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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #285641


Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Potential dust production from wind-erodible soils on the Southern High Plains and Chihuahuan Desert: preliminary figures

item Lee, Jeffrey
item Zobeck, Teddy - Ted
item Gill, Thomas
item Peinado, Porfirio

Submitted to: Association of American Geographers
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/24/2012
Publication Date: 2/28/2012
Citation: Lee, J.A., Zobeck, T.M., Gill, T.E., Peinado, P. 2012. Potential dust production from wind-erodible soils on the Southern High Plains and Chihuahuan Desert: preliminary figures[abstract]. Association of American Geographers. February 24-28, 2012. New York, New York.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Blowing Dust is a common occurrence on the Southern High Plains of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico and the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico, Far West Texas, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico. We collected sixty two surface soil samples from locations identified on satellite imagery as producing windblown dust and estimated the potential for dust production of each in the laboratory using a “dust generator” that abrades the soil and measures the amount of dust produced. Relative potential dust production (RPDP) was measured using a DataRam dust particle sampler. We also measured soil properties, including texture (various sand sizes, silt, and clay), calcium carbonate content (CaCO3) and percent organic carbon. The data on relative dust production were then compared with the measured soil properties. RPDP was correlated with % silt (r2= 0.34, p<0.0001), % silt plus clay (0.39, P<0.0001), % sand (0.39, p=<0.0001), % CaCO3 (0.28, p=<0.01) and % organic carbon (0.08, p=< 0.01). The positive correlation of RPDP with silt, clay, and calcium carbonate agrees with previous studies from the same region. Multiple linear regression showed that the RPDP decreased with organic carbon content and increased with silt plus clay (or decreasing sand content) and CaCO3 content according to the equation: RPDP = 37.98- 157.24*OC + 85.73(SI+CL) + 194.69*CaCO3. Since the samples were all loamy to sandy soils, increasing sand content with decreasing RPDP suggests that above a minimum sand content, the most dust may be emitted from soils with a mixture of grain sizes. Calcium carbonate is directly correlated with RPDP possibly because it acts similarly to silt particles; CaCO3 does not act to bind particles as some assume. The poor correlation of RPDP with organic matter may be due to the low OM values in all of the samples. These results help confirm the relationship between mapped and measured soil properties and dust source areas as determined from remote sensing and geomorphology, which are in turn being used to improve numerical modeling of wind erosion and dust transport.