Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Grain-size characteristics of linear dunes on the northern margin of Qarhan Salt Lake, northwestern China


In order to clarify the formation mechanism of linear dunes on the northern margin of Qarhan Salt Lake, northwestern China, we analyzed the grain-size and sorting parameters of the dune and interdune sands. The surface sands (0–30 mm) from the dune base to the crest of both flanks and interdune corridors were sampled along transects from upwind to downwind through the dune field. The results indicated that the grain-size distribution differed at different positions between and within the dunes. The frequency curve for dune sands mainly showed a bimodal distribution, while the interdune sediments showed a trimodal distribution. The grain size distribution of the linear dunes showed a finer crest pattern, i.e. the crests were composed of sands that were generally finer, better sorted than those of base sands. In addition, at the dune field scale, the dune crest sands were tending to become much finer but sorting became worse along the downwind transects. However, the grain-size parameters of sediments in the interdune corridors showed no clear pattern. The results demonstrated that the grain size and sorting parameters exhibited a systematic change not only at the individual scale but also at the dune field scale. Our results quantitatively estimate the limited role of cohesive sediments on the formation of linear dune under unidirectional wind regime. More attention should be paid to a long-term wind regime observation, internal sedimentary structures and their formation ages.


linear dune; longitudinal dune; grain-size; parameters; Qarhan Salt Lake; Qaidam Basin

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