2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Soluble Salt Concentrations of Arroyo Walls in Desert Pavement Landscapes, Mojave Desert, California

LYBRAND, Rebecca A., GRAHAM, Robert C. and PARKER, David R., Soil and Water Sciences Program, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, rlybr001@student.ucr.edu

High soluble salt concentrations have been identified in subsoils of the arid southwestern United States, particularly those under desert pavements. These landscapes are frequently incised by arroyos. We hypothesized that soluble salt concentrations would be highest on the evaporative surfaces of vertically sloped arroyo walls and lower on more gradually sloping arroyo wall surfaces. Samples were collected from arroyos in desert pavement landscapes in the Mojave Desert. Preliminary analyses revealed that soluble salt concentrations in the material from arroyo walls are variable. The distribution of soluble salts may reflect a balance among infiltration and leaching which prevails on gradual slopes, evaporative concentration on vertical walls, and erosional losses, which are most prevalent from steep walls. Some arroyo walls are readily eroded by water and wind, leading to redistribution of salts within the desert environment.