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Coexistence of Two Dune Growth Mechanisms in a Landscape-Scale Experiment

Abstract : In landscape-scale experiments at the edge of the Gobi desert, we show that various dune types develop simultaneously under natural wind conditions. Using 4 years of high-resolution topographic data, we demonstrate that, depending on sand availability, the same wind regime can lead to two different dune orientations, which reflect two independent dune growth mechanisms. As periodic oblique dunes emerge from a sand bed and develop to 2 m in height, we analyze defect dynamics that drive the non-linear phase of pattern coarsening. Starting from conical sand heaps deposited on gravels, we observe the transition from dome to barchan and asymmetric barchan shapes. We identify a minimum size for arm elongation and evaluate the contribution of wind reversals to its longitudinal alignment. These experimental field observations support existing theoretical models of dune dynamics boosting confidence in their applicability for quantitative predictions of dune evolution under various wind regimes and bed conditions.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 8:17:42 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 8:17:44 AM

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Ping Lü, Clément Narteau, Zhibao Dong, Philippe Claudin, Sébastien Rodriguez, et al.. Coexistence of Two Dune Growth Mechanisms in a Landscape-Scale Experiment. Geophysical Research Letters, 2022, 49, ⟨10.1029/2021GL097636⟩. ⟨insu-03748527⟩

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