetic activity in extreme arid environments on Earth.

  2. Crust rheology, slab detachment and topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duretz, T.; Gerya, T. V.

    2012-04-01

    The collision between continents following the closure of an ocean can lead to the subduction of continental crust. The introduction of buoyant crust within subduction zones triggers the development of extensional stresses in slabs which eventually result in their detachment. The dynamic consequences of slab detachment affects the development of topography, the exhumation of high-pressure rocks and the geodynamic evolution of collision zones. We employ two-dimensional thermo-mechanical modelling in order to study the importance of crustal rheology on the evolution of spontaneous subduction-collision systems and the occurrence of slab detachment. The modelling results indicate that varying the rheological structure of the crust can results in a broad range of collisional evolutions involving slab detachment, delamination (associated to slab rollback), or the combination of both mechanisms. By enhancing mechanical coupling at the Moho, a strong crust leads to the deep subduction of the crust (180 km). These collisions are subjected to slab detachment and subsequent coherent exhumation of the crust accommodated by eduction (inversion of subduction sense) and thrusting. In these conditions, slab detachment promotes the development of a high (> 4.5 km) and narrow (< 200 km) topographic plateau located in the vicinity of the suture. A contrasting style of collision is obtained by employing a weak crustal rheology. The weak mechanical coupling at the Moho promotes the widespread delamination of the lithosphere, preventing slab detachment to occur. Further shortening leads to buckling and thickening of the crust resulting in the development of topographic bulging on the lower plate. Collisions involving rheologically layered crust are characterised by a decoupling level at mid-crustal depths. These initial condition favours the delamination of the upper crust as well as the deep subduction of the lower crust. These collisions are thus successively affected by delamination

  3. Controls on sediment production in two U.S. deserts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belnap, Jayne; Walker, Beau J.; Munson, Seth M.; Gill, Richard A.

    2014-09-01

    Much of the world’s airborne sediment originates from dryland regions. Soil surface disturbances in these regions are ever-increasing due to human activities such as energy and mineral exploration and development, recreation, suburbanization, livestock grazing and cropping. Sediment production can have significant impacts to human health with particles potentially carrying viruses such as Valley Fever or causing asthma or other respiratory diseases. Dust storms can cause decreased visibility at the ground level, resulting in highway accidents, and reduced visual quality in park and wildland airsheds. Sediment production and deposition is also detrimental to ecosystem health, as production reduces soil fertility at its source and can bury plants and other organisms where it is deposited. Therefore, it is important to understand how we can predict what areas are prone to producing sediment emissions both before and after soil surface disturbance. We visited 87 sites in two deserts of the western U.S. that represented a range of soil texture and surface cover types. We used a portable wind tunnel to estimate the threshold friction velocity (TFV) required to initiate sediment transport and the amount of sediment produced by the tunnel at a set wind speed. Wind tunnel runs were done before and after soil surface disturbance with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Results show that most undisturbed desert soils are very stable, especially if covered by rocks or well-developed biological soil crusts, which make them virtually wind-erosion proof. Particles at disturbed sites, in contrast, moved at relatively low wind speeds and produced high amounts of sediment. Silt was an important predictor of TFV and sediment production across all sites, whereas the influence of rock cover and biological soil crusts was site-dependent. Understanding the vulnerability of a site after disturbance is important information for land managers as they plan land use activities and attempt to

  4. Controls on sediment production in two U.S. deserts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Walker, Beau J.; Munson, Seth M.; Gill, Richard A.

    2014-01-01

    Much of the world’s airborne sediment originates from dryland regions. Soil surface disturbances in these regions are ever-increasing due to human activities such as energy and mineral exploration and development, recreation, suburbanization, livestock grazing and cropping. Sediment production can have significant impacts to human health with particles potentially carrying viruses such as Valley Fever or causing asthma or other respiratory diseases. Dust storms can cause decreased visibility at the ground level, resulting in highway accidents, and reduced visual quality in park and wildland airsheds. Sediment production and deposition is also detrimental to ecosystem health, as production reduces soil fertility at its source and can bury plants and other organisms where it is deposited. Therefore, it is important to understand how we can predict what areas are prone to producing sediment emissions both before and after soil surface disturbance. We visited 87 sites in two deserts of the western U.S. that represented a range of soil texture and surface cover types. We used a portable wind tunnel to estimate the threshold friction velocity (TFV) required to initiate sediment transport and the amount of sediment produced by the tunnel at a set wind speed. Wind tunnel runs were done before and after soil surface disturbance with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Results show that most undisturbed desert soils are very stable, especially if covered by rocks or well-developed biological soil crusts, which make them virtually wind-erosion proof. Particles at disturbed sites, in contrast, moved at relatively low wind speeds and produced high amounts of sediment. Silt was an important predictor of TFV and sediment production across all sites, whereas the influence of rock cover and biological soil crusts was site-dependent. Understanding the vulnerability of a site after disturbance is important information for land managers as they plan land use activities and attempt to

  5. Classification and depositional environments of Quaternary pedogenic gypsum crusts (gypcrete) from east of the Fayum Depression, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aref, Mahmoud A. M.

    2003-01-01

    The eastern boundary of the Fayum Depression (45 m below sea level) is bounded by a 99-m-high hill (inselberg of Girza) that slopes gently eastward towards the Nile Valley. The inselberg and the surrounding plain are encrusted with 50-130-cm-thick gypsum crusts that exhibit well-defined pedogenic horizons. Also, east of the Nile Valley, the Qattamia plateau is encrusted with gypsum crusts that form 50-m-wide 'pavements' that are scattered at different levels. The gypsum crusts range in thickness from 20 to 50 cm, and do not form characteristic vertical horizons. The individual gypcrete pavements exhibit massive mottled or powdery structure. Using structural, fabric and textural criteria, three main types of crusts are distinguished: (1) Eluvial horizon—massive to spongy-like powdery gypsum crusts, found at the land surface and consisting of gravels and sands cemented with gypsum; (2) Illuvial horizon A—massive indurated gypsum crusts that consist dominantly of white gypsum with horizontal and sub-vertical black gypsum veinlets; (3) Illuvial horizon B—massive mottled gypsum crusts that consist of carbonate or shale fragments floating in gypsum cement. Petrographically, the gypsum crusts in the Girza and Qattamia areas comprise a varying abundance of microcrystalline, fine lenticular, coarse lenticular, porphyroblastic, prismatic or poikilotopic gypsum. Lenticular and microcrystalline gypsum crystals are usually observed filling rhizotubules in all crusts. The origin of the gypsum crusts is related to pedogenic processes which involved the leaching of gypsum from the underlying, or adjoining, gypsiferous shale or marl layers and the subsequent displacive crystallization of gypsum in the upper soil horizon. Cycles of wetting (rain fall) and drying are believed to account for the dissolution and translocation of gypsum from the upper eluvial horizon and its recrystallization as microcrystalline and fine lenticular gypsum in the illuvial horizon A. The

  6. Resource pulses in desert river habitats: productivity-biodiversity hotspots, or mirages?

    PubMed

    Free, Carissa L; Baxter, Greg S; Dickman, Christopher R; Leung, Luke K P

    2013-01-01

    Resource pulses in the world's hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher biotic diversity than other habitats, and potentially act as refuges for desert vertebrates and other biota during droughts. We used the ephemeral Field River in the Simpson Desert, central Australia, as a case study to quantify how resources and habitat characteristics vary spatially and temporally along the riparian corridor. Levels of moisture and nutrients were greater in the clay-dominated soils of the riverine corridor than in the surrounding sand dunes, as were cover values of trees, annual grasses, other annual plants and litter; these resources and habitat features were also greater near the main catchment area than in the distal reaches where the river channel runs out into extensive dune fields. These observations confirm that the riverine corridor is more productive than the surrounding desert, and support the idea that it may act as a refuge or as a channel for the ingress of peri-desert species. However, the work also demonstrates that species diversity of invertebrates and plants is not higher within the river corridor; rather, it is driven by rainfall and the accompanying increase in annual plants following a rain event. Further research is required to identify the biota that depend upon these resource pulses.

  7. Niche Filtering of Bacteria in Soil and Rock Habitats of the Colorado Plateau Desert, Utah, USA

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Kevin C.; Archer, Stephen D. J.; Boyle, Rachel H.; Lacap-Bugler, Donnabella C.; Belnap, Jayne; Pointing, Stephen B.

    2016-01-01

    A common feature of microbial colonization in deserts is biological soil crusts (BSCs), and these comprise a complex community dominated by Cyanobacteria. Rock substrates, particularly sandstone, are also colonized by microbial communities. These are separated by bare sandy soil that also supports microbial colonization. Here we report a high-throughput sequencing study of BSC and cryptoendolith plus adjacent bare soil communities in the Colorado Plateau Desert, Utah, USA. Bare soils supported a community with low levels of recoverable DNA and high evenness, whilst BSC yielded relatively high recoverable DNA, and reduced evenness compared to bare soil due to specialized crust taxa. The cryptoendolithic community displayed the greatest evenness but the lowest diversity, reflecting the highly specialized nature of these communities. A strong substrate-dependent pattern of community assembly was observed, and in particular cyanobacterial taxa were distinct. Soils were virtually devoid of photoautotrophic signatures, BSC was dominated by a closely related group of Microcoleus/Phormidium taxa, whilst cryptoendolithic colonization in sandstone supported almost exclusively a single genus, Chroococcidiopsis. We interpret this as strong evidence for niche filtering of taxa in communities. Local inter-niche recruitment of photoautotrophs may therefore be limited and so communities likely depend significantly on cyanobacterial recruitment from distant sources of similar substrate. We discuss the implication of this finding in terms of conservation and management of desert microbiota. PMID:27725810

  8. The influence of surface soil physicochemistry on the edaphic bacterial communities in contrasting terrain types of the Central Namib Desert.

    PubMed

    Gombeer, S; Ramond, J-B; Eckardt, F D; Seely, M; Cowan, D A

    2015-09-01

    Notwithstanding, the severe environmental conditions, deserts harbour a high diversity of adapted micro-organisms. In such oligotrophic environments, soil physicochemical characteristics play an important role in shaping indigenous microbial communities. This study investigates the edaphic bacterial communities of three contrasting desert terrain types (gravel plains, sand dunes and ephemeral rivers) with different surface geologies in the Central Namib Desert. For each site, we evaluated surface soil physicochemistries and used explorative T-RFLP methodology to get an indication of bacterial community diversities. While grain size was an important parameter in separating the three terrain types physicochemically and specific surface soil types could be distinguished, the desert edaphic bacterial communities displayed a high level of local spatial heterogeneity. Ten variables contributed significantly (P < 0.05) to the variance in the T-RFLP data sets: fine silt, medium and fine sand content, pH, S, Na, Zn, Al, V and Fe concentrations, and 40% of the total variance could be explained by these constraining variables. The results suggest that local physicochemical conditions play a significant role in shaping the bacterial structures in the Central Namib Desert and stress the importance of recording a wide variety of environmental descriptors to comprehensively assess the role of edaphic parameters in shaping microbial communities.

  9. The influence of surface soil physicochemistry on the edaphic bacterial communities in contrasting terrain types of the Central Namib Desert.

    PubMed

    Gombeer, S; Ramond, J-B; Eckardt, F D; Seely, M; Cowan, D A

    2015-09-01

    Notwithstanding, the severe environmental conditions, deserts harbour a high diversity of adapted micro-organisms. In such oligotrophic environments, soil physicochemical characteristics play an important role in shaping indigenous microbial communities. This study investigates the edaphic bacterial communities of three contrasting desert terrain types (gravel plains, sand dunes and ephemeral rivers) with different surface geologies in the Central Namib Desert. For each site, we evaluated surface soil physicochemistries and used explorative T-RFLP methodology to get an indication of bacterial community diversities. While grain size was an important parameter in separating the three terrain types physicochemically and specific surface soil types could be distinguished, the desert edaphic bacterial communities displayed a high level of local spatial heterogeneity. Ten variables contributed significantly (P < 0.05) to the variance in the T-RFLP data sets: fine silt, medium and fine sand content, pH, S, Na, Zn, Al, V and Fe concentrations, and 40% of the total variance could be explained by these constraining variables. The results suggest that local physicochemical conditions play a significant role in shaping the bacterial structures in the Central Namib Desert and stress the importance of recording a wide variety of environmental descriptors to comprehensively assess the role of edaphic parameters in shaping microbial communities. PMID:25939371

  10. Fine-scale simulations of aeolian sediment dispersion in a small area in the northern Chihuahuan Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowker, George E.; Gillette, Dale A.; Bergametti, Gilles; Marticorena, BéAtrice; Heist, David K.

    2008-06-01

    The northern Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico contains mesquite bushes and small coppice dunes as well as open areas lacking vegetation. Sandstorms are common in this area, gradually reshaping the flat grassland into a landscape of mesquite coppice dunes and bare open patches. During storms, complex airflows entrain sediment from the open areas, depositing it around downwind bushes and dunes. Understanding and quantifying these processes could help to clarify the ongoing process of desert formation. Sand flux patterns for eight storms occurring in April 2003 and April 2004 were predicted for a (60 m by 60 m) site on the basis of 297 10-min average velocity simulations using a semiempirical mass consistent diagnostic wind field model: Quick Urban & Industrial Complex version 3.5 (QUIC) used with a sand flux parameterization. The sand flux patterns were highly heterogeneous, varying with wind direction and differing between storms. Generally, the nonvegetated areas experienced high sand fluxes, while wake areas behind dunes experienced little or no sand flux. Sediment erosion and deposition patterns were calculated by taking the divergence of the sand flux. The open areas were the sources of the sediment, while the windward sides of the mesquite bushes and dunes were the primary deposition areas. The simulated sediment erosion and deposition magnitudes were qualitatively similar to an annual average from 45 years of measurements.

  11. The effects of body properties on sand-swimming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharpe, Sarah; Kuckuk, Robyn; Koehler, Stephan; Goldman, Daniel

    2014-03-01

    Numerous animals locomote effectively within sand, yet few studies have investigated how body properties and kinematics contribute to subsurface performance. We compare the movement strategies of two desert dwelling subsurface sand-swimmers exhibiting disparate body forms: the long-slender limbless shovel-nosed snake (C. occipitalis) and the relatively shorter sandfish lizard (S. scincus). Both animals ``swim'' subsurface using a head-to-tail propagating wave of body curvature. We use a previously developed granular resistive force theory to successfully predict locomotion of performance of both animals; the agreement with theory implies that both animal's swim within a self-generated frictional fluid. We use theory to show that the snake's shape (body length to body radius ratio), low friction and undulatory gait are close to optimal for sand-swimming. In contrast, we find that the sandfish's shape and higher friction are farther from optimal and prevent the sandfish from achieving the same performance as the shovel-nosed snake during sand-swimming. However, the sandfish's kinematics allows it to operate at the highest performance possible given its body properties. NSF PoLS

  12. Food insecurity and food deserts.

    PubMed

    Camp, Nadine L

    2015-08-15

    Food insecurity has been steadily increasing in the United States with prevalence at nearly 15% of all households. Nurse practitioners can assess for food insecurity and provide local resources for families living in neighborhoods without easy access to healthy foods, otherwise known as food deserts.

