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Large source of nitrate, a potential water contaminant, found in near-surface desert soils
Date:2/29/2008

rface erosion by rain and wind. According to them, nitrogen-laden dust transported by wind from disturbed desert pavement soils may impact distant nitrogen-limited ecosystems, such as alpine lakes.

Furthermore, the researchers note that increased soil moisture resulting from climate change increases the potential for denitrification a naturally-occurring process in soil, where bacteria break down nitrates to return nitrogen gas to the atmosphere. Denitrification also produces nitrous oxide, a major greenhouse gas, Graham said.

Next in their research, Graham and his colleagues will examine the spatial distribution of desert pavement throughout the Mojave Desert to explore how different levels of nitrate are associated with different kinds of desert pavement. Together with UCRs David Parker, a professor of soil chemistry, they will look in the desert also for perchlorate, which may be associated with nitrate.


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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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Large source of nitrate, a potential water contaminant, found in near-surface desert soils
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