Comparative geochemistry of urban and rural playas in the Southern High Plains

Autumn Acree, David C. Weindorf, Somsubhra Chakraborty, Maria Godoy

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Abstract

Playas are common natural occurrences in the Southern High Plains of Texas and act as sources of runoff in rural and urban settings and provide habitat for migratory waterfowl. Rural and urban playas in Lubbock County, TX were geochemically compared in order to optimize management for ecological functionality. Soil texture, specifically sand and clay, and organic matter concentration influenced geochemical properties such as trace element concentration, pH, and electrical conductivity. Rural playas contained more clay, organic matter, trace elements, and electrical conductivity than urban playas. Urban playas had a higher pH and roughly twice the sand content of rural playas. The prevalence of sand in urban playas likely influences groundwater recharge dynamics and potentially disqualifies these lakes as Vertisols owing to their sandy nature. The soil mineralogy between urban and rural playas were also different. Quartz and muscovite were the dominant minerals in urban and rural playas, respectively. The differing soil properties between rural and urban playas signify the necessity of unique management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1038
Number of pages11
JournalGeoderma
Volume337
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Elements
  • Geochemistry
  • Playas
  • Portable X-ray fluorescence

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