Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pedogenesis of Vesicular Horizons in Disturbed Soils.

Maureen Yonovitz and Patrick Drohan. UNLV, 4505 Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4010

Increasing desertification and anthropogenic soil disturbance is of growing concern to restoration ecologists in the Southwestern United States.  This study examines how a common soil horizon of arid lands, the vesicular horizon, responds to disturbances.  The vesicular horizon is typically composed of fine grained windblown material that could be potentially hazardous if disturbed; resulting dust emitted into the air adds to respiratory health and environmental problems in arid regions.  We hypothesize that the re-formation of vesicular horizon porosity in disturbed soils is affected by their prior (undisturbed) physical and chemical characteristics.  This research presents results reflecting differences in vesicle re-formation due to particle size, calcium carbonate content, mineralogy (XRD) and pore micromorphology (SEM).  In addition, results of compositional and morphological differences between disturbed and undisturbed vesicles are presented.