  13. On a Crowded Desert Island.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rothstein, Samuel

    1989-01-01

    Suggests reference sources most appropriate for a desert island. In addition to "Robinson Crusoe" (Daniel Defoe) and a reference guide to the literature of travel, the list includes basic books on reference work, guides to reference sources, journals, an almanac, encyclopedias, a guide to English usage, and a book of quotations. (14 references)…

  14. Initial insights into the age and origin of the Kubuqi sand sea of northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xiaoping; Forman, Steven; Hu, Fangen; Zhang, Deguo; Liu, Ziting; Li, Hongwei

    2016-04-01

    The Kubuqi Desert is the only active sand sea in the semiarid regions of northern China and occurs along the southern margin of the Yellow River. Little is known about the age and origin of this large (17,000 km2) sand sea with a present annual precipitation of 200-480 mm. Sand drift potentials indicated net capable winds for aeolian transport are from the northwest, though winds are stronger to north beyond the dune field than within the sand sea. Geomorphic and stratigraphic observations indicate that Holocene aeolian sand often drapes over bedrock and river terraces as a palimpsest landscape. Field investigations identified four stratigraphic sections with multiple aeolian sand units and palaeosols, with age control by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of quartz grains. Palaeosols are weakly developed, mostly accumulative A horizon with organic carbon content < 1% and reflect sand sheet deposition possibly in a steppe environment. Although sediments near river channels or former lakes might give old ages, the initial formation and age of the Kubuqi sand sea should be judged from the occurrence of the sandy palimpsest of the landscape that is OSL dated to the Holocene in general. The latest period of aeolian reactivation may be related to human activity associated with grazing and farming from lost cities in the Kubuqi Desert during the Han (206 B.C. - A.D. 220) and the Tang (A.D. 608 - 907) Dynasties. Also, variable discharge of the Yellow River with local diversions for irrigation and throughout the catchment resulted in possibly an increased supply of aeolian particles for dune field expansion in the past 2 ka.

  15. OSL age and stratigraphy of the Strauss sand sheet in New Mexico, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, Stephen A.; Goble, Ronald J.

    2015-07-01

    The Strauss sand sheet occurs in south-central New Mexico, USA, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico, covering an area of about 4740 km2. Its chronology is determined by 19 OSL ages. The sand sheet formed primarily during three phases of eolian deflation and deposition, each phase with a separate sand source and under different climatic and environmental circumstances. The first phase of eolian sedimentation occurred 45 to 15 ka with the deposition of unit 1. The sand source for the first phase was beach-related features along the eastern shoreline of pluvial Lake Palomas in Mexico. The glacial-age climate was cool, wet, and windy because of the southern path of the jet stream at that time. After 15 ka, with the onset of warmer conditions of the Bølling-Allerød, the shutting down of the Palomas sand source, and wet conditions of the Younger Dryas, the sand sheet stabilized with weak soil development in unit 1. By 11 ka, the climate shifted to Holocene drying conditions and the second phase of sand accumulation began, forming unit 2; the sand source was the local deflation of the previously deposited unit 1 sand. The sand sheet stabilized again by 1.9 ka with slightly wetter late Holocene climate; a weak soil formed in unit 2 sand. About A.D. 1500 and extending to about A.D. 1850 or later, an A horizon formed on the sand sheet, probably in response to a desert grassland vegetation during the period of wet climate of the Little Ice Age. In an anthropogenic third phase of eolian activity, after A.D. 1850, the vegetation was likely disturbed by overgrazing; and the unit 2 and A horizon (unit 3) sands were deflated, resulting in the deposition of a thin layer of massive eolian sand (unit 4) across the sand sheet. By about A.D. 1900 mesquite shrubs had increased in abundance; and deflated sand, largely from unit 2, began to accumulate around the shrubs, forming coppice dunes (unit 5). Mesquite coppice dunes continued to increase in number and volume during the twentieth

  16. 2D DEM model of sand transport with wind interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oger, L.; Valance, A.

    2013-06-01

    The advance of the dunes in the desert is a threat to the life of the local people. The dunes invade houses, agricultural land and perturb the circulation on the roads. It is therefore very important to understand the mechanism of sand transport in order to fight against desertification. Saltation in which sand grains are propelled by the wind along the surface in short hops, is the primary mode of blown sand movement [1]. The saltating grains are very energetic and when impact a sand surface, they rebound and consequently eject other particles from the sand bed. The ejected grains, called reptating grains, contribute to the augmentation of the sand flux. Some of them can be promoted to the saltation motion. We use a mechanical model based on the Discrete Element Method to study successive collisions of incident energetic beads with granular packing in the context of Aeolian saltation transport. We investigate the collision process for the case where the incident bead and those from the packing have identical mechanical properties. We analyze the features of the consecutive collision processes made by the transport of the saltating disks by a wind in which its profile is obtained from the counter-interaction between air flow and grain flows. We used a molecular dynamics method known as DEM (soft Discrete Element Method) with a initial static packing of 20000 2D particles. The dilation of the upper surface due to the consecutive collisions is responsible for maintaining the flow at a given energy input due to the wind.

  17. The breaking strain of neutron star crust

    SciTech Connect

    Kadau, Kai; Horowitz, C J

    2009-01-01

    Mountains on rapidly rotating neutron stars efficiently radiate gravitational waves. The maximum possible size of these mountains depends on the breaking strain of neutron star crust. With multimillion ion molecular dynamics simulations of Coulomb solids representing the crust, we show that the breaking strain of pure single crystals is very large and that impurities, defects, and grain boundaries only modestly reduce the breaking strain to around 0.1. Due to the collective behavior of the ions during failure found in our simulations, the neutron star crust is likely very strong and can support mountains large enough so that their gTavitational wave radiation could limit the spin periods of some stars and might be detectable in large scale interferometers. Furthermore, our microscopic modeling of neutron star crust material can help analyze mechanisms relevant in Magnetar Giant and Micro Flares.

  18. Drilling to gabbro in intact ocean crust.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Douglas S; Teagle, Damon A H; Alt, Jeffrey C; Banerjee, Neil R; Umino, Susumu; Miyashita, Sumio; Acton, Gary D; Anma, Ryo; Barr, Samantha R; Belghoul, Akram; Carlut, Julie; Christie, David M; Coggon, Rosalind M; Cooper, Kari M; Cordier, Carole; Crispini, Laura; Durand, Sedelia Rodriguez; Einaudi, Florence; Galli, Laura; Gao, Yongjun; Geldmacher, Jörg; Gilbert, Lisa A; Hayman, Nicholas W; Herrero-Bervera, Emilio; Hirano, Nobuo; Holter, Sara; Ingle, Stephanie; Jiang, Shijun; Kalberkamp, Ulrich; Kerneklian, Marcie; Koepke, Jürgen; Laverne, Christine; Vasquez, Haroldo L Lledo; Maclennan, John; Morgan, Sally; Neo, Natsuki; Nichols, Holly J; Park, Sung-Hyun; Reichow, Marc K; Sakuyama, Tetsuya; Sano, Takashi; Sandwell, Rachel; Scheibner, Birgit; Smith-Duque, Chris E; Swift, Stephen A; Tartarotti, Paola; Tikku, Anahita A; Tominaga, Masako; Veloso, Eugenio A; Yamasaki, Toru; Yamazaki, Shusaku; Ziegler, Christa

    2006-05-19

    Sampling an intact sequence of oceanic crust through lavas, dikes, and gabbros is necessary to advance the understanding of the formation and evolution of crust formed at mid-ocean ridges, but it has been an elusive goal of scientific ocean drilling for decades. Recent drilling in the eastern Pacific Ocean in Hole 1256D reached gabbro within seismic layer 2, 1157 meters into crust formed at a superfast spreading rate. The gabbros are the crystallized melt lenses that formed beneath a mid-ocean ridge. The depth at which gabbro was reached confirms predictions extrapolated from seismic experiments at modern mid-ocean ridges: Melt lenses occur at shallower depths at faster spreading rates. The gabbros intrude metamorphosed sheeted dikes and have compositions similar to the overlying lavas, precluding formation of the cumulate lower oceanic crust from melt lenses so far penetrated by Hole 1256D.

  19. Drilling to gabbro in intact ocean crust.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Douglas S; Teagle, Damon A H; Alt, Jeffrey C; Banerjee, Neil R; Umino, Susumu; Miyashita, Sumio; Acton, Gary D; Anma, Ryo; Barr, Samantha R; Belghoul, Akram; Carlut, Julie; Christie, David M; Coggon, Rosalind M; Cooper, Kari M; Cordier, Carole; Crispini, Laura; Durand, Sedelia Rodriguez; Einaudi, Florence; Galli, Laura; Gao, Yongjun; Geldmacher, Jörg; Gilbert, Lisa A; Hayman, Nicholas W; Herrero-Bervera, Emilio; Hirano, Nobuo; Holter, Sara; Ingle, Stephanie; Jiang, Shijun; Kalberkamp, Ulrich; Kerneklian, Marcie; Koepke, Jürgen; Laverne, Christine; Vasquez, Haroldo L Lledo; Maclennan, John; Morgan, Sally; Neo, Natsuki; Nichols, Holly J; Park, Sung-Hyun; Reichow, Marc K; Sakuyama, Tetsuya; Sano, Takashi; Sandwell, Rachel; Scheibner, Birgit; Smith-Duque, Chris E; Swift, Stephen A; Tartarotti, Paola; Tikku, Anahita A; Tominaga, Masako; Veloso, Eugenio A; Yamasaki, Toru; Yamazaki, Shusaku; Ziegler, Christa

    2006-05-19

    Sampling an intact sequence of oceanic crust through lavas, dikes, and gabbros is necessary to advance the understanding of the formation and evolution of crust formed at mid-ocean ridges, but it has been an elusive goal of scientific ocean drilling for decades. Recent drilling in the eastern Pacific Ocean in Hole 1256D reached gabbro within seismic layer 2, 1157 meters into crust formed at a superfast spreading rate. The gabbros are the crystallized melt lenses that formed beneath a mid-ocean ridge. The depth at which gabbro was reached confirms predictions extrapolated from seismic experiments at modern mid-ocean ridges: Melt lenses occur at shallower depths at faster spreading rates. The gabbros intrude metamorphosed sheeted dikes and have compositions similar to the overlying lavas, precluding formation of the cumulate lower oceanic crust from melt lenses so far penetrated by Hole 1256D. PMID:16627698

  20. Modeling Soil Moisture in the Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, David M.; Hughson, Debra; Schmidt, Kevin M.

    2008-01-01

    The Mojave Desert is an arid region of southeastern California and parts of Nevada, Arizona, and Utah; the desert occupies more than 25,000 square miles (fig. 1). Ranging from below sea level to over 5,000 feet (1,524 m) in elevation, the Mojave Desert is considered a ?high desert.? On the west and southwest it is bounded by the Sierra Nevada, the San Gabriel, and the San Bernardino Mountains. These imposing mountains intercept moisture traveling inland from the Pacific Ocean, producing arid conditions characterized by extreme fluctuations in daily temperatures, strong seasonal winds, and an average annual precipitation of less than six inches. The Mojave Desert lies farther south and at a lower elevation than the cooler Great Basin Desert and grades southward into the even lower and hotter Sonoran Desert.

  1. PROCESSING OF MONAZITE SAND

    DOEpatents

    Calkins, G.D.; Bohlmann, E.G.

    1957-12-01

    A process for the recovery of thorium, uranium, and rare earths from monazite sands is presented. The sands are first digested and dissolved in concentrated NaOH, and the solution is then diluted causing precipitation of uranium, thorium and rare earth hydroxides. The precipitate is collected and dissolved in HCl, and the pH of this solution is adjusted to about 6, precipitating the hydroxides of thorium and uranium but leaving the rare earths in solution. The rare earths are then separated from the solution by precipitation at a still higher pH. The thorium and uranium containing precipitate is redissolved in HNO/sub 3/ and the two elements are separated by extraction into tributyl phosphate and back extraction with a weakly acidic solution to remove the thorium.

  2. Workshop on the Growth of Continental Crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ashwal, Lewis D. (Editor)

    1988-01-01

    Constraints and observations were discussed on a fundamental unsolved problem of global scale relating to the growth of planetary crusts. All of the terrestrial planets were considered, but emphasis was placed on the Earth's continental crust. The title of each session is: (1) Extraterrestrial crustal growth and destruction; (2) Constraints for observations and measurements of terrestrial rocks; (3) Models of crustal growth and destruction; and (4) Process of crustal growth and destruction.

  3. The oceanic crust as a bioreactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Staudigel, Hubert; Tebo, Bradley; Yayanos, Art; Furnes, Harald; Kelley, Katie; Plank, Terry; Muehlenbachs, Karlis

    Various lines of evidence suggest that large portions of hydrothermal systems in the oceanic crust acts like a giant bioreactor that mediates water-rock exchange and buffers the chemical composition of seawater. We review the current literature and present new chemical, biological and petrographic data on microbially mediated alteration of glass in the oceanic crust. Microbial alteration of glass displays characteristic bioalteration features, in particular in the alteration fronts around residual glass in the oceanic crust, suggesting that microbes take on an active role in its dissolution. Such features are found throughout the oceanic crust ranging in age from a few million to 170 Ma and they are found down to crustal depths of 500 m, possibly defining a Deep Oceanic Biosphere (DOB) that covers up to 2/3 of the earth's surface area. Microbial glass alteration substantially increases the active surface area of dissolving glass particles thereby enhancing the reaction rates during microbially aided dissolution. Microbially mediated glass alteration involves the establishment of two types of diffusion barriers including hydration rinds and biofilms that play an important role in mediating glass alteration. In particular biofilms may be very active by creating a localized chemical environment conducive to glass alteration, and by sequestering dissolved chemical inventory from solution. When compared with abiotic alteration of the oceanic crust, bio-alteration causes more rapid deposition of biotic and abiotic reaction products in the oceanic crust that result in a more effective removal of elements from seawater and a more rapid sealing of the oceanic crust. Thus, it is likely that microbial activity increases the fluxes of seawater components into the crust, while reducing the low—temperature flux of basalt components into seawater. However, much about the microbial activity and its relationships to the chemistry of hydrothermal systems still remains to be

  4. Desert Pathfinder at Work

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2005-09-01

    The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) project celebrates the inauguration of its outstanding 12-m telescope, located on the 5100m high Chajnantor plateau in the Atacama Desert (Chile). The APEX telescope, designed to work at sub-millimetre wavelengths, in the 0.2 to 1.5 mm range, passed successfully its Science Verification phase in July, and since then is performing regular science observations. This new front-line facility provides access to the "Cold Universe" with unprecedented sensitivity and image quality. After months of careful efforts to set up the telescope to work at the best possible technical level, those involved in the project are looking with satisfaction at the fruit of their labour: APEX is not only fully operational, it has already provided important scientific results. "The superb sensitivity of our detectors together with the excellence of the site allow fantastic observations that would not be possible with any other telescope in the world," said Karl Menten, Director of the group for Millimeter and Sub-Millimeter Astronomy at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and Principal Investigator of the APEX project. ESO PR Photo 30/05 ESO PR Photo 30/05 Sub-Millimetre Image of a Stellar Cradle [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 627 pix - 200k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 1254 pix - 503k] [Full Res - JPEG: 1539 x 2413 pix - 1.3M] Caption: ESO PR Photo 30/05 is an image of the giant molecular cloud G327 taken with APEX. More than 5000 spectra were taken in the J=3-2 line of the carbon monoxide molecule (CO), one of the best tracers of molecular clouds, in which star formation takes place. The bright peak in the north of the cloud is an evolved star forming region, where the gas is heated by a cluster of new stars. The most interesting region in the image is totally inconspicuous in CO: the G327 hot core, as seen in methanol contours. It is a truly exceptional source, and is one of the richest sources of emission from complex organic molecules in the

  5. Field and lab soil measurements for determining threshold friction velocity across deserts in the southwestern U.S

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, B. J.; Belnap, J.; Munson, S.; Gill, R. A.

