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Proceedings Paper

The characteristic of aeolian environment and its impact on engineering construction in the Gurbantonggut Desert, China
Author(s): Jiaqiang Lei; Congju Zhao
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Paper Abstract

Gurbantonggut Desert, located at the center of Jungar Basin, has an area of 48,800km2, which is the biggest immovable and semi-immovable desert in China. There is profuse oil-gas resource. Along with the oil-gas resource exploiting, more and more engineering has been built in the center of the desert, such as the desert highway and the oil fields and so on. However, aeolian environment in the Gurbantonggut Desert has a great impact on the engineering building and engineering safety. There are more than 20 gale-days per year in the center of the desert, and the main directions of the effective sand-moving winds are NE and NW, and sometimes the strong SE winds occur in the east part of the desert. The effective sand-moving winds appear mainly between April and September, which occupies 80% of whole year. It is obvious that the huge transport potential formed by the strong wind force badly endangers the engineering construction. Primary shapes of sand dunes in the desert are longitudinal and dendritic dunes, which occupy 80% of total area of the immovable and semi-immovable desert. The sand grains of the desert are coarser, and the average grain size is 0.2~0.22mm and 0.15~0.17mm in the southern and the northern part of the desert respectively. The vegetation coverage is 15~50%, and also there is about 85% of the total sand surface to be covered by the microbial crust. In this case, most dunes are fixed or semi-fixed, only on the top of the dunes existing about 30m mobile or semi-mobile sand belts. That indicates that the fixed or semi-fixed sand surfaces are dominant in desert, which prevents blown sand from doing harm to the engineering construction. Meanwhile, with the engineering construction, the fixed or semi-fixed sand surfaces are easy to be destroyed in the desert, which threatens the engineering construction and safety greatly. In general, there are about 1m thick moist sand layers in the desert and the moisture content has great changes in time and space. The moist sand layer in the desert plays an important role on the ecological rehabilitation and the aeolian disaster control in engineering disturbance areas.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 July 2003
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4890, Ecosystems Dynamics, Ecosystem-Society Interactions, and Remote Sensing Applications for Semi-Arid and Arid Land, (14 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.466456
Show Author Affiliations
Jiaqiang Lei, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS (China)
Congju Zhao, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS (China)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4890:
Ecosystems Dynamics, Ecosystem-Society Interactions, and Remote Sensing Applications for Semi-Arid and Arid Land
Xiaoling Pan; Wei Gao; Michael H. Glantz; Yoshiaki Honda, Editor(s)

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