Matching Items (7)

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Evidence of Equifinality in Tafoni Genesis

Description

Backscattered electron microscopy, in tandem with energy dispersive X-ray analysis, reveals evidence that multiple processes work in tandem to generate tafoni development in Oman, Papago Park and Picketpost Mountain, AZ.

Backscattered electron microscopy, in tandem with energy dispersive X-ray analysis, reveals evidence that multiple processes work in tandem to generate tafoni development in Oman, Papago Park and Picketpost Mountain, AZ. Carbonate precipitation into Papago Park sedimentary breccia wedges apart the host rock, and then dissolves to leave behind uncemented fragments. Oman tafoni also show evidence of carbonate precipitation as a wedging agent, in addition to dissolution of the host carbonate rock and a possible role for organics that occupy some pore spaces. Tafoni in Picketpost Mountain welded tuff displays evidence of multiple processes including: dissolution of glassy groundmass; biotite splitting surrounding minerals; reprecipitation of a variant of silica glaze; and erosion of the tuff after the rock weakens sufficiently. All three sites have in common the synergism of chemical and physical processes operating at the micron scale, where dissolution opens space for physical wedging to operate by carbonate precipitation and biotite splitting. The execution of multiple processes to generate a common form supports the idea of equifinality in tafoni formation.

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  • 2015-12

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Implementing rapid assessment of the trail environments of arid regions: indicator development and implementation scenarios

Description

As part of the effort to streamline management efforts in protected areas worldwide and assist accountability reporting, new techniques to help guide conservation goals and monitor progress are needed. Rapid

As part of the effort to streamline management efforts in protected areas worldwide and assist accountability reporting, new techniques to help guide conservation goals and monitor progress are needed. Rapid assessment is recognized as a field-level data collection technique, but each rapid assessment index is limited to only the ecoregion for which it is designed. This dissertation contributes to the existing bodies of conservation monitoring and tourism management literature in four ways: (i.) Indicators are developed for rapid assessment in arid and semi-arid regions, and the processes by which new indicators should be developed is explained; (ii.) Interpolation of surveyed data is explored as a step in the analysis process of a dataset collected through rapid assessment; (iii.) Viewshed is used to explore differences in impacts at two study sites and its underutilization in this context of conservation management is explored; and (iv.) A crowdsourcing tool to distribute the effort of monitoring trail areas is developed and deployed, and the results are used to explore this data collection's usefulness as a management tool.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

Turbulence, sediment transport, erosion, and sandbar beach failure processes in Grand Canyon

Description

This research examines lateral separation zones and sand bar slope stability using two methods: a parallelized turbulence resolving model and full-scale laboratory experiments. Lateral flow separation occurs in rivers where

This research examines lateral separation zones and sand bar slope stability using two methods: a parallelized turbulence resolving model and full-scale laboratory experiments. Lateral flow separation occurs in rivers where banks exhibit strong curvature, for instance canyon rivers, sharp meanders and river confluences. In the Colorado River, downstream Glen Canyon Dam, lateral separation zones are the principal storage of sandbars. Maximum ramp rates have been imposed to Glen Canyon Dam operation to minimize mass loss of sandbars. Assessment of the effect of restricting maximum ramp rates in bar stability is conducted using multiple laboratory experiments. Results reveal that steep sandbar faces would rapidly erode by mass failure and seepage erosion to stable slopes, regardless of dam discharge ramp rates. Thus, continued erosion of sand bars depends primarily of turbulent flow and waves. A parallelized, three-dimensional, turbulence resolving model is developed to study flow structures in two lateral separation zones located along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The model employs a Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) technique where variables larger than the grid scale are fully resolved, while Sub-Grid-Scale (SGS) variables are modeled. The DES-3D model is validated using ADCP flow measurements and skill metric scores show predictive capabilities of simulated flow. The model reproduces the patterns and magnitudes of flow velocity in lateral recirculation zones, including size and position of primary and secondary eddy cells and return current. Turbulence structures with a predominately vertical axis of vorticity are observed in the shear layer, becoming three-dimensional without preferred orientation downstream. The DES-3D model is coupled with a sediment advection-diffusion formulation, wherein advection is provided by the DES velocity field minus particles settling velocity, and diffusion is provided by the SGS. Results show a lateral recirculation zone having a continuous export and import of sediment from and to the main channel following a pattern of high frequency pulsations of positive deposition fluxes. These high frequency pulsations play an important role to prevent an oversupply of sediment within the lateral separation zones. Improved predictive capabilities are achieved with this model when compared with previous two- and three-dimensional quasi steady and steady models.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle Activity on Land Cover Change and Dune Dynamics: Algodones Dunes, California

