Origin of a complex and spatially diverse dune-field pattern, Algodones, southeastern California Academic Article uri icon


  • The Algodones Dune Field of southeastern California shows a complex and spatially diverse dune-field pattern that is superimposed upon a series of topographic lineations. Analysis of dune-field pattern parameters (dune crest length, crest orientation, dune spacing and defect density) derived from aerial images indicates that the dune-field pattern represents two constructional generations. Prominent compound crescentic dunes formed during the first constructional generation. A younger generation consists of a variety of simple crescentic dunes, linear dunes and zibars. Statistical differences in the pattern parameters between the dune groups within the second generation are resolved through consideration of the boundary conditions under which the dune pattern evolved, and provide explanations for: (1) diversity of dune types, (2) range in implied constructional times, (3) range in crest orientations, and (4) the anomalous nature of the population of linear dunes. The boundary conditions that have modified pattern development include orographic effects, grain size, vegetation, areal extent and antecedent conditions. Topographic lineations in the Algodones range from the Western Ramp, which defines the field margin, to subtle features masked by the pattern of dunes. Imaging of the Western Ramp using Ground Penetrating Radar shows high-angle cross-strata migrating perpendicular to the lineation trend. The most plausible hypothesis for the origin of the lineations is as dune ridges sequentially shed from adjacent Lake Cahuilla, which is the source of Algodones sands. The overall geomorphic complexity of the Algodones originates from the emplacement of the dune ridges during stages of Lake Cahuilla, the two generations of dune-field construction, and the controls exerted by boundary conditions. 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Derickson, D., Kocurek, G., Ewing, R. C., & Briistow, C.

complete list of authors

  • Derickson, Dana||Kocurek, Gary||Ewing, Ryan C||Briistow, Charlie

publication date

  • January 1, 2008 11:11 AM