El Sistema Eólico y los Desiertos

March 27, 2006

Namib Desert, Namibia

Rising air

Figure 15.1

The rate of sand transported by wind increases exponentially with wind speed

Figure 15.2

Dust storms in the Sahara can be transported thousands of kilometers across the ocean
Figure 15.3

Typical Frosted and Well Rounded Windblown Sand

Figure 15.4

Ridge of Windblown Sand on Mars

Box 15.1

A Wind Faceted Pebble (Ventifact) from Antarctica

Figure 15.5

Deflation
The process by which strong winds gradually lowers the elevation of the ground by removing dry sand and finergrained particles.

Desert Pavement
A surface of gravel too large for wind to transport, concentrated by the selective removal of finer-grained sediment (i.e., a deflation lag)

Shallow Deflation Hollow

Figure 15.6

One Theory for the Formation of Desert Pavement

Figure 15.7

Windblown dust is trapped between exposed pebbles at the surface

A mix of coarse and fine particles is trapped between larger pebbles at the surface

Figure 15.7

Rainwater causes the fine sediment to infiltrate beneath the gravel

Microbes living beneath the gravel produce bubbles which help to lift the pebbles

Figure 15.7

Constant thickness increased thickness

A continuous supply of windblown dust makes the deposit increase in thickness

Figure 15.7

Desert Pavement in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona

Figure 15.7

Dunes and Saltation
• Saltation – movement of sand grains by strong winds.
– Grains seldom get far above the ground.

Satellite image of the southern Arabian Peninsula Figure 15.8

Small, linear wind ripples form at right angles to the wind

Dominant wind direction
Figure 15.9

Figure 15.10

Figure 15.10

Figure 15.10

Embryonic dunes forming on the lee-side of vegetation
Figure 15.10

Sand Dune Formation Depends on Wind Velocity and Amount of Sand

Erosion on the upwind (windward) side of dunes and deposition on the downwind (leeward) side of the dunes results in downwind migration of dunes
Figure 15.11

Figure 15.11

Figure 15.11

Figure 15.11

Dunes cease to grow when the streamlines become so strong that sand cannot accumulate at the crest of the dune.

Figure 15.11

Types of Dunes

Barchan

Blowout (Parabolic)

Transverse

Linear
Figure 15.12

Barchan Dunes

Products of moderate sand supply and unidirectional winds
Figure 15.12

Transverse Dunes

Products of large sand supply and unidirectional winds
Figure 15.12

Blowout (Parabolic) Dunes

Products of small sand supply and unidirectional winds
Figure 15.12

Linear Dunes

Products of moderate sand supply and generally unidirectional winds
Figure 15.12

Algodones sand dunes, near Yuma, AZ.

Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, CO.

Anatomy of a sand dune

Dust storms
• Dust cloud approaching Lubbock, TX in October 1983.

MINERAL DUST PASSING OVER LAND.

Mark! Highly Non- Spherical Shapes!

Dust Storms

Dust crossing the ocean
• Dust over the Atlantic Ocean from February 2000 Saharan dust storm.

How much dust in the air?
• Dr. Péwé once measured the amount of dust deposited in his Tempe backyard over 1 year. 54 grams/m2/yr, most was from the 3-5 dust storms per season. This rate is equivalent to 110 pounds/sq.ft./10ka.
– Dust can be an important sediment source – Dust has to come from somewhere!

• From Desert Dust, 1981, Troy L. Péwé, ed.

Loess
• Loess – wind deposited dust, predominantly silt size. • Strong winds blew off the ice sheet, reworking glacial outwash deposits.
– An important agricultural resource, loess is productive soil.

Loess (Windblown Dust) with Characteristic Vertical Cracks
Figure 15.13

Caves carved into loess cliffs in central China. The loess formed over the past 2.5 million years and is up to 400 m thick.

Figure 15.14

Wind-blown volcanic ash
• Distribution of ash from the May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

Major Desert Areas of the World

Figure 15.15

Desert Weathering is Characterized By:
• a dominance of physical weathering • minimal chemical weathering, consisting mainly of oxidation of mafic minerals • formation of desert varnish: a weathering veneer formed of a mixture of clays and smaller amounts of iron and manganese oxides.

Oxidation of mafic minerals results in the formation of iron oxides and the typical reds and browns of a desert landscape

Figure 7.8

Petroglyphs scratched in desert varnish
Figure 15.16

“dry-wash” during flash flood

Figure 15.17

“dry-wash” after flash flood

Figure 15.17

Desert Playa Lake

Figure 15.18

Figure 15.19

Figure 15.20

Figure 15.20

Figure 15.20

Figure 15.20

Cima Dome: A pediment in the Mojave Desert

Figure 15.21

Deserts and plate tectonics
• Plates move a continent in and out of a location that could be a desert over geologic time; e.g. Australia; • Mountain building events create some 50% of the modern deserts because of rain shadow; e.g China.

Formation of Rain Shadow Deserts

Moisture laden winds come onshore.

Figure 13.3

Formation of Rain Shadow Deserts
Moist airmass rise and cool, causing precipitation…

Moisture laden winds come onshore.

Figure 13.3

Formation of Rain Shadow Deserts
Moist airmass rise and cool, causing precipitation… …resulting in a rainy windward slope.

Moisture laden winds come onshore

Figure 13.3

Formation of Rain Shadow Deserts
Moist airmass rise and cool, causing precipitation… …resulting in a rainy windward slope Moisturedepleted airmass sink and warm, reducing relative humidity…

Moisture laden winds come onshore

Figure 13.3

Formation of Rain Shadow Deserts
Moist airmass rise and cool, causing precipitation… …resulting in a rainy windward slope Moisturedepleted airmass sink and warm, reducing relative humidity…

Moisture laden winds come onshore

…forming a rain shadow on the leeward side of the mountains.
Figure 13.3

LOS Aerosoles
Reduce/Increase GHGʼs Warming, Affect Cloud and Rain, Interfere with Remote Sensing of EAS, Active in Atmospheric Chemistry, Supply Minerals to Ocean Biosphere, Affect Well- Being of Organisms on both Land and Sea: Contain Spores, Microbes and Viruses, Acids and other stuff.

Atmospheric Aerosols: A Practical Definition

The ensemble of all liquid/solid systems suspended in the atmosphere, except water/ ice clouds.

Water and Ice clouds are conventionally excluded because of their tight involvement with the hydrological cycle, short lifetimes and involvement in long- range latent energy transport.

Main Types of Aerosols
Continental/ Desert Aerosols Marine Aerosols Industrial Aerosols Volcanic Aerosols Organic Forest Hazes Smoke/Biomass Burning Aerosols Stratospheric Aerosols

Average Residence Time, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!seconds

10

8

Jaenicke, 1980

107 106 105 104

Tropopause

Middle Troposphere

1 Day
Below 1.5 km

1000 100

10 0.0001 0.001 0.01

0.1

1

10

100

1000

Radius, micrometer