Description

Use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) in natural landscapes is a popular outdoor activity around the world. Rapid-growing OHV activity causes impacts on vegetation and land cover within these landscapes and

Use of off-highway vehicles (OHV) in natural landscapes is a popular outdoor activity around the world. Rapid-growing OHV activity causes impacts on vegetation and land cover within these landscapes and can be an important factor in land degradation and ecosystem change. The Algodones Dunes in southeastern California is one of the largest inland sand dune complexes in the United States and hosts many endangered species. This study examines changes in land cover and OHV activity within two OHV active sites in comparison to an adjoined protected area. The study also investigates potential associations between land cover changes, climate trends, and OHV activity over recent decades. Time-series analysis was used to investigate the spatial-temporal changes and trends in the land cover in the Algodones Dunes from 2001 to 2016. In addition, high-resolution aerial photographs were analyzed to determine spatial patterns of OHV usage in comparison to visitor estimation collected by the Bureau of Land Management and observed changes in land cover composition between the control site and OHVs areas.

A decreasing trend in Normalized Difference Vegetation Index over time indicates a decline in the amount of vegetation cover, which corresponds with an increasing trend in albedo and land surface temperature. Results also show a substantial difference in land cover between the control site and OHVs areas, which typically have a lower amount of vegetation cover, higher exposed sand surface, and increased anthropogenic features. Both climatic variations and OHV activity are statistically associated with land cover change in the dune field, although distinct causal mechanisms for the observed declines in vegetation cover could not be separated. The persistence of drought could inhibit vegetation growth and germination that, in turn, would hinder vegetation recovery in OHV areas. Meanwhile, repeated OHV driving has direct physical impacts on vegetation and landscape morphology, such as canopy destruction, root exposure, and increased aeolian sand transport. Active ecosystem protection and restoration is recommended to mitigate the response of declining vegetation cover and habitat loss to the impacts of OHV activity and climatic variability and allow natural recovery of re-establishement of nebkha dune ecosystems in the Algodones Dunes.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Analysis of the spatial thinking of college students in traditional and web-facilitated introductory geography courses using aerial photography and geo-visualization technology

Description

Recent advances in geo-visualization technologies, such as Google Earth, have the potential to enhance spatial thinking. Google Earth is especially suited to teaching landforms and geomorphological processes in traditional,

Recent advances in geo-visualization technologies, such as Google Earth, have the potential to enhance spatial thinking. Google Earth is especially suited to teaching landforms and geomorphological processes in traditional, online, or hybrid college classroom settings. The excitement for the technology as a learning tool, however, must be tempered by the need to develop sound and supportive pedagogies. A fundamental gap in the geoscience education literature exists because learning experiences with Google Earth, from the perspective of the student, are not completely understood. This dissertation analyzes three case studies in college introductory physical geography (Chapters 2 and 4) and teacher education (Chapter 3) courses at Arizona State University where students completed an online (Chapter 2 and 3) laboratory that used Google Earth as the main tool for landform identification and interpretation, and a hardcopy laboratory and in-field exercise (Chapter 4) that compared Google Earth oblique with traditional stereopair air photo and planimetric perspectives. Gauging student performance in these tasks, along with their formative and summative opinions for `what it was like to learn this way', provide information as part of a feedback loop to develop and improve instructional scaffolding and best practices so that the focus remains on the content-to-be-learned and not the tool. These case studies show that, in general, prior use of Google Earth is usually not a limiting factor; multiple perspectives and supplemental visualizations of landforms with Google Earth's may enhance the learning experience; the hands-on nature of structured Google Earth exploration in these labs are virtual field trips that increase enjoyment and fit within a learner-centered curriculum; scaffolding landform-learning exercises for aspiring elementary school teachers linked to children's literature assists the development of content knowledge for teaching physical geography and spatial thinking; and, finally, despite a virtual globe's high-quality visualizations and promising potential for learning, there is still a role for stereopair images in the geomorphology classroom.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Anthropocene in the geomorphology of the Sonoran Desert