    2011-12-01

    The increase of aeolian dust and eroding soils is a major concern in the desert southwest. A key wind erosion parameter that indicates when soil particles begin to detach from the soil surface is threshold friction velocity (TFV). Determining TFV in the field requires a portable wind tunnel, which is often too labor-, time-, and cost- intensive to be practical for most land managers. We analyzed over 15 years of data from three different dust-monitoring projects on the Colorado Plateau and Mojave Desert across a range of soil types and disturbance levels. These data include a variety of field and lab measurements taken in connection with TFV measurements determined by a portable wind tunnel. Measurements taken include soil classification, texture, depth, stability measurements (slake test, pocket penetrometer), surface roughness, physical and biological crust characterization (level of crust darkness) and measurements (moss and lichen cover, chlorophyll content, soil crust enzymes), vegetation and rock cover. We determined which soil measurements correlated best with the wind tunnel TFV measurements. The results from this study highlight similarities and differences in the best predictors of TFV between deserts and give land managers easy to implement methods to estimate TFV or soil erodibility.

  6. Western gas sands

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1985-03-01

    The purpose of this research is to demonstrate the feasibility of economically producing natural gas from low-permeability reservoirs. Two broad research goals have been defined: (1) reducing the uncertainty of the reservoir production potential, and (2) improving the extraction technology. These goals are being pursued by conducting research and encouraging industrial efforts in developing the necessary technology, including: (1) providing fundamental research into the nature of tight, lenticular gas sands and the technologies for diagnosing and developing them: (2) developing and verifying the technology for effective gas production; and (3) promoting the transfer of research products and technology advances to the gas industry in usable forms. The focus of the research for the last several years has been improving diagnostic instrumentation for reservoir and stimulation performance evaluation, geophysical and engineering interpretation, and stimulation techniques. Integrated geologic studies of three basins containing tight lenticular sands, which were selected by DOE as priority research targets, have also been pursued as part of this new effort. To date, the following tentative conclusions have been formed: Permeability of the tight gas sands can be as much as three to four orders of magnitude lower than that of conventional gas deposits. Nineteen western geologic basins and trends containing significant volumes of tight gas have been identified. Gas resources in the priority geologic basins have been estimated - Piceance Basin 49 Tcf.; Greater Green River Basin, 136 Tcf.; Uinta Basin, 20 Tcf. Presence of natural micro-fractures within a reservoir and the effective propped length of hydraulically induced fratures are the critical parameters for successful development of tight sand resources. Stimulation technology at the present time is insufficient to efficiently recover gas from lenticular tight reservoirs. 8 figs., 3 tabs.

  7. Sedimentary structure of large sand dunes: examples from Dumont and Eureka dunes, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vriend, N. M.; Hunt, M. L.; Clayton, R. W.

    2012-08-01

    The current research presents ground penetrating radar images up to 30 m in depth of two large desert dunes in California, USA— a barchanoid ridge in the Dumont field and a linear dune in the Eureka expanse. The radar images show a complicated structure of internal layering with ascending cross-strata, cross-bedding and bounding surfaces cutting through layers. Additional research using seismic refraction surveys and sand sampling refine the image of the subsurface (<5 m) structure. The sedimentary structure of the dune shows a strong internal layering with a cemented structure that may immobilize and influence migration of dune expanses. The subsurface features of the sand dune fields in the Mojave Desert provide evidence of dune building, wind regime and precipitation history.

  8. Intricately Rippled Sand Deposits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2006-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for Intricately Rippled Sand Deposits (QTVR)

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit welcomed the beginning of 2006 on Earth by taking this striking panorama of intricately rippled sand deposits in Gusev Crater on Mars. This is an approximate true-color rendering of the 'El Dorado' ripple field provided by Spirit over the New Year's holiday weekend. The view spans about 160 degrees in azimuth from left to right and consists of images acquired by Spirit's panoramic camera on Spirit's 708th and 710th Martian days, or sols, (Dec. 30, 2005 and Jan. 1, 2006). Spirit used the Pancam's 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 430-nanometer filters to capture the colors on Mars. Scientists have eliminated seams between individual frames in the sky portion of the mosaic to better simulate the vista a person standing on Mars would see. Spirit spent several days acquiring images, spectral data, and compositional and mineralogical information about these large sand deposits before continuing downhill toward 'Home Plate.'

  9. Frozen magma lenses below the oceanic crust.

    PubMed

    Nedimović, Mladen R; Carbotte, Suzanne M; Harding, Alistair J; Detrick, Robert S; Canales, J Pablo; Diebold, John B; Kent, Graham M; Tischer, Michael; Babcock, Jeffrey M

    2005-08-25

    The Earth's oceanic crust crystallizes from magmatic systems generated at mid-ocean ridges. Whereas a single magma body residing within the mid-crust is thought to be responsible for the generation of the upper oceanic crust, it remains unclear if the lower crust is formed from the same magma body, or if it mainly crystallizes from magma lenses located at the base of the crust. Thermal modelling, tomography, compliance and wide-angle seismic studies, supported by geological evidence, suggest the presence of gabbroic-melt accumulations within the Moho transition zone in the vicinity of fast- to intermediate-spreading centres. Until now, however, no reflection images have been obtained of such a structure within the Moho transition zone. Here we show images of groups of Moho transition zone reflection events that resulted from the analysis of approximately 1,500 km of multichannel seismic data collected across the intermediate-spreading-rate Juan de Fuca ridge. From our observations we suggest that gabbro lenses and melt accumulations embedded within dunite or residual mantle peridotite are the most probable cause for the observed reflectivity, thus providing support for the hypothesis that the crust is generated from multiple magma bodies. PMID:16121179

  10. Oxygen consumption in subseafloor basaltic crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orcutt, B. N.; Wheat, C. G.; Hulme, S.; Edwards, K. J.; Bach, W.

    2012-12-01

    Oceanic crust is the largest potential habitat for life on Earth and may contain a significant fraction of Earth's total microbial biomass, yet little is known about the form and function of life in this vast subseafloor realm that covers nearly two-thirds of the Earth's surface. A deep biosphere hosted in subseafloor basalts has been suggested from several lines of evidence; yet, empirical analysis of metabolic reaction rates in basaltic crust is lacking. Here we report the first measure of oxygen consumption in young (~ 8 Ma) and cool (<25 degrees C) basaltic crust, calculated from modeling oxygen and strontium profiles in basal sediments collected during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 336 to 'North Pond', a sediment 'pond' on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR), where vigorous fluid circulation within basaltic crust occurs. Dissolved oxygen concentrations increased towards the sediment-basement interface, indicating an upward diffusional supply from oxic fluids circulating within the crust. A parametric reaction-transport model suggests oxygen consumption rates on the order of 0.5-500 nmol per cubic centimeter fluid per day in young and cool basaltic crust, providing sufficient energy to support a subsurface crustal biosphere.

  11. Early formation of evolved asteroidal crust.

    PubMed

    Day, James M D; Ash, Richard D; Liu, Yang; Bellucci, Jeremy J; Rumble, Douglas; McDonough, William F; Walker, Richard J; Taylor, Lawrence A

    2009-01-01

    Mechanisms for the formation of crust on planetary bodies remain poorly understood. It is generally accepted that Earth's andesitic continental crust is the product of plate tectonics, whereas the Moon acquired its feldspar-rich crust by way of plagioclase flotation in a magma ocean. Basaltic meteorites provide evidence that, like the terrestrial planets, some asteroids generated crust and underwent large-scale differentiation processes. Until now, however, no evolved felsic asteroidal crust has been sampled or observed. Here we report age and compositional data for the newly discovered, paired and differentiated meteorites Graves Nunatak (GRA) 06128 and GRA 06129. These meteorites are feldspar-rich, with andesite bulk compositions. Their age of 4.52 +/- 0.06 Gyr demonstrates formation early in Solar System history. The isotopic and elemental compositions, degree of metamorphic re-equilibration and sulphide-rich nature of the meteorites are most consistent with an origin as partial melts from a volatile-rich, oxidized asteroid. GRA 06128 and 06129 are the result of a newly recognized style of evolved crust formation, bearing witness to incomplete differentiation of their parent asteroid and to previously unrecognized diversity of early-formed materials in the Solar System. PMID:19129845

  12. Early formation of evolved asteroidal crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Day, James M. D.; Ash, Richard D.; Liu, Yang; Bellucci, Jeremy J.; Rumble, Douglas, III; McDonough, William F.; Walker, Richard J.; Taylor, Lawrence A.

    2009-01-01

    Mechanisms for the formation of crust on planetary bodies remain poorly understood. It is generally accepted that Earth's andesitic continental crust is the product of plate tectonics, whereas the Moon acquired its feldspar-rich crust by way of plagioclase flotation in a magma ocean. Basaltic meteorites provide evidence that, like the terrestrial planets, some asteroids generated crust and underwent large-scale differentiation processes. Until now, however, no evolved felsic asteroidal crust has been sampled or observed. Here we report age and compositional data for the newly discovered, paired and differentiated meteorites Graves Nunatak (GRA) 06128 and GRA 06129. These meteorites are feldspar-rich, with andesite bulk compositions. Their age of 4.52+/-0.06Gyr demonstrates formation early in Solar System history. The isotopic and elemental compositions, degree of metamorphic re-equilibration and sulphide-rich nature of the meteorites are most consistent with an origin as partial melts from a volatile-rich, oxidized asteroid. GRA 06128 and 06129 are the result of a newly recognized style of evolved crust formation, bearing witness to incomplete differentiation of their parent asteroid and to previously unrecognized diversity of early-formed materials in the Solar System.

  13. Early formation of evolved asteroidal crust.

    PubMed

    Day, James M D; Ash, Richard D; Liu, Yang; Bellucci, Jeremy J; Rumble, Douglas; McDonough, William F; Walker, Richard J; Taylor, Lawrence A

    2009-01-01

    Mechanisms for the formation of crust on planetary bodies remain poorly understood. It is generally accepted that Earth's andesitic continental crust is the product of plate tectonics, whereas the Moon acquired its feldspar-rich crust by way of plagioclase flotation in a magma ocean. Basaltic meteorites provide evidence that, like the terrestrial planets, some asteroids generated crust and underwent large-scale differentiation processes. Until now, however, no evolved felsic asteroidal crust has been sampled or observed. Here we report age and compositional data for the newly discovered, paired and differentiated meteorites Graves Nunatak (GRA) 06128 and GRA 06129. These meteorites are feldspar-rich, with andesite bulk compositions. Their age of 4.52 +/- 0.06 Gyr demonstrates formation early in Solar System history. The isotopic and elemental compositions, degree of metamorphic re-equilibration and sulphide-rich nature of the meteorites are most consistent with an origin as partial melts from a volatile-rich, oxidized asteroid. GRA 06128 and 06129 are the result of a newly recognized style of evolved crust formation, bearing witness to incomplete differentiation of their parent asteroid and to previously unrecognized diversity of early-formed materials in the Solar System.

  14. Frozen magma lenses below the oceanic crust.

    PubMed

    Nedimović, Mladen R; Carbotte, Suzanne M; Harding, Alistair J; Detrick, Robert S; Canales, J Pablo; Diebold, John B; Kent, Graham M; Tischer, Michael; Babcock, Jeffrey M

    2005-08-25

    The Earth's oceanic crust crystallizes from magmatic systems generated at mid-ocean ridges. Whereas a single magma body residing within the mid-crust is thought to be responsible for the generation of the upper oceanic crust, it remains unclear if the lower crust is formed from the same magma body, or if it mainly crystallizes from magma lenses located at the base of the crust. Thermal modelling, tomography, compliance and wide-angle seismic studies, supported by geological evidence, suggest the presence of gabbroic-melt accumulations within the Moho transition zone in the vicinity of fast- to intermediate-spreading centres. Until now, however, no reflection images have been obtained of such a structure within the Moho transition zone. Here we show images of groups of Moho transition zone reflection events that resulted from the analysis of approximately 1,500 km of multichannel seismic data collected across the intermediate-spreading-rate Juan de Fuca ridge. From our observations we suggest that gabbro lenses and melt accumulations embedded within dunite or residual mantle peridotite are the most probable cause for the observed reflectivity, thus providing support for the hypothesis that the crust is generated from multiple magma bodies.

