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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1453-1461
    Received: Jan 25, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): f-howari@tamu.edu
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Spectral Properties of Salt Crusts Formed on Saline Soils

  1. F. M. Howari *a,
  2. P. C. Goodellb and
  3. S. Miyamotoc
  1. a University of Texas at El Paso, Center for Environmental Resource Management, PMB 113, El Paso, TX 79968
    b University of Texas at El Paso, Dep. of Geological Sci., El Paso, TX 79968
    c Texas A&M Agricultural Research Center at El Paso, 1380 A&M Circle, El Paso, TX 79907


Rapid identification and large-scale mapping of salt-affected lands will help improve salinity management in watersheds and ecosystems. This study was conducted to examine spectral reflectance of soils treated with saline solutions containing NaCl, NaHCO3, Na2SO4, and CaSO4·2H2O. Spectral reflectance was measured upon salt crusts formed on two soils (Torrifluvents) subirrigated with saline solutions of 500, 1000, and 1500 mmolc L−1 with a spectroradiometer in the visible and near-infrared region (400–2500 nm). Spectral analyses revealed that samples of gypsum crusts have diagnostic absorption features near 1023, 1225, 1457, 1757, 1800, and 2336 nm, whereas halite crusts have diagnostic absorption features near 1442, 1851, 1958, and 2226 nm. Several broad absorption features were seen in the spectra of the crusts of sodium bicarbonate at 1243, 1498, 1790, 1988, and 2356 nm. The spectrum of soils treated with sodium sulfate exhibited absorption features at 1243, 1472, 1677, 1774, 1851, 1968, and 2245 nm. Crystal size or salt concentrations did not affect the positions of the absorption bands of the salt crusts. However, reflectance increased as particle sizes decreased or with increasing presence of salt crusts. Spectroscopy can be used under certain conditions to identify the presence of primary diagnostic spectral features of gypsum, nahcolite, thenardite, and halite crusts.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1453–1461.