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01.10.2011 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2011

Environmental Earth Sciences 4/2011

The significance of Gobi desert surfaces for dust emissions in China: an experimental study

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 4/2011
Autoren:
Xunming Wang, Caixia Zhang, Hongtao Wang, Guangqiang Qian, Wanyin Luo, Junfeng Lu, Li Wang

Abstract

A series of experiments to determine the direct emission of dust-sized particles from Gobi surfaces by clean wind (wind without sand), and the potential for aeolian abrasion of Gobi surfaces and beds of gravel and mobile sand to produce fine (<100 μm) and dust-sized (<10 μm, PM10) particles under sand-laden winds were conducted. Parent material was obtained from Gobi areas of the Ala Shan Plateau, the region with high dust emissions in arid China. The fine particles produced by aeolian processes were collected using sand traps and sieved the captured materials to exclude particles >100 μm in diameter and then PM10 by sedimentation was acquired. The Gobi surface provided most of the emitted fine particles during the initial dust emission processes, but subsequently, release of the clay coatings of particles by abrasion becomes the dominant source of fine materials. Under sand-laden winds, PM10 production rates produced by aeolian abrasion of Gobi surfaces ranged between 0.002 and 0.244% of blown materials. After removal of sand, silt, or clay with low resistance to erosion from the Gobi surfaces by the wind, the PM10 production rates caused by aeolian abrasion were similar to those from gravel and sand beds. The results also indicated that after the dust-sized particles with low resistance to erosion were removed, the production of dust-sized particles was unrelated to wind velocity. Under aeolian processes, Gobi deserts in this region therefore play a major role in dust emissions from arid and semiarid China.

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