1U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Ariz.
3U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colo.
The arid lands surrounding USGS geologist Hiza Redsteer are typical of areas where wind is one of the major erosional forces at work. Note the sand dune behind Dr. Redsteer that is partly stabilized by vegetation. It is an irony that the buttes in the background undergoing wind erosion are composed of fossilized sand dunes nearly a quarter of a billion years old. Photograph by Klara Kelley.
The primary purpose of the Desert Winds Project (DWP) is to obtain high-resolution meteorological data and related surface geological and vegetation data for natural (e.g., uncultivated) desert sites where wind is or has been a major erosive or depositional force. The objectives are twofold: (1) to provide the detailed field measurements needed to carry out quantitative studies of wind as an agent of surface geologic change; and (2) to establish a baseline for defining the "normal" range of climatic conditions that can be expected to occur on a decadal time scale, in areas considered representative of the major American deserts. The Gold Spring locality was selected to represent that part of the Great Basin Desert that extends into northeastern Arizona. The long-term goal for acquiring and analyzing the Desert Winds Project data is to use them to address problems of land resource degradation by wind, whether resulting from climatic variation aridification or human activities (desertification), or both.
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Created: March 19, 1999
Updated: May 7, 2007 (bwr)