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    Element and mineral characterization of dust emission from the saline land at Songnen Plain, Northeastern China

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    Abstract
    Recent observations of Asian dust storms show an eastern expansion of the source area to degraded lands, where dust emissions have been little studied. The dust concentrations over the saline land of the western Songnen Plain (SSL), Northeastern China, are circumstantially higher than those from the northwestern Chinese deserts. These concentrations are sensitive to the surface soil conditions and wind velocity on the ground. The dust samples collected during dust storm events on the SSL contain abundant Na, Mg, Al, K, Ca, Fe and Ti, as well as toxic elements such as Cu, V, Zn and Ba. Individual particle analysis reveals that fine saline particles (< 10 μm in diameter) on the saline land, consisting largely of carbonate, halite and sulfate together with lithogenic minerals such as SiO2 and aluminosilicate, are eventually uplifted during the interval from spring to autumn. The predominantly fine saline particles uplifted from the SSL are likely transported eastward by the winter monsoon circulation and westerlies. Recent degradation of saline lands in Northeastern China would not only increase the frequency of dust storm events in the downwind area, but also might change the chemical composition of the Asian dust emissions.
     

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