  15. Restoring the biological crust cover of soils across biomes in arid North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Antoninka, Anita; Bowker, Matthew; Giraldo Silva, Ana; Nelson, Corey; Velasco Ayuso, Sergio; Barger, Nichole; Belnap, Jayne; Reed, Sasha; Duniway, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Biological soil crust communities provide important ecosystem services to arid lands, particularly regarding soil fertility and stability against erosion. In North America, and in many other areas of the globe, increasingly intense human activities, ranging from cattle grazing to military training, have resulted in the significant deterioration of biological soil surface cover of soils. With the intent of attaining sustainable land use practices, we are conducting a 5-year, multi-institutional research effort to develop feasible soil crusts restoration strategies for US military lands. We are including field sites of varying climatic regions (warm and cold deserts, in the Chihuahuan Desert and in the Great Basin, respectively) and varying edaphic characteristics (sandy and silty soils in each). We have multiple aims. First, we aim to establishing effective "biocrust nurseries" that produce viable and pedigreed inoculum, as a supply center for biocrust restoration and for research and development. Second, we aim to develop optimal field application methods of biocrust inoculum in a series of field trials. Currently in our second year of research, we will be reporting on significant advances made on optimizing methodologies for the large-scale supply of inoculum based on a) pedigreed laboratory cultures that match the microbial community structure of the original sites, and b) "in soil" biomass enhancement, whereby small amounts of local crusts are nursed under greenhouse conditions to yield hundred-fold increases in biomass without altering significantly community structure. We will also report on field trials for methodologies in field application, which included shading, watering, application of chemical polymers, and soil surface roughening. In a soon-to-be-initiated effort we also aim to evaluate soil and plant responses to biocrust restoration with respect to plant community structure, soil fertility, and soil stability, in multi-factorial field experiments. An

  16. Interactive effects of moss-dominated crusts and Artemisia ordosica on wind erosion and soil moisture in Mu Us sandland, China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Yongsheng; Bu, Chongfeng; Mu, Xingmin; Shao, Hongbo; Zhang, Kankan

    2014-01-01

    To better understand the effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil moisture and wind erosion and study the necessity and feasibility of disturbance of BSCs in the Mu Us sandland, the effects of four treatments, including moss-dominated crusts alone, Artemisia ordosica alone, bare sand, and Artemisia ordosica combined with moss-dominated crusts, on rainwater infiltration, soil moisture, and annual wind erosion were observed. The major results are as follows. (1) The development of moss-dominated crusts exacerbated soil moisture consumption and had negative effects on soil moisture in the Mu Us sandland. (2) Moss-dominated crusts significantly increased soil resistance to wind erosion, and when combined with Artemisia ordosica, this effect became more significant. The contribution of moss-dominated crusts under Artemisia ordosica was significantly lower than that of moss-dominated crusts alone in sites where vegetative coverage > 50%. (3) Finally, an appropriate disturbance of moss-dominated crusts in the rainy season in sites with high vegetative coverage improved soil water environment and vegetation succession, but disturbance in sites with little or no vegetative cover should be prohibited to avoid the exacerbation of wind erosion. PMID:24982973

  17. Interactive effects of moss-dominated crusts and Artemisia ordosica on wind erosion and soil moisture in Mu Us sandland, China.

    PubMed

    Yang, Yongsheng; Bu, Chongfeng; Mu, Xingmin; Shao, Hongbo; Zhang, Kankan

    2014-01-01

    To better understand the effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil moisture and wind erosion and study the necessity and feasibility of disturbance of BSCs in the Mu Us sandland, the effects of four treatments, including moss-dominated crusts alone, Artemisia ordosica alone, bare sand, and Artemisia ordosica combined with moss-dominated crusts, on rainwater infiltration, soil moisture, and annual wind erosion were observed. The major results are as follows. (1) The development of moss-dominated crusts exacerbated soil moisture consumption and had negative effects on soil moisture in the Mu Us sandland. (2) Moss-dominated crusts significantly increased soil resistance to wind erosion, and when combined with Artemisia ordosica, this effect became more significant. The contribution of moss-dominated crusts under Artemisia ordosica was significantly lower than that of moss-dominated crusts alone in sites where vegetative coverage > 50%. (3) Finally, an appropriate disturbance of moss-dominated crusts in the rainy season in sites with high vegetative coverage improved soil water environment and vegetation succession, but disturbance in sites with little or no vegetative cover should be prohibited to avoid the exacerbation of wind erosion.

  18. Interactive Effects of Moss-Dominated Crusts and Artemisia ordosica on Wind Erosion and Soil Moisture in Mu Us Sandland, China

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Yongsheng; Bu, Chongfeng; Mu, Xingmin; Shao, Hongbo; Zhang, Kankan

    2014-01-01

    To better understand the effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil moisture and wind erosion and study the necessity and feasibility of disturbance of BSCs in the Mu Us sandland, the effects of four treatments, including moss-dominated crusts alone, Artemisia ordosica alone, bare sand, and Artemisia ordosica combined with moss-dominated crusts, on rainwater infiltration, soil moisture, and annual wind erosion were observed. The major results are as follows. (1) The development of moss-dominated crusts exacerbated soil moisture consumption and had negative effects on soil moisture in the Mu Us sandland. (2) Moss-dominated crusts significantly increased soil resistance to wind erosion, and when combined with Artemisia ordosica, this effect became more significant. The contribution of moss-dominated crusts under Artemisia ordosica was significantly lower than that of moss-dominated crusts alone in sites where vegetative coverage > 50%. (3) Finally, an appropriate disturbance of moss-dominated crusts in the rainy season in sites with high vegetative coverage improved soil water environment and vegetation succession, but disturbance in sites with little or no vegetative cover should be prohibited to avoid the exacerbation of wind erosion. PMID:24982973

  19. Sidewinding as a control template for climbing on sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marvi, Hamidreza; Gong, Chaohui; Gravish, Nick; Mendeslon, Joseph; Hatton, Ross; Choset, Howie; Goldman, Daniel; Hu, David

    2013-11-01

    Sidewinding, translation of a limbless system through lifting of body segments while others remain in static contact with the ground, is used by desert-dwelling snakes like sidewinder rattlesnakes Crotalus cerastes to locomote effectively on hard ground, rocky terrain, and loose sand. Biologically inspired snake robots using a sidewinding gait perform well on hard ground but suffer significant slip when ascending granular inclines. To understand the biological organisms and give robots new capabilities, we perform the first study of sidewinding on granular media. We vary the incline angle (0 < θ <20°) of a trackway composed of desert sand. Surface plate drag measurements reveal that as incline angle increases, downhill yield stresses decrease by 50%. Our biological measurements reveal that the animals double the length of the contact region as θ increases; we hypothesize that the snakes control this contact to reduce ground shear stress and avoid slipping. Implementing the anti-slip motion in a snake robot using contact patch modulation enables the robot to ascend granular inclines.

  20. Sidewinding as a control template for climbing on sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marvi, Hamidreza; Gong, Chaohui; Travers, Matthew; Gravish, Nick; Mendelson, Joseph; Hatton, Ross; Choset, Howie; Hu, David; Goldman, Daniel

    2014-03-01

    Sidewinding, translation of a limbless system through lifting of body segments while others remain in static contact with the ground, is used by desert-dwelling snakes like sidewinder rattlesnakes Crotalus cerastes to locomote effectively on hard ground, rocky terrain, and loose sand. Biologically inspired snake robots using a sidewinding gait perform well on hard ground but suffer significant slip when trying to ascend granular inclines. To understand the biological organisms and give robots new capabilities, we perform the first study of mechanics of sidewinding on granular media. We vary the incline angle (0 < θ <20°) of a trackway composed of desert sand. Surface plate drag measurements reveal that as incline angle increases, downhill yield stresses decrease by 50%. Our biological measurements reveal that the animals double the length of the contact region as θ increases; we hypothesize that snakes control this contact to reduce ground shear stress and so avoid slipping. Implementing this anti-slip strategy in a snake robot using contact patch modulation enables the robot to successfully ascend granular inclines.

  1. Bacterial Composition and Quantitation in the Yungay Region of the Atacama Desert, Chile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fletcher, Lauren; Conley, Catharine A.; Ishkhanova, Galina; Kovacs, Gregory; Jordan, Jeanne; Cullings, Ken; Gomez-Silva, Benito; McKay, Christopher

    2006-01-01

    Voyager would have produced similar negative results if tested in the Yungay region (Navarro-Gonzales et al, 2003). However, the number of bacteria present per gr'am in the Yungay sands is not well-established, being below the detection limit of culture methods. For the past several years, this group has been analyzing Yungay sands by quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), both in the lab and in the field, to establish protocols for counting bacteria. We use primers that detect a broad range of bacterial taxa, including both proteobacteria and firmicutes. Optimization of DNA extraction and qPCR analysis is critical for accurate counts. Comparison of qPCR results with PhosphoLipid Fatty Acid (PLFA)-analysis and other counting methods indicates that there are detectable bacteria in sand obtained from the upper few centimeters of the desert surface.

  2. Evapotranspiration of Caragana korshinskii communities in a revegetated desert area: Tengger Desert, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Xin-Ping; Brown-Mitic, Constance M.; Kang, Er-Si; Zhang, Jing-Guang; Li, Xin-Rong

    2004-12-01

    More than 40 years of revegetation using mainly Caragana korshinskii at Shapotou Desert Experimental Research Station in China has established a dwarf-shrub and herbaceous cover on the stabilized sand dunes. The evapotranspiration (ET) of the dwarf-shrub C. korshinskii community and the evaporation (E) of the bare soil were measured by the auto-weighing lysimeter method during the growing seasons from 1990 to 1995. The average ET rate was 0.83 mm d-1, which varied from 0.71 to 1.06 mm d-1 during the 6-year period. Monthly ET ranged from 0.14 to 2.35 mm d-1, with a monthly precipitation (P) range of 0 to 3.12 mm d-1. Monthly ET/P ratios varied from 0.94 to 1.28 and averaged 97·4% overall. Most of the precipitation in this area usually falls between June and September. The lowest precipitation was recorded in 1991, with most of it falling during April and May. This temporal anomaly in the precipitation resulted in the highest ET/P ratio (by 0.33) and soil moisture depletion (S = -31·5 mm) for the 6-year period. ET from the revegetated sand dunes around Shapotou under natural precipitation may account for 1.·2% of the potential evaporation. Cumulative P and cumulative ET and E were highly correlated, with a well-defined linear relationship of ET = 0.80P + 10.0 and E = 0.55P + 5.89, with regression R2 ranging from 0.953 to 0.985. In 1991, however, the regression equations for both ET and E were considerably different than the other years, with a steeper slope and a negative intercept resulting from the anomaly in the precipitation pattern.

  3. Mapping the Stratigraphy of Booming Sand Dunes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vriend, N. M.; Hunt, M. L.; Clayton, R. W.

    2008-12-01

    Booming dunes emit a loud rumbling sound after a man-made or natural sand avalanche is generated on the slip face of a large desert dune. The sound consist of one dominant frequency (70 - 105 Hz) with several higher harmonics. A recent publication (Vriend et al., 2007) presented a model of an internal, natural waveguide that propagates the booming emission, amplifies the sound, and sets the booming frequency. The mapping of the subsurface layering, which is necessary for the existence of a waveguide, prompted additional work on the dune structure and stratigraphy. The current work highlights geophysical measurements at Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park, CA and Dumont Dunes in the Mojave Desert, CA. Seismic refraction studies indicate strong layering with large velocity jumps across the interfaces. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) profiles, at frequencies of 100 MHz and 200 MHz, map out the stratigraphic structure of the dunes. Variations in the near surface layering are able to predict the seasonal variability in booming frequency both quantitatively and qualitatively. The Kirchhoff migrated GPR profiles are superimposed on the local topography obtained with a laser rangefinder. The complex dune structure is resolved to a depth of over 30 meters for the 100 MHz antenna. The GPR profiles of the longitudinal Eureka dune display complex internal structures from old dune crests. Both slopes have slip faces at 30 degrees with parallel layering (< 2m) at the near surface. At the transverse Dumont dune the GPR profile exhibits strong parallel layering on the booming leeward slipface only. The shallower windward face features a remarkable tilted repetitive layering that cuts through the surface. At Dumont Dunes the layering on the leeward face explains the change in booming frequency between 70 - 95 Hertz in the period 2005 - 2008. The tilted layering structure of the shallow windward face prevents the formation of a waveguide and is never able to sustain the

  4. Deriving polarization properties of desert-reflected solar spectra with PARASOL data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, W.; Baize, R. R.; Lukashin, C.; Hu, Y.

    2015-07-01

    One of the major objectives of the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) is to conduct highly accurate spectral observations to provide an on-orbit inter-calibration standard for relevant Earth-observing sensors with various channels. To calibrate an Earth-observing sensor's measurements with the highly accurate data from the CLARREO, errors in the measurements caused by the sensor's sensitivity to the polarization state of light must be corrected. For correction of the measurement errors due to the light's polarization, both the instrument's dependence on the incident polarization state and the on-orbit knowledge of the polarization state of light as a function of observed scene type, viewing geometry, and solar wavelength are required. In this study, an algorithm for deriving the spectral polarization state of solar light from the desert is reported. The desert/bare land surface is assumed to be composed of two types of areas: fine sand grains with diffuse reflection (Lambertian non-polarizer) and quartz-rich sand particles with facets of various orientations (specular-reflection polarizer). The Adding-Doubling Radiative Transfer Model (ADRTM) is applied to integrate the atmospheric absorption and scattering in the system. Empirical models are adopted in obtaining the diffuse spectral reflectance of sands and the optical depth of the dust aerosols over the desert. The ratio of non-polarizer area to polarizer area and the angular distribution of the facet orientations are determined by fitting the modeled polarization states of light to the measurements at three polarized channels (490, 670, and 865 nm) by the Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Science instrument coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL). Based on this physical model of the surface, the desert-reflected solar light's polarization state at any wavelength in the whole solar spectra can be calculated with the ADRTM.

  5. Leaf epidermal appendages of desert plant: an ecological perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yubing; Li, Xinrong; Li, Mengmeng

    2014-05-01

    Desert plant often have few, tiny or no leaves, which reduces transpiration. The epidermis of their leaves is often ornamented outgrowths called trichomes or hairs and a thick waxy cuticle. Hairs on the leaf surface trap humidity in dry climates and waxy leaf surfaces reduce water loss. Our present study is to investigate the characteristics of trichomes and waxy cuticle in leaf surface of desert plant, which in the long term acclimation in semi-humid, semi-arid and arid ecosystems of Northern China, from east (Zhangwu county, Liaoning province) to west (Korla city, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region), passing through several provinces including the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi province, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Gansu province. 68 shrubs and 7 trees were selected in the natural habitats which were artificial sand fixing vegetation and the adjacent natural vegetation in sandy areas. The leaf epidermis was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the cuticle thickness was calculated in the leaf cross-section by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results indicated that the epidermis of selected materials was divided into five categories: (1) Trichomes with different forms covered completely on the adaxial and abaxial surfaces of leaf, and any other epidermal appendages could not been observed. (2) Epicuticular wax crystals with different forms almost completely covered in the epistomatal chambers as well as on the surrounding epidermis, and there were no other appendages on the leaf surface. (3) A lot of warty hairs arranged neatly on the surface and the stomatal index was too low. (4) Several or even dozens of papillary epidermal cells covered with waxy crystals enclosed a sunken stomata chamber, therefore the stomatal density is very low. (5) Like ordinary terrestrial plants, epidermal cells and cell outline are clear, with epidermal hairs or not, and the stomata and waxy crystals are visible. TEM showed that desert plants

  6. Transdomes sampling of lower and middle crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teyssier, C. P.; Whitney, D. L.; Roger, F.; Rey, P. F.

