Alexandria Digital Research Library

Incorporation of salt-rich dust from Owens Lake playa in soils along the Sierra Nevada piedmont: Soil properties, and ionic and isotopic ratios as provenance tracers

Author:
Quick, Dayna Jamal
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Geography
Degree Supervisor:
Oliver A. Chadwick
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2012
Issued Date:
2012
Topics:
Agriculture, Soil Science, Physical Geography, and Geochemistry
Keywords:
Playa
Aeolian
Soil
Salts
Strontium
Sodium
Genres:
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Dissertation:
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012
Description:

Global anthropogenic desiccation of lake basins in arid and semi-arid areas result in substantial increases in the flux of aeolian material. In California, Owens Lake playa has produced a tremendous amount of windblown dust since its desiccation in the early 20th century. In view of the potential danger to human health of the dust blowing off the playa, the chemistry and mineralogy of playa sediments and dust are well known. By contrast, the impact of the dust on surrounding soils and ecosystems in Owens Valley has been less well studied. This dissertation documents the accumulation of dust-derived salts from Owens Lake playa in nearby alluvial soils sourced from Sierra Nevada granite. I evaluate patterns of electrical conductivity (EC), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), and pH as proxies of salt incorporation with respect to depth in the soil profiles and with distance from the playa.

I use two different approaches to determine whether salts measured in soils are derived from playa dust: arsenic (As) and ionic ratios of sodium (Na), lithium (Li), and calcium (Ca) to other major soil cations; and Sr isotopic ratios of 87Sr/86Sr. These are the first data to document the fate of Owens Lake playa dust in surrounding alluvial soils. Results indicate that playa dust is the source of salt levels found in soils more than 20 km away. More importantly, soils in direct proximity of the playa show a significant impact from playa-derived salt input. Based on extremely elevated salt levels in soils on the playa side of the nearby Alabama Hills, topography and variable wind-flow directions have important effects on sites downwind of dust sources; and these factors may be more important than mere distance from the playa in influencing the impact of salt-rich dust on soils along the Sierra Nevada alluvial piedmont.

An evaluation of the severity of the impact of the playa dust on soils is a critical step toward assessing management decisions related to Owens Lake playa as well as many other lake basins that are rapidly desiccating under human influence.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (150 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f3qr4v2n
ISBN:
9781267649256
Catalog System Number:
990038915810203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Dayna Quick
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