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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Continuous Monitoring of Saltation Activity at a Salt Lake Within the Southern High Plains

item Stout, John

Submitted to: Proceedings International Geological Correlation Programme Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 24, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The Southern High Plains, located in northwestern Texas and far eastern New Mexico, is often described as a tableland a flat, elevated region with a surface area of around 78,000 square kilometers. Spaced across this vast and otherwise featureless plain are approximately 20 large saline basins containing irregularly shaped salt lakes. Yellow Lake, located on the Yellow House Ranch west of Anton, Texas, is a typical High Plains salt lake. Measuring 4.4 km in length by 0.9 km wide, the lakebed covers a total area of approximately 3.5 square kilometers. Maximum water depth rarely exceeds 50 cm and it often dries out completely for extended periods during which time the lakebed is subject to aeolian deflation. This paper represents the first report of a multi-year study of saltation activity at Yellow Lake using fast-response piezoelectric saltation sensors. Since saltation activity is often associated with dust emissions, the saltation record also provides information regarding seasonal patterns of dust emissions from the Yellow House Basin. The results indicate that saltation activity and dust emissions are maximum during winter when precipitation is minimum and the lakebed is stable during spring when precipitation is more plentiful. This contrasts sharply with the surrounding agricultural lands which tend to be most active during spring.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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