    2015-12-01

    Migmatite transdomes are formed by lateral and upward flow of partially molten crust in transtension zones (pull-apart structures). In order to understand the flow leading to this type of domes, 3D numerical models were set-up to simulate the general case of an extensional domain located between two strike-slip faults (pull-apart or dilational bridge). Results show that upper crust extension induces flow of the deep, low-viscosity crust, with rapid upward movement of transdome material when extension becomes localized. At this point a rolling hinge detachment allows rapid removal of upper crust. The internal structure of transdomes includes a subvertical high strain zone located beneath the zone of localized upper crust extension; this shear zone separates two elongate subdomes of foliation that show refolded/sheath folds. Lineation tends to be oriented dominantly subhorizontal when the amount of strike-slip motion is greater than the amount of upward flow of dome rocks. Models also predict nearly isothermal decompression of transdome material and rapid transfer of ~50 km deep rocks to the near surface. These model results are compared to the structural and metamorphic history of several transdomes, and in particular the Variscan Montagne Noire dome (French Massif Central) that consists of two domes separated by a complex high strain zone. The Montagne Noire dome contains ~315 Ma eclogite bodies (U-Pb zircon age) that record 1.4 GPa peak pressure. The eclogite bodies are wrapped in highly sheared migmatite that yield 314-310 Ma monazite ages interpreted as the metamorphism and deformation age. Based on these relations we conclude that the Montagne Noire transdome developed a channel of partially molten crust that likely entrained eclogite bodies from the deep crust (~50 km) before ascending to the near-surface. One implication of this work is that the flowing crust was deeply seated in the orogen although it remained a poor recorder of peak pressure of metamorphism

  7. Spatial variability and stocks of soil organic carbon in the Gobi desert of Northwestern China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Pingping; Shao, Ming'an

    2014-01-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in improving soil properties and the C global cycle. Limited attention, though, has been given to assessing the spatial patterns and stocks of SOC in desert ecosystems. In this study, we quantitatively evaluated the spatial variability of SOC and its influencing factors and estimated SOC storage in a region (40 km2) of the Gobi desert. SOC exhibited a log-normal depth distribution with means of 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, and 1.4 g kg(-1) for the 0-10, 10-20, 20-30, and 30-40 cm layers, respectively, and was moderately variable according to the coefficients of variation (37-42%). Variability of SOC increased as the sampling area expanded and could be well parameterized as a power function of the sampling area. Significant correlations were detected between SOC and soil physical properties, i.e. stone, sand, silt, and clay contents and soil bulk density. The relatively coarse fractions, i.e. sand, silt, and stone contents, had the largest effects on SOC variability. Experimental semivariograms of SOC were best fitted by exponential models. Nugget-to-sill ratios indicated a strong spatial dependence for SOC concentrations at all depths in the study area. The surface layer (0-10 cm) had the largest spatial dependency compared with the other layers. The mapping revealed a decreasing trend of SOC concentrations from south to north across this region of the Gobi desert, with higher levels close to an oasis and lower levels surrounded by mountains and near the desert. SOC density to depths of 20 and 40 cm for this 40 km2 area was estimated at 0.42 and 0.68 kg C m(-2), respectively. This study provides an important contribution to understanding the role of the Gobi desert in the global carbon cycle. PMID:24733073

  8. Spatial variability and stocks of soil organic carbon in the Gobi desert of Northwestern China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Pingping; Shao, Ming'an

    2014-01-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in improving soil properties and the C global cycle. Limited attention, though, has been given to assessing the spatial patterns and stocks of SOC in desert ecosystems. In this study, we quantitatively evaluated the spatial variability of SOC and its influencing factors and estimated SOC storage in a region (40 km2) of the Gobi desert. SOC exhibited a log-normal depth distribution with means of 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, and 1.4 g kg(-1) for the 0-10, 10-20, 20-30, and 30-40 cm layers, respectively, and was moderately variable according to the coefficients of variation (37-42%). Variability of SOC increased as the sampling area expanded and could be well parameterized as a power function of the sampling area. Significant correlations were detected between SOC and soil physical properties, i.e. stone, sand, silt, and clay contents and soil bulk density. The relatively coarse fractions, i.e. sand, silt, and stone contents, had the largest effects on SOC variability. Experimental semivariograms of SOC were best fitted by exponential models. Nugget-to-sill ratios indicated a strong spatial dependence for SOC concentrations at all depths in the study area. The surface layer (0-10 cm) had the largest spatial dependency compared with the other layers. The mapping revealed a decreasing trend of SOC concentrations from south to north across this region of the Gobi desert, with higher levels close to an oasis and lower levels surrounded by mountains and near the desert. SOC density to depths of 20 and 40 cm for this 40 km2 area was estimated at 0.42 and 0.68 kg C m(-2), respectively. This study provides an important contribution to understanding the role of the Gobi desert in the global carbon cycle.

  9. Spatial Variability and Stocks of Soil Organic Carbon in the Gobi Desert of Northwestern China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Pingping; Shao, Ming'an

    2014-01-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in improving soil properties and the C global cycle. Limited attention, though, has been given to assessing the spatial patterns and stocks of SOC in desert ecosystems. In this study, we quantitatively evaluated the spatial variability of SOC and its influencing factors and estimated SOC storage in a region (40 km2) of the Gobi desert. SOC exhibited a log-normal depth distribution with means of 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, and 1.4 g kg−1 for the 0–10, 10–20, 20–30, and 30–40 cm layers, respectively, and was moderately variable according to the coefficients of variation (37–42%). Variability of SOC increased as the sampling area expanded and could be well parameterized as a power function of the sampling area. Significant correlations were detected between SOC and soil physical properties, i.e. stone, sand, silt, and clay contents and soil bulk density. The relatively coarse fractions, i.e. sand, silt, and stone contents, had the largest effects on SOC variability. Experimental semivariograms of SOC were best fitted by exponential models. Nugget-to-sill ratios indicated a strong spatial dependence for SOC concentrations at all depths in the study area. The surface layer (0–10 cm) had the largest spatial dependency compared with the other layers. The mapping revealed a decreasing trend of SOC concentrations from south to north across this region of the Gobi desert, with higher levels close to an oasis and lower levels surrounded by mountains and near the desert. SOC density to depths of 20 and 40 cm for this 40 km2 area was estimated at 0.42 and 0.68 kg C m−2, respectively. This study provides an important contribution to understanding the role of the Gobi desert in the global carbon cycle. PMID:24733073

  10. Have graben wall scarps accumulated sand and dust on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golombek, M. P.; Davis, P. A.

    1991-01-01

    Grabens are linear fault bounded troughs that are extremely abundant on Mars (about 7000 cover the Western Hemisphere). Analysis of lunar and Martian grabens as well as analogous structures on Earth indicates that grabens form under extension when the crust is pulled apart. On Mars, topographic maps are not of sufficient resolution to measure graben wall slopes. Seismic shaking on Mars might be capable of reducing 60 deg fault scarps to an angle of repose. Some other process must be responsible for further reducing graben wall slopes. If the deposition of sand and dust along graben walls is responsible for their extremely low slopes, then a variety of implications are possible. Sand and/or dust movement and deposition is ubiquitous in grabens over most of Mars, as similar looking grabens are found over the entire Western Hemisphere and this requires a plentiful supply of sand or dust. If the material that accumulates is of low density and cohesion, attempts to traverse graben walls might be difficult. Rimless shallow depressions could be more effective sinks for sand and dust on Mars than has been realized.

  11. Distribution of desert varnish in Arizona

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elvidge, Christopher D.

    1989-01-01

    Desert varnish is the dark coat of clay and ferromanganese oxides developed on exposed rock surfaces in arid regions. It forms from the accretion of material from windblown dust. The distribution of desert varnish was mapped in Arizona. It was discovered that desert varnish could be mapped on a regional scale. Well developed desert varnish is common on stable rock surfaces in areas having alkaline soils and less than about 25 cm of annual precipitation. Rock surfaces in areas having more than 40 cm of annual precipitation are generally devoid of desert varnish. An experiment was conducted with varnished desert pavement stone. The stones were broken in half and half was set on a roof in central Illinois from April until October. Removed from the alkaline desert environment, it only took seven months for the varnish to develop an eroded appearance. This experiment graphically illustrates the dependency of desert varnish on alkalinity. In this context, the zones of eroded desert varnish in Arizona indicate that the area of active desert varnish formation has fluctuated, expanding in drier times and contracting/eroding in wetter times.

  12. Monitoring Ecosystem Quality and Function in Arid Settings of the Mojave Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belnap, Jayne; Webb, Robert H.; Miller, Mark E.; Miller, David M.; DeFalco, Lesley A.; Medica, Philip A.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Esque, Todd C.; Bedford, Dave

    2008-01-01

    Monitoring ecosystem quality and function in the Mojave Desert is both a requirement of state and Federal government agencies and a means for determining potential long-term changes induced by climatic fluctuations and land use. Because it is not feasible to measure every attribute and process in the desert ecosystem, the choice of what to measure and where to measure it is the most important starting point of any monitoring program. In the Mojave Desert, ecosystem function is strongly influenced by both abiotic and biotic factors, and an understanding of the temporal and spatial variability induced by climate and landform development is needed to determine where site-specific measurements should be made. We review a wide variety of techniques for sampling, assessing, and measuring climatic variables, desert soils, biological soil crusts, annual and perennial vegetation, reptiles, and small mammals. The complete array of ecosystem attributes and processes that we describe are unlikely to be measured or monitored at any given location, but the array of possibilities allows for the development of specific monitoring protocols, which can be tailored to suit the needs of land-management agencies.

  13. The effects of drying following heat shock exposure of the desert moss Syntrichia caninervis.

    PubMed

    Xu, Shu-Jun; Liu, Chun-Jiang; Jiang, Ping-An; Cai, Wei-Min; Wang, Yan

    2009-03-15

    Desert mosses are components of biological soil crusts (BSCs) and their ecological functions make assessment and protection of these mosses a high-ranking management priority in desert regions. Drying is thought to be useful for desert mosses surviving heat shock. In this study, we investigated the role of drying by monitoring the responses of physiological characters and asexual reproduction in the typical desert moss Syntrichia caninervis. Heat significantly decreased chlorophyll content and weakened rapid recovery of photochemical activity, and increased carotenoid content and membrane permeability. Lethal temperatures significantly destroyed shoot regeneration potential. In comparison with heat alone, drying significantly increased protonema emergence time and depressed protonema emergence area. Drying combined with heat accelerated water loss, followed by a decrease of photosynthetic activity. Drying had different influences on membrane permeability at different temperatures. When moss leaves were subjected to a combined stress of drying and heat shock, photosynthesis was maintained mainly due to the effects of drying on physiological activity although the cellular morphological integrity was affected. Drying caused opposing effects on moss physiological and reproductive characteristics. On the one hand, drying caused a positive synergistic effect with heat shock when the temperature was below 40 degrees C. On the other hand, drying showed antagonism with heat shock when the moss was subjected to temperatures higher than 40 degrees C. These findings may help in understanding the survival mechanism of dessert mosses under heat shock stress which will be helpful for the artificial reconstruction of BSCs.

  14. Desert megadunes: a product of interactions between various parameters?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xiaoping; Liu, Tao; Zhu, Bingqi; Li, Hongwei; Liu, Ziting

    2010-05-01

    The aeolian system sediment state is defined by three key components: (a) sediment supply, (b) sediment availability, and (c) the transport capacity of the wind (Kocurek and Lancaster, 1999). And the waves generated on the dune surface can produce a series of new smaller dunes, preventing sand seas from merging into a single giant dune (Elbelrhiti et al., 2005). Consequently, the development histories of sand seas should reflect the changing patterns of interactions between various geomorphological processes (supplying and transporting sediments) associated with local, regional and global environmental conditions. The aim of this paper is to investigate the distribution patterns of dunes and their triggering factors in the Badain Jaran Desert located in the western Inner Mongolia of China. Using satellite imageries, supported by ground controls, the forms of dunes in this ca. 50,000 square kilometer large sand sea are interpreted. The taller sand dunes, probably the highest on Earth, occur only in the southeastern portion of the region. Detailed geometrical survey shows that many of these dunes possess not only a steep lee but also a steep stoss side. The lee is due to the strong northwestern winds associated with Siberian-Mongolian high pressure while the stoss side is related to the southeastern winds controlled to a considerably degree by the pressure system in the Pacific. In addition to bringing moisture, the southeastern winds play a significant role in the shaping of the dunes, as indicated by the steep stoss side. Using geophysical methods, we mapped underground morphology of some megadunes, recognizing that bed rock morphologies have a certain influence on the height of dunes, but not in a linear relationship. Although the sediment availability decreases while the vegetation coverage increases during wetter epochs, the cementation surface formed during wetter periods appears to be advantageous to the increase of dune height while it acts as solid basis for

  15. Detrital zircon evidence for Hf isotopic evolution of granitoid crust and continental growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iizuka, Tsuyoshi; Komiya, Tsuyoshi; Rino, Shuji; Maruyama, Shigenori; Hirata, Takafumi

    2010-04-01

    We have determined U-Pb ages, trace element abundances and Hf isotopic compositions of approximately 1000 detrital zircon grains from the Mississippi, Congo, Yangtze and Amazon Rivers. The U-Pb isotopic data reveal the lack of >3.3 Ga zircons in the river sands, and distinct peaks at 2.7-2.5, 2.2-1.9, 1.7-1.6, 1.2-1.0, 0.9-0.4, and <0.3 Ga in the accumulated age distribution. These peaks correspond well with the timing of supercontinent assembly. The Hf isotopic data indicate that many zircons, even those having Archean U-Pb ages, crystallized from magmas involving an older crustal component, suggesting that granitoid magmatism has been the primary agent of differentiation of the continental crust since the Archean era. We calculated Hf isotopic model ages for the zircons to estimate the mean mantle-extraction ages of their source materials. The oldest zircon Hf model ages of about 3.7 Ga for the river sands suggest that some crust generation had taken place by 3.7 Ga, and that it was subsequently reworked into <3.3 Ga granitoid continental crust. The accumulated model age distribution shows peaks at 3.3-3.0, 2.9-2.4, and 2.0-0.9 Ga. The striking attribute of our new data set is the non-uniformitarian secular change in Hf isotopes of granitoid crusts; Hf isotopic compositions of granitoid crusts deviate from the mantle evolution line from about 3.3 to 2.0 Ga, the deviation declines between 2.0 and 1.3 Ga and again increases afterwards. Consideration of mantle-crust mixing models for granitoid genesis suggests that the noted isotopic trends are best explained if the rate of crust generation globally increased in two stages at around (or before) 3.3 and 1.3 Ga, whereas crustal differentiation was important in the evolution of the continental crust at 2.3-2.2 Ga and after 0.6 Ga. Reconciling the isotopic secular change in granitoid crust with that in sedimentary rocks suggests that sedimentary recycling has essentially taken place in continental settings rather than

  16. Harvesting meteorites in the Omani desert: implications for astrobiology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, Beda A.; Gnos, Edwin; Al-Kathriri, Ali

    2004-03-01

    Meteorites will remain the most accessible, most diverse and most abundant source of extraterrestrial materials for many years to come. New sources of large numbers of meteorites allow the recovery of rare types particularly relevant for astrobiology, including Martian and Lunar samples. Oman has become an important source of meteorites only since 1999. Conditions for search and recovery are particularly favourable in many areas here because of an abundance of flat, light-colored, sand- and vegetation-free surfaces. During search expeditions carried out in the central deserts of Oman in 2001-2003 large numbers of meteorites, including a Martian and a Lunar sample, were recovered. The mass of recovered meteorites is 1334 kg, corresponding to approximately 150 to 200 fall events. We aim to classify all recovered specimens and study pairing and weathering effects. Our expeditions demonstrate the possibility to recover meteorite samples with astrobiological relevance with modest investments of finances and manpower.

