US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in the JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 112, 2007.


Islands are natural dust traps, and San Clemente Island, California, is a good example. Soils on marine terraces cut into Miocene andesite on this island are clay-rich Vertisols or Alfisols with vertic properties. These soils are overlain by silt-rich mantles, 5–20 cm thick, that contrast sharply with the underlying clay-rich subsoils. The silt mantles have a mineralogy that is distinct from the island bedrock. Silt mantles are rich in quartz, which is rare in the island andesite. The clay fraction of the silt mantles is dominated by mica, also absent from local andesite, and contrasts with the subsoils, dominated by smectite.