Abstract

Thick eolian deposits are commonly observed beneath desert pavements downwind of dust-emitting playas. These deposits play an important role in piedmont-surface evolution, controlling surface hydrologic conductivity and rates of pedogenesis. To better understand the factors controlling the spatial distribution of eolian deposition, we developed a numerical model that treats deposition from spatially distributed playa sources using analytic point-source solutions for deposition from a Gaussian plume. The model also accounts for complex downwind topography. As a test case, model predictions were compared to eolian deposit thicknesses on Eagle Mountain piedmont, southern Amargosa Valley, California, which receives dust from nearby Franklin Lake playa. The close relationship between the model predictions and mapped thicknesses suggests that eolian transport and deposition can be modeled from basin to regional scales within this framework. These results have important implications for hydrologic, pedogenic, and air-quality problems.

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