Dynamic processes acting on a longitudinal (seif) sand dune

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Abstract

ABSTRACT Field measurements were made on a longitudinal dune in the Sinai Desert in order to understand its morphology and dynamics. The field measurements contradicted the wind structure indicated by the helicoidal flow theory. Rather, it was found that winds coming from two basically different directions at different times and striking the dune obliquely were responsible for sand transport and erosion or deposition along the lee flank. The essence of this mechanism is the deflection of the wind airflow on the lee flank of the dune to a direction parallel to the crest line. The occurrence of erosion or deposition depends upon the angle of incidence between the wind and the crest line. When this angle is < 40° the velocity of the deflected wind is higher than on the crest line or the windward flank and longitudinal sand transport occurs. When the angle is less acute (> 40°) the velocity of the deflected wind drops and deposition takes place on the lee flank. The angle of incidence in each wind storm is changed intermittently between 30° and 100° along the dune because the dune meanders and because of the sinuous outline of the crest line. In this manner sand transport and erosion or deposition occurs along the lee flank depending on the angle of incidence between the wind and the crest line. As a result of the deflection of the wind the dune elongates at an average rate of more than 1 m per month. Peaks and saddles along the crest line advance at an average rate of 0.7 m per month. The lack of uniformity in the effects of the wind on both sides of the dune creates a lack of uniformity in the rate of erosion and deposition. This can explain the formation of peaks along the crest line of the dune.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-578
Number of pages12
JournalSedimentology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1983

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