Articles | Volume 16, issue 6
Research article
19 Mar 2019
Research article |  | 19 Mar 2019

The origin and role of biological rock crusts in rocky desert weathering

Nimrod Wieler, Hanan Ginat, Osnat Gillor, and Roey Angel


Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Peer-review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
ED: Publish subject to minor revisions (review by editor) (15 Feb 2019) by Denise Akob
AR by Roey Angel on behalf of the Authors (18 Feb 2019)
ED: Publish as is (27 Feb 2019) by Denise Akob
AR by Roey Angel on behalf of the Authors (05 Mar 2019)
Short summary
In stony deserts, when rocks are exposed to atmospheric conditions, they undergo weathering. The cavernous (honeycomb) weathering pattern is one of the most common, but it is still unclear exactly how it is formed. We show that microorganisms, which differ from the surrounding soil and dust, form biological crusts on exposed rock surfaces. These microbes secrete polymeric substances that mitigate weathering by reducing evaporation rates and, consequently, salt transport rates through the rock.
Final-revised paper