  17. Basin Excavation, Lower Crust, Composition, and Bulk Moon Mass balance in Light of a Thin Crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jolliff, B. L.; Korotev, R. L.; Ziegler, R. A.

    2013-01-01

    New lunar gravity results from GRAIL have been interpreted to reflect an overall thin and low-density lunar crust. Accordingly, crustal thickness has been modeled as ranging from 0 to 60 km, with thinnest crust at the locations of Crisium and Moscoviense basins and thickest crust in the central farside highlands. The thin crust has cosmochemical significance, namely in terms of implications for the Moon s bulk composition, especially refractory lithophile elements that are strongly concentrated in the crust. Wieczorek et al. concluded that the bulk Moon need not be enriched compared to Earth in refractory lithophile elements such as Al. Less Al in the crust means less Al has been extracted from the mantle, permitting relatively low bulk lunar mantle Al contents and low pre- and post-crust-extraction values for the mantle (or the upper mantle if only the upper mantle underwent LMO melting). Simple mass-balance calculations using the method of [4] suggests that the same conclusion might hold for Th and the entire suite of refractory lithophile elements that are incompatible in olivine and pyroxene, including the KREEP elements, that are likewise concentrated in the crust.

  18. Transplant experiments to examine the habitat exclusivity of lichen dominated soil crust communities in the El Cautivo badlands, SE Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bevan, J.; Alexander, R.; Lazaro-Suau, R.

    2012-04-01

    ) control not touched x3 replicates b) host crust / lichen species replanted to the same site x3 replicates c) reciprocal transplants x3 replicates each. This resulted in a total of 18 plots in each site. The transplants were monitored at regular intervals over a period of 5 years to assess the degree to which they flourished, remained unchanged or died/disappeared. Key findings are that BC is the most able to colonize bare areas, while L. crassissima has the narrowest habit preference being the species least able to colonize out of its preferred habitat. D. diacapsis and L. lentigera have intermediate success colonising locations outside their preferred locations. However they only reach significant abundance when optimally located according to their ecophysiological requirements. The results support the successional sequence proposed for the Tabernas Desert by Lazaro (2008).

  19. Sand dollar sites orogenesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amos, Dee

    2013-04-01

    The determinology of the humble sand dollars habitat changing from inception to the drastic evolution of the zone to that of present day. Into the cauldron along the southern Californian 'ring of fire' lithosphere are evidence of geosynclinals areas, metasedimentary rock formations and hydrothermal activity. The explanation begins with 'Theia' and the Moon's formation, battles with cometary impacts, glacial ages, epochs with evolutionary bottlenecks and plate tectonics. Fully illustrated the lecture includes localised diagrams and figures with actual subject photographic examples of plutonic, granitic, jade and peridodite. Finally, the origins of the materials used in the lecture are revealed for prosecution by future students and the enjoyment of interested parties in general.

  20. Fortune Cookie Sand Dunes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-432, 25 July 2003

    This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a field of small barchan sand dunes in the north polar region near 71.7oN, 51.3oW. Some of them are shaped like fortune cookies. The message these dunes provide: winds blow through this region from the lower right toward the upper left. The steep slip face slopes of these dunes, which point toward the upper left, indicate the wind direction. The scene is illuminated by sunlight from the upper right. The image is 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

  1. Sand Dunes in Hellas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-537, 7 November 2003

    The smooth, rounded mounds in this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) picture are sand dunes. The scene is located in southern Hellas Planitia and was acquired in mid-southern autumn, the ideal time of year for Hellas imaging. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left. These dunes are located near 49.1oS, 292.6oW. The picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

  2. Ganges Rocks and Sand

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    17 January 2004 The top half of this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows wind-eroded remnants of sedimentary rock outcrops in Ganges Chasma, one of the troughs of the Valles Marineris system. The lower half shows a thick accumulation of dark, windblown sand. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left. These features are located near 7.6oS, 49.4oW.

  3. Magmatic intrusions in the lunar crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michaut, C.; Thorey, C.

    2015-10-01

    The lunar highlands are very old, with ages covering a timespan between 4.5 to 4.2 Gyr, and probably formed by flotation of light plagioclase minerals on top of the lunar magma ocean. The lunar crust provides thus an invaluable evidence of the geological and magmatic processes occurring in the first times of the terrestrial planets history. According to the last estimates from the GRAIL mission, the lunar primary crust is particularly light and relatively thick [1] This low-density crust acted as a barrier for the dense primary mantle melts. This is particularly evident in the fact that subsequent mare basalts erupted primarily within large impact basin: at least part of the crust must have been removed for the magma to reach the surface. However, the trajectory of the magma from the mantle to the surface is unknown. Using a model of magma emplacement below an elastic overlying layer with a flexural wavelength Λ, we characterize the surface deformations induced by the presence of shallow magmatic intrusions. We demonstrate that, depending on its size, the intrusion can show two different shapes: a bell shape when its radius is smaller than 4 times Λ or a flat top with small bended edges if its radius is larger than 4 times Λ[2]. These characteristic shapes for the intrusion result in characteristic deformations at the surface that also depend on the topography of the layer overlying the intrusion [3].Using this model we provide evidence of the presence of intrusions within the crust of the Moon as surface deformations in the form of low-slope lunar domes and floor-fractured craters. All these geological features have morphologies consistent with models of magma spreading at depth and deforming an overlying elastic layer. Further more,at floor-fractured craters, the deformation is contained within the crater interior, suggesting that the overpressure at the origin of magma ascent and intrusion was less than the pressure due to the weight of the crust removed by

  4. Tilting and Magnetization of Ocean Crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schouten, H.; Denham, C.

    2003-04-01

    The argument of tectonic rotation (tilting) versus secular variation as the cause of variable paleomagnetic inclination in ocean crust drill holes has existed since the beginning of the drilling program. Drill core samples measure inclination without azimuth, which makes it difficult to test the tilting hypothesis. Furthermore, inclinations, even in adjacent holes, do not show a systematic variation with depth and the inclinations indicate tilts that are both toward the spreading axis and away from it. In the seventies, the leading paradigm for tectonic rotation in ocean crust was distributed deformation causing tilting of the lavas toward the axis due to lava loading or lava burial. In the eighties, block rotation along listric normal faults causing tilting away from the axis became the leading paradigm. Neither tilt paradigm, however, has been able to provide a satisfactory explanation for the variable inclination in ocean crust drill holes. The lack of independent information on the azimuth of the tilt of lavas in the holes and of a satisfactory paradigm to explain tilt variation has suggested that either upper ocean crust is too randomly tilted or that secular variation dominates the variable inclination in the holes. In either case the magnetic inclinations in ocean crust drill holes have eluded meaningful interpretation. A new analysis of several deep drill holes in Troodos ophiolite (CY-1, CY-1A) and oceanic crust (504B, 417D) suggests that the longer-wavelength paleomagnetic inclination variation in ocean crust drill holes is caused by tilting. The variable tilt in the ocean crust drill holes can be used to quantify important aspects of the process of seafloor accretion and deformation in spreading centers. Lava accumulation in the neovolcanic zone generates a sequence of overlapping lava flows that are progressively tilted with depth toward the spreading axis/eruption center depending on the vertical cross section of lava flows. This progressive tilting

  5. Compressive behavior of fine sand.

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, Bradley E.; Kabir, Md. E.; Song, Bo; Chen, Wayne

    2010-04-01

    The compressive mechanical response of fine sand is experimentally investigated. The strain rate, initial density, stress state, and moisture level are systematically varied. A Kolsky bar was modified to obtain uniaxial and triaxial compressive response at high strain rates. A controlled loading pulse allows the specimen to acquire stress equilibrium and constant strain-rates. The results show that the compressive response of the fine sand is not sensitive to strain rate under the loading conditions in this study, but significantly dependent on the moisture content, initial density and lateral confinement. Partially saturated sand is more compliant than dry sand. Similar trends were reported in the quasi-static regime for experiments conducted at comparable specimen conditions. The sand becomes stiffer as initial density and/or confinement pressure increases. The sand particle size become smaller after hydrostatic pressure and further smaller after dynamic axial loading.

  6. Growth of the lower continental crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rudnick, Roberta L.

    1988-01-01

    One of the largest uncertainties in crustal composition and growth models is the nature of the lower continental crust. Specifically, by what processes is it formed and modified, and when is it formed, particularly in reference to the upper crust? The main reason for this lack of information is the scarcity of lower crustal rock samples. These are restricted to two types: rocks which outcrop in granulite facies terrains and granulite facies xenoliths which are transported to the earth's surface by young volcanics. The important conclusions arising from the xenolith studies are: the majority of mafic lower crustal xenoliths formed through cumulate process, resitic xenoliths are rare; and formation and metamorphism of the deep crust is intimately linked to igneous activity and/or orogeny which are manifest in one form or another at the earth's surface. Therefore, estimates of crustal growth based on surface exposures is representative, although the proportion of remobilized pre-existing crust may be significantly greater at the surface than in the deep crust.

  7. The Continental Crust: A Geophysical Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christensen, Nikolas I.

    Nearly 80 years ago, Yugoslavian seismologist Andrija Mohorovicic recognized, while studying a Balkan earthquake, that velocities of seismic waves increase abruptly at a few tens of kilometers depth , giving rise to the seismological definition of the crust. Since that discovery, many studies concerned with the nature of both the continental and oceanic crusts have appeared in the geophysical literature.Recently, interest in the continental crust has cascaded. This is largely because of an infusion of new data obtained from major reflection programs such as the Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling (COCORP) and British Institutions Reflection Profiling Syndicate (BIRPS) and increased resolution of refraction studies. In addition, deep continental drilling programs are n ow in fashion. The Continental Crust: A Geophysical Approach is a summary of present knowledge of the continental crust. Meissner has succeeded in writing a book suited to many different readers, from the interested undergraduate to the professional. The book is well documented , with pertinent figures and a complete and up-to-date reference list.

  8. Microwave Radiometric Signatures of Different Surface Types in Deserts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prigent, Catherine; Rossow, William B.; Matthews, Elaine; Marticorena, Beatrice

    1999-01-01

    In arid environments, specific microwave signatures have been observed with the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I). For a given diurnal change in surface skin temperature, the corresponding change in the microwave brightness temperature is smaller than expected. With the help of a 1D, time-dependent heat conduction model, this behavior is explained by microwave radiation coming from different depths in the soil, depending on the soil type and on the microwave radiation frequency. Using the eight-times daily estimates of the surface skin temperature by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and a simple Fresnel model, collocated month-long time series of the SSM/I brightness temperatures and the surface skin temperatures give a consistent estimate of the effective microwave emissivity and penetration depth parameters. Results are presented and analyzed for the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula, for July and November 1992. The case of the Australian desert is also briefly mentioned. Assuming a reasonable thermal diffusivity for the soil in desert areas, the microwave radiation is estimated to come from soil layers down to depths of at least five wavelengths in some locations. Regions where the microwave radiation comes from deeper soil layers also have large microwave emissivity polarization differences and large visible reflectances, suggesting that these areas correspond to sand dune fields.

  9. Metagenomic characterization of biodiversity in the extremely arid desert soils of Kazakhstan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kutovaya, O. V.; Lebedeva, M. P.; Tkhakakhova, A. K.; Ivanova, E. A.; Andronov, E. E.

    2015-05-01

    For the first time, the composition of microbiomes in the biological crust (AKL) horizons of extremely arid desert soils (Aridic Calcisols) developed from saline and nonsaline alluvial deposits in the Ili Depression (eastern Kazakhstan) was analyzed. To describe the diversity of microorganisms in the soil samples, a novel method of pyrosequencing (Roche/454 Life Sciences) was applied. It was shown that bacteria from the Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobia, Acidobacteria, and Bacteroidetes phyla predominate in all the samples; these are typical representatives of the microbiome of soil crusts. A distinctive feature of the extremely arid soils is the high contribution of cyanobacteria (25-30%) to the total DNA. In the soils developed from saline sediments, representatives from the Rubrobacteraceae, Streptococcaceae, and Caulobacteraceae families and from the Firmicutes phylum predominated. In the soils developed from nonsaline gypsiferous deposits, bacteria from the class of Acidobacteria, subgroup Gp3, of the Methylobacteriaceae family and the class of Subdivision 3 from the Verrucomicrobia phylum predominated.

  10. Deriving polarization properties of desert-reflected solar spectra with PARASOL data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, W.; Baize, R. R.; Lukashin, C.; Hu, Y.

    2015-03-01

    Highlights: 1. Spectral polarization state of reflected solar radiation is needed in correcting satellite data. 2. An algorithm for deriving spectral polarization state of solar light from desert is reported. 3. PARASOL data at 3 polarized channels are used in deriving polarization of whole spectra. 4. Desert-reflected solar ligh's polarization state at any wavelength can be obtained. One of the major objectives of the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) is to conduct highly accurate spectral observations to provide an on-orbit inter-calibration standard for relevant Earth observing sensors with various channels. To calibrate an Earth observing sensor's measurements with the highly accurate data from the CLARREO, errors in the measurements caused by the sensor's sensitivity to the polarization state of light must be corrected. For correction of the measurement errors due to the light's polarization, both the instrument's dependence to incidence's polarization status and the on-orbit knowledge of polarization state of light as function of observed scene type, viewing geometry, and solar wavelength, are required. In this study, an algorithm for deriving spectral polarization state of solar light from desert is reported. The desert/bare land surface is assumed to be composed of two types of areas: fine sand grains with diffuse reflection (Lambertian non-polarizer) and quartz-rich sand particles with facets of various orientations (specular-reflection polarizer). The adding-doubling radiative transfer model (ADRTM) is applied to integrate the atmospheric absorption and scattering in the system. Empirical models are adopted in obtaining the diffuse spectral reflectance of sands and the optical depth of the dust aerosols over the desert. The ratio of non-polarizer area to polarizer area and the angular distribution of the facet orientations are determined by fitting the modeled polarization states of light to the measurements at 3 polarized

  11. Egypt western desert activity hits high gear

    SciTech Connect

    Petzet, G.A.

