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    Bounding surfaces in a barchan dune: annual cycles of deposition? Seasonality or erosion by superimposed bedforms?

    Bristow, Charlie S. (2019) Bounding surfaces in a barchan dune: annual cycles of deposition? Seasonality or erosion by superimposed bedforms? Remote Sensing 11 (8), pp. 1-17. ISSN 2072-4292.

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    A barchan dune has been surveyed using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) revealing packages of dipping strata within the dune that are truncated by bounding surfaces. The bounding surfaces dip in the downwind direction, truncate sets of cross-stratification, and are themselves downlapped by dipping strata. Models of aeolian strata suggest that the bounding surfaces could be reactivation surfaces, an erosion surface formed when a dune is reshaped by a change in wind. Alternatively, they could be superposition surfaces formed by the migration of smaller bedforms over the dune surface. These two hypotheses are tested using a combination of field and satellite observations. The average annual migration rate for the barchan dune derived from satellite images, gives an annual migration rate of 21.4 myr-1. The number of reactivation surfaces imaged within the dune by GPR appears to scale with the annual migrating rate and dune turnover time suggesting that at this location annual cycles in the wind regime are a potential control on dune stratigraphy with reactivation surfaces generated by changes in the wind direction, including wind reversals in the winter months. Alternatively, it is hypothesized that erosion in the lee of small, superimposed bedforms as they pass the dune crest and approach the brink at the top of the slipface will create superposition surfaces. The migration rate of superimposed bedforms with a wavelength of 20 m has been measured at 2mday-1. This suggest that small-superimposed bedforms will arrive at the dune crest approximately every ten days. Thus bounding surface created by erosion in the lee of superimposed dunes will be very common. Given that the turnover time of the barchan dune is estimated at 4.3 years, the number of superposition surfaces produced by the faster bedforms could be more than 100. The number of bounding surface imaged by a GPR profile along the length of the dune appears to support the wind driven reactivation hypothesis. However, a GPR profile across the dune images many small trough sets, instead of a single slipface, suggesting that superimposed dunes play an important role in the stratigraphy of a relatively simple barchan dune.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Charlie Bristow
    Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2019 11:52
    Last Modified: 13 Jun 2021 15:06


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