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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS THAT PREVENT WIND EROSION AND ENHANCE THE ENVIRONMENT Title: Using Rare Earth Element (REE) tracers to identify perferential micro-sites of post-fire aeolian erosion

Authors
item Van Pelt, Robert
item Zobeck, Teddy
item Barnes, Melanie -
item Baddock, Matthew -
item D'Odorico, Paolo -

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 5, 2011
Publication Date: December 9, 2011
Citation: Van Pelt, R.S., Zobeck, T.M., Barnes, M., Baddock, M., D'Odorico, P. 2011. Using Rare Earth Element (REE) tracers to identify perferential micro-sites of post-fire aeolian erosion[abstract]. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. December 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, California.

Technical Abstract: Plant communities in desert environments are spatially anisotropic. We applied Rare Earth Element (REE) tracers to different landscape positions of an anisotropic Northern Chihuahua Desert ecosystem in an effort to study preferential sediment source areas. We delineated three 0.5 m by 6 m plots of desert grassland and three plots of desert grassland-shrubland ecotone. Eu was applied to bare surfaces between vegetation, Pr was applied under grass clumps, and Dy was applied under Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata (DC.). The area containing the plots was burned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel on April 14, 2010. Three grassland plots and three grassland-shrubland ecotone plots were tested by placing a portable boundary layer field wind tunnel over the plots and blowing them with 12 m/s wind for 10 minutes followed by a 30 minute test in which clean quartz sand abrader was added to the wind tunnel flow and a second test of 10 minutes with abrader added to the flow. Three paired aeolian sediment samples were collected for each plot tested. The results indicated that in desert grassland, a disproportionate amount of the post-fire sediment is entrained from areas under grass clumps and in grassland-shrubland ecotones, the soil under shrubs is the primary source of entrained sediment followed by areas under grass clumps. REEs appear to be a powerful tool for investigating spatial patterns of aeolian processes.Plant communities in desert environments are spatially anisotropic. We applied Rare Earth Element (REE) tracers to different landscape positions of an anisotropic Northern Chihuahua Desert ecosystem in an effort to study preferential sediment source areas. We delineated three 0.5 m by 6 m plots of desert grassland and three plots of desert grassland-shrubland ecotone. Eu was applied to bare surfaces between vegetation, Pr was applied under grass clumps, and Dy was applied under Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata (DC.). The area containing the plots was burned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel on April 14, 2010. Three grassland plots and three grassland-shrubland ecotone plots were tested by placing a portable boundary layer field wind tunnel over the plots and blowing them with 12 m/s wind for 10 minutes followed by a 30 minute test in which clean quartz sand abrader was added to the wind tunnel flow and a second test of 10 minutes with abrader added to the flow. Three paired aeolian sediment samples were collected for each plot tested. The results indicated that in desert grassland, a disproportionate amount of the post-fire sediment is entrained from areas under grass clumps and in grassland-shrubland ecotones, the soil under shrubs is the primary source of entrained sediment followed by areas under grass clumps. REEs appear to be a powerful tool for investigating spatial patterns of aeolian processes.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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