Identification of dust storm origin in South -West of Iran

J Environ Health Sci Eng. 2017 Jul 17;15:16. doi: 10.1186/s40201-017-0280-4. eCollection 2017.


Background: Deserts are the main sources of emitted dust, and are highly responsive to wind erosion. Low content of soil moisture and lack of vegetation cover lead to fine particle's release. One of the semi-arid bare lands in Iran, located in the South-West of Iran in Khoozestan province, was selected to investigate Sand and Dust storm potential.

Methods: This paper focused on the metrological parameters of the sampling site, their changes and the relationship between these changes and dust storm occurrence, estimation of Reconaissance Drought Index, the Atterberg limits of soil samples and their relation with soil erosion ability, the chemical composition, size distribution of soil and airborne dust samples, and estimation of vertical mass flux by COMSALT through considering the effect of saffman force and interparticle cohesion forces during warm period (April-September) in 2010. The chemical compositions are measured with X-ray fluorescence, Atomic absorption spectrophotometer and X-ray diffraction. The particle size distribution analysis was conducted by using Laser particle size and sieve techniques.

Results: There was a strong negative correlation between dust storm occurrence and annual and seasonal rainfall and relative humidity. Positive strong correlation between annual and seasonal maximum temperature and dust storm frequency was seen. Estimation of RDIst in the studied period showed an extremely dry condition. Using the results of particle size distribution and soil consistency, the weak structure of soil was represented. X-ray diffraction analyses of soil and dust samples showed that soil mineralogy was dominated mainly by Quartz and calcite. X-ray fluorescence analyses of samples indicated that the most important major oxide compositions of the soil and airborne dust samples were SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, MgO, Na2O, and Fe2O3, demonstrating similar percentages for soil and dust samples. Estimation of Enrichment Factors for all studied trace elements in soil samples showed Br, Cl, Mo, S, Zn, and Hg with EF values higher than 10.

Conclusion: The findings, showed the possible correlation between the degree of anthropogenic soil pollutants, and the remains of Iraq-Iran war. The results expressed sand and dust storm emission potential in this area, was illustrated with measured vertical mass fluxes by COMSALT.

Keywords: Atterberg limits; COMSALT; Iran; Mineralogical composition; Particle size distribution; RDI; Soil and dust chemistry; Wind erosion.