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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 1995 → Dust generation resulting from desiccation of playa systems : Studies on Mono and Owens lakes, California


Dust generation resulting from desiccation of playa systems : Studies on Mono and Owens lakes, California

Gill, Thomas Edward

Titre : Dust generation resulting from desiccation of playa systems : Studies on Mono and Owens lakes, California

Auteur : Gill, Thomas Edward

Université de soutenance : UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1995

Playas, evaporites, and aeolian sediments frequently are linked components within the Earth system. Anthropogenic water diversions from terminal lakes form playas that release fugitive dust. These actions, documented worldwide, simulate aeolian processes activated during palaeoclimatic pluvial/interpluvial transitions, and have significant environmental impacts. Pluvial lakes Russell and Owens in North America’s Great Basin preceded historic Mono and Owens Lakes, now desiccated by water diversions into dust-generating, evaporite -encrusted playas. Geochemical and hydrologic cycles acting on the Owens (Dry) Lake playa form three distinct crust types each year. Although initial dust production results from deflation of surface efflorescences after the playa dries, most aerosols are created by saltation abrasion of salt/silt/clay crusts at crust/ sand sheet contacts. The warm-season, clastic "cemented" crust is slowest to degrade into dust. If the playa surface is stabilized by an unbroken, non-efflorescent crust, dust formation is discouraged. When Mono Lake’s surFace elevation does not exceed 1951 meters (6400 feet), similar processes will also generate dust from its saline lower playa. Six factors—related to wind, topography, groundwater, and sediments—control dust formation at both playas. These factors were combined into a statistical model relating suspended dust concentrations to playa/lake morphometry. The model shows the extent and severity of Mono Lake dust storms expands significantly below the surface level 6376 feet (1943.5 meters). X-ray diffraction analysis of Mono Basin soils, playa sediments, and aerosols demonstrates geochemical cycling of materials through land, air and water during Mono Lake’s 1982 low stand. Soils and clastic playa sediments contain silicate minerals and tephra. Saline groundwater deposited calcite, halite, thenardite, gaylussite, burkeite and glauberite onto the lower playa. Aerosols contained silicate minerals (especially micas) and salts (including calcite, thenardite, gaylussite and halite). Playa-specific compounds were detected in the aerosol, even at a site not visually impacted by dust plumes. Anthropogenic mitigation may help alleviate playa dust storms. Reducing water diversions, legally mandated for Mono Lake, is not feasible everywhere. Most successful land rehabilitation schemes for playas have combined engineering (sand fences, flooding) and ecological (revegetation) techniques to mimic and accelerate natural processes ; this is recommended for Owens (Dry) Lake.

Mots clés : Physical Geography ; Geology ; Physics : Atmospheric Science ; Environmental Sciences


Page publiée le 28 février 2015, mise à jour le 1er janvier 2017