Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2022, Vol. 14 ›› Issue (1): 43-53.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2022.21021.

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Simulating the effect of wind erosion on aeolian desertification process of Horqin sandy land and its significance on material cycle: a wind tunnel study

CaiXia Zhang1(),JinChang Li2   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
    2.Shanxi Laboratory for Yellow River, Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030006, China
  • Received:2021-04-14 Accepted:2021-08-27 Online:2022-02-28 Published:2022-03-03
  • Contact: CaiXia Zhang
  • Supported by:
    the National Key R&D Program of China(2020YFA0608404);a grant from the National Nature Science Foundation of China(41101006);the Project of the Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Chinese Academy of Sciences(KLDD-2019-008)


Samples from the Horqin sandy land were exposed to a series of wind velocities, and sink particles were collected at the end of the diffusion section of a wind tunnel. Grain sizes of collected samples show great variation because of the granularity difference of the surface samples. The original samples show lower average content of SiO2 and higher average content of Al2O3, Fe2O3, MgO, CaO, Na2O, and K2O than collected samples. Compared with other dust source areas in China, the Horqin sandy land had higher content of Zr, Ba, SiO2, Al2O3 and K2O. Compared with the average upper continental crust (UCC) composition, surface samples were rich in the content of Y, Zr, Nb, Ba, La, Nd. Geochemistry characteristics of fine grain components of the Horqin sandy land differ from those from other dust source regions, because fine-grained particles in the Horqin sandy land were mostly derived from various local deposits formed in its unique depositional environments influenced by several tectonic activities.

Key words: sink sand, wind erosion, aeolian process, Horqin sandy land

Figure 1

Land use patterns of the Horqin sandy land and sampling sites in the study area (The land use pattern is based on data provided by the Environment and Ecological Science Data Center for West China)"

Figure 2

The arrangement of the wind tunnel experiment"

Figure 3

Frequency distribution of original samples and sink sand samples"

Table 1

The grain size variation of sink and original samples"

ItemClay(<3.9)Fine silt(3.9,31)Coarse silt(31,63)Very fine sand(63,125)Fine sand(125,250)Medium sand(250,500)Coarse sand(>500)Φ(Mz)
Ave. of original samples1.212.133.1913.4539.6132.312.232.17
Ave. of sink samples0.771.291.2312.0043.4333.032.382.26

Table 2

Major elements variation of sink and original samples"

Avg. of original samples85.527.900.890.240.671.482.82
Avg. of sink samples86.427.490.770.200.581.372.75

Figure 4

Ternary relationships between Fe/Al, Mg/Al and Ca/Al for original and sink sand samples"

Table 3

The minor elements variation of sink and original samples"

Avg. of original samples159.31,
Avg. of sink samples196.81,020.013.411.2135.829.
Avg. of original samples87.7127.88.9173.15.4589.520.290.511.8
Avg. of sink samples82.9117.48.1131.74.6586.

Table 4

The major elements variation of sink and original samples"

K11.1>63 μm83.118.681.040.260.711.683.05
K11.1<63 μm59.3912.382.651.061.822.202.46
K11.2>63 μm81.779.
K11.2<63 μm59.8712.362.270.981.642.232.57
K11.4>63 μm82.739.040.850.230.701.813.23
K11.4<63 μm57.8011.932.620.931.952.302.42
K4.5>63 μm76.9110.141.890.642.452.042.97
K4.5<63 μm57.2312.332.511.433.842.252.39
K5.5<63 μm62.1912.041.850.921.292.412.60
K5.5>63 μm89.466.230.560.120.311.042.44
K6.1>63 μm90.045.980.520.120.290.972.32
K6.1<63 μm62.5212.192.110.981.432.492.57
K6.3>63 μm90.685.790.480.100.230.952.25
K6.3<63 μm63.2012.392.260.981.382.502.56
Ave. of original samples84.618.120.960.270.821.522.85
Ave. of >63 μm84.967.860.910.250.771.472.77
Ave. of <63 μm60.3112.232.321.041.912.342.51

Table 5

The minor elements of different parts of sink samples (to be continued:)"

K11.1>63 μm220.61,454.320.413.7195.616.332.05.810.46.6
K11.1<63 μm504.16,179.360.966.3503.08.612.
K11.2>63 μm165.21,340.524.010.7186.913.515.
K11.2<63 μm420.15,414.155.451.3460.48.512.
K11.4>63 μm178.11,121.318.09.2152.516.523.24.410.45.6
K11.4<63 μm438.38,355.364.781.5633.79.110.2/6.37.0
K4.5>63 μm332.92,098.839.824.5313.
K4.5<63 μm628.94,002.356.255.5443.78.714.
K5.5<63 μm545.53,309.139.036.1353.
K5.5>63 μm215.8723.37.18.598.217.743.
K6.1>63 μm226.5610.47.88.385.316.842.
K6.1<63 μm678.43,418.641.138.1369.
K6.3>63 μm266.4560.
K6.3<63 μm623.53,971.848.551.5387.

Ave. of original


Ave. of >63 μm229.31,129.817.612.0158.215.333.
Ave. of <63 μm548.44,950.152.254.3450.28.5010.
K11.1>63 μm97.7137.410.7198.95.9596.
K11.1<63 μm93.0216.638.11845.117.6567.758.460.932.4
K11.2>63 μm98.3134.79.7164.65.3602.513.155.16.5
K11.2<63 μm102.8236.740.42061.521.5587.945.939.328.0
K11.4>63 μm99.9134.57.9124.64.7621.816.657.24.5
K11.4<63 μm93.7222.247.32684.123.0547.455.658.540.8
K4.5>63 μm98.6192.613.7214.17.0655.021.558.313.7
K4.5<63 μm89.9236.021.9657.610.9593.537.158.619.2
K5.5<63 μm87.8193.119.3711.78.9612.425.355.119.0
K5.5>63 μm74.4101.
K6.1>63 μm70.493.
K6.1<63 μm84.3182.416.4357.37.5610.629.441.715.6
K6.3>63 μm68.088.25.954.64.1521.612.020.77.0
K6.3<63 μm73.0164.516.4365.76.8601.026.456.215.9

Ave. of original


Ave. of >63 μm86.7126.18.8130.94.9585.015.649.46.8
Ave. of <63 μm89.2207.428.61240.413.8588.739.752.924.4

Table 6

The geochemistry characteristics of the fine-grained component from different potential dust source areas of China. Data of other regions were derived from Wang et al. (2018)"

RegionNorthern Qinghai-Tibet PlateauTarim BasinTurpan-Hami BasinHexi CorridorAla Shan PlateauHorqin sandy landMeanUpper crust

Figure 5

Ternary relationships between Fe/Al, Mg/Al and Ca/Al for different dust source regions of China"

Figure 6

The scatter distribution of Rb/Sr and Ba/Sr for different dust source regions of China"

Figure 7

Variation of annual mean maximum wind velocity and the annual mean wind velocity in Jarud Banner and Balin Left Banner from 1970 to 2018"

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