Dust originating from dry lakes contributes harmful and toxic elements to downwind urban areas and mountain snowpack that is compounded by local contaminant inputs from anthropogenic sources. To evaluate dust contributions to an urban area from regional playas, we sampled playa dust sources, urban dust deposition, and snow dust deposition in central Utah, USA. Samples were analyzed for grain size, mineralogy, and chemistry. Bulk mineralogy between playa, urban, and snow dust samples was similar, with silicate, carbonate, and evaporite minerals. Grain size distribution between fine playa, urban, and snow dust particles was also similar. Elements found at high concentrations in playas include Li, Na, Mg, Ca, Sr, and U, and most other elements were found at higher concentrations in urban and snow deposition samples. Particularly enriched elements in dust deposition include Cu, Se, Ag, Cd, Sb, and La, which are sourced from industrial activity, mining, and vehicular emissions and wear. Based on results from mass balance modeling, a large majority of the dust mass deposited on the Wasatch Front is from playa sources. Urban and playa dust sources largely remain constant seasonally, although spikes in playa-associated element concentrations during a particular seasonal sample may indicate frequent and/or more intense dust events. Among the highly environmentally available elements B, Ca, Sr, and U, are Cd and Se, both of which present toxicity concerns for humans and environments. This is the first study describing heavy metal contamination and sources in Utah, USA.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Goodman, Michael Max, "Wasatch Front Atmospheric Deposition Reflects Regional Desert Dust and Local Anthropogenic Sources" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 8256.
playa dust, mineral dust, urban dust, dust chemistry