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Soil Strength Analysis of Sonoran Desert Landforms

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ERDC HANOVER United States

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Connecting landforms to soil strength parameters can enable the prediction of soil bearing capacity and shear strength important information for mobility and dust emission modeling. This project aimed to relate soil strength metrics to geomorphic landforms, focusing on five alluvial and aeolian landform classes in the Sonoran Desert. To achieve this, a variety of soil strength, dust emission, and soil texture measurements were made at 47 sites in California and Arizona and these data were compared with landform classifications. Measurements of soil bearing capacity and shear strength varied significantly between landform classes. The aeolian landforms had significantly lower bearing capacity and shear strength than the alluvial landforms. The alluvial fan landform demonstrated consistently high soil strength, whereas the alluvial plain landform had relatively high mean soil strength but extreme site variability. The aeolian landforms were dominated by sand, whereas the alluvial landforms presented variable particle size distributions extending into loam and silt-loam classes. Silt and clay content were positively correlated with soil strength across all sites, while sand content was negatively correlated. Only the near-surface soil strength measures from the pocket penetrometer, Torvane, and vane shear correlated with dust emission flux and susceptibility.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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