Soil Characterization Laboratory Projects

DRI Soil Characterization and Quaternary Pedology LaboratoryDesert soils are characterized by unique spatial and vertical distribution of properties (e.g. texture, soluble salts, organic matter, surface cover) that are critical ecosystem processes. Distribution of these properties directly impacts surface stability and controls plant growth. Desert soil cover is complex consisting of a combination of desert pavement or gravel, inorganic and/or biologic soil crusts, and widely spaced desert shrubs. Natural growth and establishment of desert plants are largely limited by the availability of soil moisture. Ongoing studies in the Mojave and Sonoran Desert strongly indicate that overall characteristics of the soil, especially soil texture and structure, directly control the response of desert plants by controlling the flux of available soil water (McAuliffe and McDonald, 1995; Hamerlynck et al., 2000, 2002; McDonald, 2002; McDonald and Caldwell, 2003a, 2003b; Shafer et al., in press). The Soil Characterization Laboratory has the responsibility of measuring and reporting the data necessary for these on-going DRI projects.

Project Highlights

The following lists a sample of the projects that the Soil Characterization Laboratory has been involved with. 

Analysis of Desert Shrubs Along First-order Channels on Desert Piedmonts: Possible Indicators of Ecosystem Health and Historic Variation 5755
Basic Research Linkages Among the Soil-Hydrologic-Biologic Systems Common to the Desert Piedmonts, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds 16096
Catalina Island Automated Climate Network 6995
Catalogue of Analogs: Identifying Terrain Similarities between the World's Deserts and the US Army's Desert Hot Weather test site, Yuma Proving Ground YPG, southwestern Arizona 7748
Geochemical and Physical Characteristics of Iraqi Dust and Soil Samples 17242
Geochemical and Physical Characteristics of Vehicle Endurance and Dust Test Courses at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground 6327
Global Military Operating Environments: Linking Natural Environments, International Security, and Military Operations (GMOE) 3190
Integrated Desert Terrain Forecasting for Military Operations (DTF) 6598
Integrated Site Design for the Restoration of Military Lands 4304
LanDPro: Army Landscape Dynamics Support Program 2389
Landscape Position and Hillslope Hydrology Associated with the Middle Ranch Hayfield Restoration 4677
Master Environmental Reference Site (MERS): Deformation and recovery of desert pavements, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground 5933
Measuring Heterogeneities of Soil Hydraulic Properties from Canopy to Interspace 16619
Remote Sensing for Mapping Near-Surface Playa Moisture 5335
Seedbed Microclimate: Modeling and Monitoring Soil Moisture in Support of the Restoration of Military Lands 5481
Soil Evaluation in Support of Estimating Carrying Capacity and Landscape Degradation at the NTC Fort Irwin, CA 4335
Uranium Oxide Soil Stabilization Study, Yuma Proving Ground, AZ 5564