    1996-11-04

    Exploration in Egypt`s western desert is turning up large oil and gas reserves in several sub-basins. Though not a threat to the Gulf of Suez`s oil production dominance, the western desert`s output is climbing. And gas production is also set to rise as more pipelines are built. The paper describes the geology, Qarun field production, further exploration at Qarun and the Khalda/Obaiyed gas.

  12. Network topology of the desert rose

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hope, Sigmund; Kundu, Sumanta; Roy, Chandreyee; Manna, Subhrangshu; Hansen, Alex

    2015-09-01

    Desert roses are gypsum crystals that consist of intersecting disks. We determine their geometrical structure using computer assisted tomography. By mapping the geometrical structure onto a graph, the topology of the desert rose is analyzed and compared to a model based on diffusion limited aggregation. By comparing the topology, we find that the model gets a number of the features of the real desert rose right, whereas others do not fit so well.

  13. Deep-ocean ferromanganese crusts and nodules

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hein, James R.; Koschinsky, Andrea

    2013-01-01

    Ferromanganese crusts and nodules may provide a future resource for a large variety of metals, including many that are essential for emerging high- and green-technology applications. A brief review of nodules and crusts provides a setting for a discussion on the latest (past 10 years) research related to the geochemistry of sequestration of metals from seawater. Special attention is given to cobalt, nickel, titanium, rare earth elements and yttrium, bismuth, platinum, tungsten, tantalum, hafnium, tellurium, molybdenum, niobium, zirconium, and lithium. Sequestration from seawater by sorption, surface oxidation, substitution, and precipitation of discrete phases is discussed. Mechanisms of metal enrichment reflect modes of formation of the crusts and nodules, such as hydrogenetic (from seawater), diagenetic (from porewaters), and mixed diagenetic–hydrogenetic processes.

  14. Elemental composition of the Martian crust.

    PubMed

    McSween, Harry Y; Taylor, G Jeffrey; Wyatt, Michael B

    2009-05-01

    The composition of Mars' crust records the planet's integrated geologic history and provides clues to its differentiation. Spacecraft and meteorite data now provide a global view of the chemistry of the igneous crust that can be used to assess this history. Surface rocks on Mars are dominantly tholeiitic basalts formed by extensive partial melting and are not highly weathered. Siliceous or calc-alkaline rocks produced by melting and/or fractional crystallization of hydrated, recycled mantle sources, and silica-poor rocks produced by limited melting of alkali-rich mantle sources, are uncommon or absent. Spacecraft data suggest that martian meteorites are not representative of older, more voluminous crust and prompt questions about their use in defining diagnostic geochemical characteristics and in constraining mantle compositional models for Mars. PMID:19423810

  15. Elemental composition of the Martian crust.

    PubMed

    McSween, Harry Y; Taylor, G Jeffrey; Wyatt, Michael B

    2009-05-01

    The composition of Mars' crust records the planet's integrated geologic history and provides clues to its differentiation. Spacecraft and meteorite data now provide a global view of the chemistry of the igneous crust that can be used to assess this history. Surface rocks on Mars are dominantly tholeiitic basalts formed by extensive partial melting and are not highly weathered. Siliceous or calc-alkaline rocks produced by melting and/or fractional crystallization of hydrated, recycled mantle sources, and silica-poor rocks produced by limited melting of alkali-rich mantle sources, are uncommon or absent. Spacecraft data suggest that martian meteorites are not representative of older, more voluminous crust and prompt questions about their use in defining diagnostic geochemical characteristics and in constraining mantle compositional models for Mars.

  16. Fluvial-aeolian interactions in sediment routing and sedimentary signal buffering: an example from the Indus Basin and Thar Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    East, Amy E.; Clift, Peter D.; Carter, Andrew; Alizai, Anwar; VanLaningham, Sam

    2015-01-01

    Sediment production and its subsequent preservation in the marine stratigraphic record offshore of large rivers are linked by complex sediment-transfer systems. To interpret the stratigraphic record it is critical to understand how environmental signals transfer from sedimentary source regions to depositional sinks, and in particular to understand the role of buffering in obscuring climatic or tectonic signals. In dryland regions, signal buffering can include sediment cycling through linked fluvial and eolian systems. We investigate sediment-routing connectivity between the Indus River and the Thar Desert, where fluvial and eolian systems exchanged sediment over large spatial scales (hundreds of kilometers). Summer monsoon winds recycle sediment from the lower Indus River and delta northeastward, i.e., downwind and upstream, into the desert. Far-field eolian recycling of Indus sediment is important enough to control sediment provenance at the downwind end of the desert substantially, although the proportion of Indus sediment of various ages varies regionally within the desert; dune sands in the northwestern Thar Desert resemble the Late Holocene–Recent Indus delta, requiring short transport and reworking times. On smaller spatial scales (1–10 m) along fluvial channels in the northern Thar Desert, there is also stratigraphic evidence of fluvial and eolian sediment reworking from local rivers. In terms of sediment volume, we estimate that the Thar Desert could be a more substantial sedimentary store than all other known buffer regions in the Indus basin combined. Thus, since the mid-Holocene, when the desert expanded as the summer monsoon rainfall decreased, fluvial-eolian recycling has been an important but little recognized process buffering sediment flux to the ocean. Similar fluvial-eolian connectivity likely also affects sediment routing and signal transfer in other dryland regions globally.

  17. Hafnium isotope stratigraphy of ferromanganese crusts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lee, D.-C.; Halliday, A.N.; Hein, J.R.; Burton, K.W.; Christensen, J.N.; Gunther, D.

    1999-01-01

    A Cenozoic record of hafnium isotopic compositions of central Pacific deep water has been obtained from two ferromanganese crusts. The crusts are separated by more than 3000 kilometers but display similar secular variations. Significant fluctuations in hafnium isotopic composition occurred in the Eocene and Oligocene, possibly related to direct advection from the Indian and Atlantic oceans. Hafnium isotopic compositions have remained approximately uniform for the past 20 million years, probably reflecting increased isolation of the central Pacific. The mechanisms responsible for the increase in 87Sr/86Sr in seawater through the Cenozoic apparently had no effect on central Pacific deep-water hafnium.

  18. Evolution of the lunar highland crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Taylor, S. R.; Bence, A. E.

    1975-01-01

    The evolution of three distinct element associations in the lunar highland crust is discussed in terms of the Taylor-Jakes model which involves melting of most of the moon during accretion. Sources for (1) high Ca, Al, Sr, Eu, (2) high Mg and Cr, and (3) high K, REE, Zr, Hf, Nb are suggested. Bombardment by large projectiles during the differentiation process causes melting and mixing, which produces a wide range of compositions in the crust. The formation of dunite, troctolite, high-, medium-, and low-K Fra Mauro basalts, and rocks close to the olivine-spinel-plagioclase peritectic point is considered.

  19. Tungsten Stable Isotope Compositions of Ferromanganese Crusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abraham, K.; Barling, J.; Hein, J. R.; Schauble, E. A.; Halliday, A. N.

    2014-12-01

    We report the first accurate and precise data for mass-dependent fractionation of tungsten (W) stable isotopes, using a double spike technique and MC-ICPMS. Results are expressed relative to the NIST 3136 W isotope standard as per mil deviations in 186W/184W (δ186W). Although heavy element mass-dependent fractionations are expected to be small, Tl and U both display significant low temperature isotopic fractionations. Theoretical calculations indicate that W nuclear volume isotopic effects should be smaller than mass-dependent fractionations at low temperatures. Hydrogenetic ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) crusts precipitate directly from seawater and have been used as paleoceanographic recorders of temporal changes in seawater chemistry. Crusts are strongly enriched in W and other metals, and are a promising medium for exploring W isotopic variability. Tungsten has a relatively long residence time in seawater of ~61,000 years, mainly as the tungstate ion (WO42-). Water depth profiles show conservative behaviour. During adsorption on Fe-Mn crusts, W species form inner-sphere complexes in the hexavalent (W6+) state. The major host phase is thought to be Mn oxides and the lighter W isotope is expected to be absorbed preferentially. Surface scrapings of 13 globally distributed hydrogenetic Fe-Mn crusts display δ186W from -0.08 to -0.22‰ (±0.03‰, 2sd). A trend toward lighter W isotope composition exists with increasing water depth (~1500 to ~5200m) and W concentration. One hydrothermal Mn-oxide sample is anomalously light and Mn nodules are both heavy and light relative to Fe-Mn crusts. Tungsten speciation depends on concentration, pH, and time in solution and is not well understood because of the extremely slow kinetics of the reactions. In addition, speciation of aqueous and/or adsorbed species might be sensitive to pressure, showing similar thermodynamic stability but different effective volumes. Thus, W stable isotopes might be used as a water-depth barometer in

  20. Does current precipitation play a role in the recharge of groundwater in the deserts of northern China?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xiaoping

    2014-05-01

    Arid and semi-arid areas account for more than one third of the Chinese landmass and are distributed over elevations ranging from 155 m below sea level to over 5000 m above sea level. The most typical landscapes of this vast and diverse region are sand seas in arid and sandy lands in the semiarid zones. The widely cited value about mean annual evaporation in the deserts of northern China is between ca. 1400 to 3000 mm / year in general and between 3000 and 3800 mm / year in dune fields. Under such a framework modern precipitation would be meaningless to the recharge of groundwater. Our new estimate, based on the weather data from the last four decades, suggests, however, there is a clear overestimate of the evaporation rate in the earlier data. In a sand sea like the Badain Jaran Desert in the western Inner Mongolia, our calculation using a modified Penman equation shows that the mean annual evaporation is ca. 1000 mm from lakes and ca. 100 mm from the land surface. Our estimate is consistent with a new analysis showing that only ca. 10% of chloride in the soluble salts of aeolian sands in western Inner Mongolia comes directly from rainfall while 90% of chloride in these salts is deposited directly by dust accumulation (dry deposition). Limited, short-term experiment with large evaporation ponds supports our new estimate also. Provided that the new estimate tells the truth, we can further conclude that the current precipitation - ca. 100 mm in the southeast of the Badain Jaran Desert - plays a significant role in the recharge of the groundwater that directly feeds a large number of "small" desert lakes in this region. The existence of measurable tritium in the shallow ground water samples from the margins of these desert lakes reconfirms the importance of modern precipitation in the recharge of groundwater as well.

  1. Mass and Composition of the Continental Crust Estimated Using the CRUST2.0 Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, B. T.; Depaolo, D. J.

    2007-12-01

    The mass, age, and chemical composition of the continental crust are fundamental data for understanding Earth differentiation. The inaccessibility of most of the volume of the crust requires that inferences be made about geochemistry using seismic and heat flow data, with additional constraints provided by scarce lower crustal samples (Rudnick and Fountain, Rev. Geophys., 1995; Rudnick and Gao, Treatise on Geochem., 2003). The global crustal seismic database CRUST2.0 (Bassin, et al., EOS, 2000; Mooney, et al., JGR, 1998; hereafter C2) provides a useful template with which the size and composition of the continents can be assessed, and may be a useful vehicle to organize and analyze diverse geochemical data. We have used C2 to evaluate the modern mass and composition of the continental crust and their uncertainties, and explored our results in the context of global mass balances, such as continents versus depleted mantle. The major source of uncertainty comes from the definition of "continent." The ultimate constraint is the total mass of Earth's crust (oceanic + continental), which, from C2, is 2.77 (in units of 1022 kg). Using crustal thickness as a definition of continent, the mass of continental crust (CC) is 2.195 if the minimum thickness is 12-18km, 2.085 for 22.5km, 2.002 for 25km, and 1.860 for 30km. These numbers include all sediment as continental crust. Using C2 definitions to distinguish oceanic and continental crust (and including oceanic plateaus which contain some continental crust), we calculate the CC mass as 2.171. To estimate chemical composition, we use the C2 reservoir masses. For minimum thickness of 22.5km, C2 yields the proportions 0.016 oceanic sediment, 0.038 continental sediment, 0.321 upper crust, 0.326 middle crust, 0.299 lower crust. Upper, middle, and lower crust are assigned compositions from Rudnick and Gao (2003), continental sediments are assigned upper crust composition, and oceanic sediments are assigned GLOSS composition (Plank

  2. Sand dune ridge alignment effects on surface BRF over the Libya-4 CEOS calibration site.

    PubMed

    Govaerts, Yves M

    2015-01-01

    The Libya-4 desert area, located in the Great Sand Sea, is one of the most important bright desert CEOS pseudo-invariant calibration sites by its size and radiometric stability. This site is intensively used for radiometer drift monitoring, sensor intercalibration and as an absolute calibration reference based on simulated radiances traceable to the SI standard. The Libya-4 morphology is composed of oriented sand dunes shaped by dominant winds. The effects of sand dune spatial organization on the surface bidirectional reflectance factor is analyzed in this paper using Raytran, a 3D radiative transfer model. The topography is characterized with the 30 m resolution ASTER digital elevation model. Four different regions-of-interest sizes, ranging from 10 km up to 100 km, are analyzed. Results show that sand dunes generate more backscattering than forward scattering at the surface. The mean surface reflectance averaged over different viewing and illumination angles is pretty much independent of the size of the selected area, though the standard deviation differs. Sun azimuth position has an effect on the surface reflectance field, which is more pronounced for high Sun zenith angles. Such 3D azimuthal effects should be taken into account to decrease the simulated radiance uncertainty over Libya-4 below 3% for wavelengths larger than 600 nm. PMID:25654721

  3. Phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) transmitting visceral leishmaniasis and their geographical distribution in China: a review.

    PubMed

    Guan, Li-Ren; Zhou, Zheng-Bin; Jin, Chang-Fa; Fu, Qing; Chai, Jun-Jie

    2016-02-23

    After the existence of phlebotomine sand flies was first reported in China in 1910, the distribution of different species and their role in the transmission of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) have been extensively studied. Up until 2008, four species have been verified as vectors of VL, namely, Phlebotomus chinensis (Ph. sichuanensis), Ph. longiductus (Ph. chinensis longiductus), Ph. wui (Ph. major wui), and Ph. alexandri. The sand fly species vary greatly depending on the natural environments in the different geographic areas where they are endemic. Ph. chinensis is euryecious and adaptable to different ecologies, and is thus distributed widely in the plain, mountainous, and Loess Plateau regions north of the Yangtze River. Ph. longiductus is mainly distributed in ancient oasis areas south of Mt. Tianshan in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Ph. wui is the predominant species in deserts with Populus diversifolia and Tamarix vegetation in Xinjiang and the western part of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Finally, Ph. alexandri is steroecious and found only in stony desert areas, such as at the foot of the mountains in Xinjiang and the western Hexi Corridor, in Gansu province. This review summarized the relationship between the geographic distribution pattern of the four sand fly species and their geographical landscape in order to foster research on disease distribution and sand fly control planning. Furthermore, some problems that remained to be solved about vectors of VL in China were discussed.