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Human endeavors move 7x more volume of earth than the world’s rivers accelerating the removal of Earth’s soil surface. Measuring anthropogenic acceleration of soil erosion requires knowledge of natural rates

Human endeavors move 7x more volume of earth than the world’s rivers accelerating the removal of Earth’s soil surface. Measuring anthropogenic acceleration of soil erosion requires knowledge of natural rates through the study of 10Be, but same-watershed comparisons between anthropogenically-accelerated and natural erosion rates do not exist for urbanizing watersheds. Here I show that urban sprawl from 1989 to 2013 accelerated soil erosion between 1.3x and 15x above natural rates for different urbanizing watersheds in the metropolitan Phoenix region, Sonoran Desert, USA, and that statistical modeling a century of urban sprawl indicates an acceleration of only 2.7x for the Phoenix region. Based on studies of urbanization’s erosive effects, and studies comparing other land-use changes to natural erosion rates, we expected a greater degree of urban acceleration. Given that continued urban expansion will add a new city of a million every five days until 2050, given the potential importance of urban soils for absorbing anthropogenically-released carbon, and given the role of urban-sourced pollution, quantifying urbanization’s acceleration of natural erosion in other urban settings could reveal important regional patterns. For example, a comparison of urban watersheds to nearby non-urban watersheds suggests that the Phoenix case study is on the low-end of the urban acceleration factor. This new insight into the urban acceleration of soil erosion in metropolitan Phoenix can help reduce the acute risk of flooding for many rapidly urbanizing desert cities around the globe. To reduce this risk, properly engineered Flood Control Structures must account for sediment accumulation as well as flood waters. While the Phoenix area used regional data from non-urban, non-desert watersheds to generate sediment yield rates, this research presents a new analysis of empirical data for the Phoenix metropolitan region, where two regression models provide estimates of a more realistic sediment accumulation for arid regions and also urbanization of a desert cities. The new model can be used to predict the realistic sediment accumulation for helping provide data where few data exists in parts of arid Africa, southwest Asia, and India.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Gnamma pit growth and paleowind intensity in the Sonoran Desert: insights from wind tunnel experiments and numerical modeling

Description

Gnamma pit is an Australian aboriginal term for weathering pit. A mix of weathering and aeolian processes controls the formation of gnamma pits. There is a potential to utilize gnamma

Gnamma pit is an Australian aboriginal term for weathering pit. A mix of weathering and aeolian processes controls the formation of gnamma pits. There is a potential to utilize gnamma as an indicator of paleowind intensity because gnamma growth is promoted by the removal of particles from gnamma pits by wind, a process referred to as deflation. Wind tunnel tests determining the wind velocity threshold of deflation over a range of pit dimensions and particles sizes are conducted. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling utilizing the Re-Normalisation Group (RNG) K-Epsilon turbulence closure is used to investigate the distribution of wall shear stress and turbulent kinetic energy. An empirical equation is proposed to estimate shear stress as a function of the wind velocity and pit depth dimensions. With this equation and Shields Diagram, the wind velocity threshold for evacuating particles in the pit can be estimated by measuring the pit depth ratio and particle size. It is expected that the pit would continue to grow until this threshold is reached. The wind speed deflation threshold is smaller in the wind tunnel than predicted by the CFD and Shields diagram model. This discrepancy may be explained by the large turbulent kinetic energy in the gnamma pit as predicted by the CFD model as compared to the flat bed experiments used to define the Shields diagram. An empirical regression equation of the wind tunnel data is developed to estimate paleowind maximums.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015