Multi-spatial analysis of aeolian dune-field patterns
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© 2014 Elsevier B.V. Aeolian dune-fields are composed of different spatial scales of bedform patterns that respond to changes in environmental boundary conditions over a wide range of time scales. This study examines how variations in spatial scales of dune and ripple patterns found within dune fields are used in environmental reconstructions on Earth, Mars and Titan. Within a single bedform type, different spatial scales of bedforms emerge as a pattern evolves from an initial state into a well-organized pattern, such as with the transition from protodunes to dunes. Additionally, different types of bedforms, such as ripples, coarse-grained ripples and dunes, coexist at different spatial scales within a dune-field. Analysis of dune-field patterns at the intersection of different scales and types of bedforms at different stages of development provides a more comprehensive record of sediment supply and wind regime than analysis of a single scale and type of bedform. Interpretations of environmental conditions from any scale of bedform, however, are limited to environmental signals associated with the response time of that bedform. Large-scale dune-field patterns integrate signals over long-term climate cycles and reveal little about short-term variations in wind or sediment supply. Wind ripples respond instantly to changing conditions, but reveal little about longer-term variations in wind or sediment supply. Recognizing the response time scales across different spatial scales of bedforms maximizes environmental interpretations from dune-field patterns.
author list (cited authors)
Ewing, R. C., McDonald, G. D., & Hayes, A. G.