  4. Sand dune ridge alignment effects on surface BRF over the Libya-4 CEOS calibration site.

    PubMed

    Govaerts, Yves M

    2015-02-03

    The Libya-4 desert area, located in the Great Sand Sea, is one of the most important bright desert CEOS pseudo-invariant calibration sites by its size and radiometric stability. This site is intensively used for radiometer drift monitoring, sensor intercalibration and as an absolute calibration reference based on simulated radiances traceable to the SI standard. The Libya-4 morphology is composed of oriented sand dunes shaped by dominant winds. The effects of sand dune spatial organization on the surface bidirectional reflectance factor is analyzed in this paper using Raytran, a 3D radiative transfer model. The topography is characterized with the 30 m resolution ASTER digital elevation model. Four different regions-of-interest sizes, ranging from 10 km up to 100 km, are analyzed. Results show that sand dunes generate more backscattering than forward scattering at the surface. The mean surface reflectance averaged over different viewing and illumination angles is pretty much independent of the size of the selected area, though the standard deviation differs. Sun azimuth position has an effect on the surface reflectance field, which is more pronounced for high Sun zenith angles. Such 3D azimuthal effects should be taken into account to decrease the simulated radiance uncertainty over Libya-4 below 3% for wavelengths larger than 600 nm.

  5. Sand Dune Ridge Alignment Effects on Surface BRF over the Libya-4 CEOS Calibration Site

    PubMed Central

    Govaerts, Yves M.

    2015-01-01

    The Libya-4 desert area, located in the Great Sand Sea, is one of the most important bright desert CEOS pseudo-invariant calibration sites by its size and radiometric stability. This site is intensively used for radiometer drift monitoring, sensor intercalibration and as an absolute calibration reference based on simulated radiances traceable to the SI standard. The Libya-4 morphology is composed of oriented sand dunes shaped by dominant winds. The effects of sand dune spatial organization on the surface bidirectional reflectance factor is analyzed in this paper using Raytran, a 3D radiative transfer model. The topography is characterized with the 30 m resolution ASTER digital elevation model. Four different regions-of-interest sizes, ranging from 10 km up to 100 km, are analyzed. Results show that sand dunes generate more backscattering than forward scattering at the surface. The mean surface reflectance averaged over different viewing and illumination angles is pretty much independent of the size of the selected area, though the standard deviation differs. Sun azimuth position has an effect on the surface reflectance field, which is more pronounced for high Sun zenith angles. Such 3D azimuthal effects should be taken into account to decrease the simulated radiance uncertainty over Libya-4 below 3% for wavelengths larger than 600 nm. PMID:25654721

  6. Sand Dune Ridge Alignment Effects on Surface BRF over Libya-4 Calibration Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Govaerts, Yves

    2015-12-01

    The Libya-4 desert area, located in the Great Sand Sea, is one of the most important bright desert CEOS pseudo-invariant calibration sites by its size and radiometric stability. This site is intensively used for radiometer drift monitoring, sensor intercalibration and as an absolute calibration reference based on simulated radiances traceable to the SI standard. The Libya-4 morphology is composed of oriented sand dunes shaped by dominant winds. The effects of sand dune spatial organization on the surface bidirectional reflectance factor is analyzed in this paper using Raytran, a 3D radiative transfer model. The topography is characterized with the 30 m resolution ASTER digital elevation model. Four different regions-of-interest sizes, ranging from 10 km up to 100 km, are analyzed. Results show that sand dunes generate more backscattering than forward scattering at the surface. The mean surface reflectance averaged over different viewing and illumination angles is pretty much independent of the size of the selected area, though the standard deviation differs. Sun azimuth position has an effect on the surface reflectance field, which is more pronounced for high Sun zenith angles. Such 3D azimuthal effects should be taken into account to decrease the simulated radiance uncertainty over Libya-4 below 3% for wavelengths larger than 600 nm..

  7. Phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) transmitting visceral leishmaniasis and their geographical distribution in China: a review.

    PubMed

    Guan, Li-Ren; Zhou, Zheng-Bin; Jin, Chang-Fa; Fu, Qing; Chai, Jun-Jie

    2016-01-01

    After the existence of phlebotomine sand flies was first reported in China in 1910, the distribution of different species and their role in the transmission of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) have been extensively studied. Up until 2008, four species have been verified as vectors of VL, namely, Phlebotomus chinensis (Ph. sichuanensis), Ph. longiductus (Ph. chinensis longiductus), Ph. wui (Ph. major wui), and Ph. alexandri. The sand fly species vary greatly depending on the natural environments in the different geographic areas where they are endemic. Ph. chinensis is euryecious and adaptable to different ecologies, and is thus distributed widely in the plain, mountainous, and Loess Plateau regions north of the Yangtze River. Ph. longiductus is mainly distributed in ancient oasis areas south of Mt. Tianshan in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Ph. wui is the predominant species in deserts with Populus diversifolia and Tamarix vegetation in Xinjiang and the western part of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Finally, Ph. alexandri is steroecious and found only in stony desert areas, such as at the foot of the mountains in Xinjiang and the western Hexi Corridor, in Gansu province. This review summarized the relationship between the geographic distribution pattern of the four sand fly species and their geographical landscape in order to foster research on disease distribution and sand fly control planning. Furthermore, some problems that remained to be solved about vectors of VL in China were discussed. PMID:26906187

  8. A relatively reduced Hadean continental crust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xiaozhi; Gaillard, Fabrice; Scaillet, Bruno

    2014-05-01

    Among the physical and chemical parameters used to characterize the Earth, oxidation state, as reflected by its prevailing oxygen fugacity (fO2), is a particularly important one. It controls many physicochemical properties and geological processes of the Earth's different reservoirs, and affects the partitioning of elements between coexisting phases and the speciation of degassed volatiles in melts. In the past decades, numerous studies have been conducted to document the evolution of mantle and atmospheric oxidation state with time and in particular the possible transition from an early reduced state to the present oxidized conditions. So far, it has been established that the oxidation state of the uppermost mantle is within ±2 log units of the quartz-fayalite-magnetite (QFM) buffer, probably back to ~4.4 billion years ago (Ga) based on trace-elements studies of mantle-derived komatiites, kimberlites, basalts, volcanics and zircons, and that the O2 levels of atmosphere were initially low and rose markedly ~2.3 Ga known as the Great Oxidation Event (GOE), progressively reaching its present oxidation state of ~10 log units above QFM. In contrast, the secular evolution of oxidation state of the continental crust, an important boundary separating the underlying upper mantle from the surrounding atmosphere and buffering the exchanges and interactions between the Earth's interior and exterior, has rarely been addressed, although the presence of evolved crustal materials on the Earth can be traced back to ~4.4 Ga, e.g. by detrital zircons. Zircon is a common accessory mineral in nature, occurring in a wide variety of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and is almost ubiquitous in crustal rocks. The physical and chemical durability of zircons makes them widely used in geochemical studies in terms of trace-elements, isotopes, ages and melt/mineral inclusions; in particular, zircons are persistent under most crustal conditions and can survive many secondary

  9. Satellite-based estimates of groundwater depletion in the Badain Jaran Desert, China.

    PubMed

    Jiao, Jiu Jimmy; Zhang, Xiaotao; Wang, Xusheng

    2015-01-01

    Despite prevailing dry conditions, groundwater-fed lakes are found among the earth's tallest sand dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert, China. Indirect evidence suggests that some lakes are shrinking. However, relatively few studies have been carried out to assess the regional groundwater conditions and the fate of the lakes due to the remoteness and severity of the desert environment. Here we use satellite information to demonstrate an ongoing slow decrease in both lake level and groundwater storage. Specifically, we use Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite altimetry data to quantify water levels of the lakes and show overall decreases from 2003 to 2009. We also use water storage changes from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment and simulated soil and water changes from the Global Land Data Assimilation System to demonstrate long-term groundwater depletion in the desert. Rainfall increase driven by climate change has increased soil water and groundwater storage to a certain degree but not enough to compensate for the long-term decline. If countermeasures are not taken to control the pumping, many lakes will continue to shrink, causing an ecological and environmental disaster in the fragile desert oases. PMID:25760683

  10. Landscape evolution of the Ulan Buh Desert in northern China during the late Quaternary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Fahu; Li, Guoqiang; Zhao, Hui; Jin, Ming; Chen, Xuemei; Fan, Yuxin; Liu, Xiaokang; Wu, Duo; Madsen, David

    2014-05-01

    The evolution of arid environments in northern China was a major environmental change during the Quaternary. Here we present the dating and environmental proxy results from a 35 m long core (A-WL10ZK-1) collected from the Ulan Buh Desert (UBD), along with supplemental data from four other cores. The UBD is one of the main desert dune fields in China and our results indicate the UBD has undergone complex evolution during the late Quaternary. Most of the present UBD was covered by a Jilantai-Hetao Mega-paleolake lasting until ~ 90 ka ago. A sandy desert environment prevailed throughout the UBD during the last glacial period and early Holocene. A wetland environment characterized by the formation of numerous interdunal ponds in the northern UBD occurred at ~ 8-7 ka, although a dune field persisted in the southern UBD. The modern UBD landscape formed after these wetlands dried up. During the last 2000 years, eolian sand from the Badain Jaran Desert has invaded the northern UBD, while farming and overgrazing resulted in the formation of the eastern UBD. We suggest that the formation of UBD landforms is related to the disintegration of the megalake Jilantai-Hetao and to summer monsoon changes during the last glaciation and Holocene.

  11. Satellite-based estimates of groundwater depletion in the Badain Jaran Desert, China.

    PubMed

    Jiao, Jiu Jimmy; Zhang, Xiaotao; Wang, Xusheng

    2015-03-11

    Despite prevailing dry conditions, groundwater-fed lakes are found among the earth's tallest sand dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert, China. Indirect evidence suggests that some lakes are shrinking. However, relatively few studies have been carried out to assess the regional groundwater conditions and the fate of the lakes due to the remoteness and severity of the desert environment. Here we use satellite information to demonstrate an ongoing slow decrease in both lake level and groundwater storage. Specifically, we use Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite altimetry data to quantify water levels of the lakes and show overall decreases from 2003 to 2009. We also use water storage changes from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment and simulated soil and water changes from the Global Land Data Assimilation System to demonstrate long-term groundwater depletion in the desert. Rainfall increase driven by climate change has increased soil water and groundwater storage to a certain degree but not enough to compensate for the long-term decline. If countermeasures are not taken to control the pumping, many lakes will continue to shrink, causing an ecological and environmental disaster in the fragile desert oases.

  12. Sand and Dust on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Haberle, Robert M.

    1991-01-01

    Mars is a planet of high scientific interest. Various studies are currently being made that involve vehicles that have landed on Mars. Because Mars is known to experience frequent wind storms, mission planners and engineers require knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of Martian windblown sand and dust, and the processes involved in the origin and evolution of sand and dust storms.

  13. Science Learning in the Sand.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sexton, Ursula

    1997-01-01

    Presents activities that allow students to think about the Earth in a contextual manner and become familiar with constructive and destructive processes as they relate to sand - its origins, cyclical processes, and yielding of new products. Explores the bigger idea with a developmentally appropriate study of water, rocks, sand, physical phenomena,…

  14. Respiratory disease among military personnel in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield.

    PubMed Central

    Richards, A L; Hyams, K C; Watts, D M; Rozmajzl, P J; Woody, J N; Merrell, B R

    1993-01-01

    OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this study was to determine whether respiratory disease due to crowded living conditions and high levels of suspended and blowing sand had a major adverse impact on US military personnel during Operation Desert Shield. METHODS. A questionnaire survey was administered to 2598 combat troops stationed in Northeast Saudi Arabia for a mean of 102 days. Samples of surface sand from seven different locations were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction. RESULTS. Among surveyed troops, 34.4% reported a sore throat, 43.1% complained of a cough, 15.4% complained of chronic rhinorrhea, and 1.8% were unable to perform their routine duties because of upper respiratory symptoms. Evaluation of sleeping accommodations indicated that complaints of a sore throat and cough were most closely associated with sleeping in air-conditioned buildings; in contrast, complaints of rhinorrhea were associated with exposure to the outdoor environment while living in tents. Sand samples consisted mostly of quartz, with just 0.21% by weight of respirable size (< 10 microns in diameter). CONCLUSIONS. These findings indicate that upper respiratory complaints were frequent among Operation Desert Shield troops and were related both to the troops' housing and to their exposure to the outside environment. PMID:8363011

  15. Molecular Ecology of nifH Genes and Transcripts Along a Chronosequence in Revegetated Areas of the Tengger Desert.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jin; Bao, Jing-Ting; Li, Xin-Rong; Liu, Yu-Bing

    2016-01-01

    The colonization and succession of diazotrophs are essential for the development of organic soil layers in desert. We examined the succession of diazotrophs in the well-established revegetated areas representing a chronosequence of 0 year (control), 22 years (restored artificially since 1981), 57 years (restored artificially since 1956), and more than 100 years (restored naturally) to determine the community assembly and active expression of diazotrophs. The pyrosequencing data revealed that Alphaproteobacteria-like diazotrophs predominated in the topsoil of our mobile dune site, while cyanobacterial diazotrophs predominated in the revegetated sites. The cyanobacterial diazotrophs were primarily composed of the heterocystous genera Anabaena, Calothrix, Cylindrospermum, Nodularia, Nostoc, Trichormus, and Mastigocladus. Almost all the nifH sequences belonged to the Cyanobacteria phylum (all the relative abundance values >99.1 %) at transcript level and all the active cyanobacterial diazotrophs distributed in the families Nostocaceae and Rivulariaceae. The most dominant active cyanobacterial genus was Cylindrospermum in all the samples. The rank abundance and community analyses demonstrated that most of the diazotrophic diversity originated from the "rare" species, and all the DNA-based diazotrophic libraries were richer and more diverse than their RNA-based counterparts in the revegetated sites. Significant differences in the diazotrophic community and their active population composition were observed among the four research sites. Samples from the 1981-revegetating site (predominated by cyanobacterial crusts) showed the highest nitrogenase activity, followed by samples from the naturally revegetating site (predominated by lichen crusts), the 1956-revegetating site (predominated by moss crusts), and the mobile dune site (without crusts). Collectively, our data highlight the importance of nitrogen fixation by the primary successional desert topsoil and suggest

  16. Molecular Ecology of nifH Genes and Transcripts Along a Chronosequence in Revegetated Areas of the Tengger Desert.</