Spectroscopic study of the Moses Lake dune field, Washington: Determination of compositional distributions and source lithologies

Joshua L. Bandfield, Kenneth S. Edgett, Philip Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Source lithologies and transport histories of materials within the Ephrata Fan are investigated. Data were collected using a variety of remote-sensing, laboratory spectroscopic, and field observations and techniques. Laboratory thermal emission spectra were collected of bedrock within the Grand Coulee, dune samples, and clast deposits. Factor analysis, target transformation, and end-member recovery techniques were applied to the set of dune samples as well as a set of grain size fractions. The dune sample spectra are composed of three components that represent basalt, granodiorite, and clay compositions. The basalt and granodiorite components are similar to spectra of clast and bedrock samples from the Grand Coulee and the Ephrata Fan. The clay component is similar to weathering surfaces located within the dune field. The same components were recovered from the set of grain size fractions from a single dune sample demonstrating a relatively higher basalt concentration with grain sizes greater than ∼250 μm. Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) data display significant intradune compositional variation and no discernable interdune compositional variation, indicating that the basalt and granodiorite components were likely deposited simultaneously and subsequently separated by wind based on grain size. Basalt and granodiorite bedrock units within the Channeled Scablands are source materials for the deposits within the Ephrata Fan and Moses Lake dune field. The Columbia River, located 20 km west of the dune field, is not a likely source of material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-1 - 2-15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 25 2002


  • Factor analysis
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Outflow channels
  • Sediment transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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