Dr. Andrew Elmore, former graduate student, Dr. Kim Vest Gardner, and colleagues from the College of William and Mary and the University of California, Los Angeles, used funding from the National Science Foundation to study interactions between groundwater, soil and vegetation properties, and desert dust generation in Owens Valley, California. Wind erosion of desert soils is thought to cause irreversible change to ecosystems, and the mobilized particulate matter can seriously degrade air quality. In deserts globally, regions that produce the most dust are characterized by low elevation depressions where wind erodible material has been and continues to be deposited fluvial processes. Shallow groundwater is often pumped from these regions for agricultural and municipal use. Since water demands are rapidly increasingly in many desert regions, there is increasing need to understand how groundwater management might influence dust generation. Ideally, information could be attained that would guide groundwater management with the goal of promoting soil stability.
Publications related to this project
Kaste, JM AJ Elmore, KR Vest, and GS Okin (2016) Groundwater controls on episodic soil erosion and dust emissions in a desert ecosystem. Geology. 44:771-774.
Gutrich, J, K Gigliello, K Vest, and AJ Elmore (2016) Economic returns of groundwater management sustaining an ecosystem service of dust suppression by alkali meadow in Owens Valley, California. Ecological Economics. 121:1-11
Vest, KR, AJ Elmore, JM Kaste, GS Okin, Junran Li (2013) Estimating Total Horizontal Flux within shrub-invaded groundwater dependent meadows using empirical and mechanistic models. JGR-Earth Surface, 118:1132-1146
Kaste, JM, AJ Elmore, K Vest, GS Okin. (2011) Cosmogenic Be-7 in surface soils along an arid precipitation gradient in Owens Valley, CA. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L09401, doi:10.1029/2011GL047242
Elmore, AJ, JM Kaste, GS Okin, and MS Fantle (2008) Groundwater influences on atmospheric dust generation in deserts. Journal of Arid Environments, 72:1753-1765