Grain-size distribution of surface sediments of climbing and falling dunes in the Zedang valley of the Yarlung Zangbo River, southern Tibetan plateau

  • Jiaqiong Zhang
  • Chunlai Zhang
  • Qing Li
  • Xinghui Pan


Climbing and falling dunes are widespread in the wide valleys of the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Along a sampling transect running from northeast to southwest through 10 climbing dunes and two falling dunes in the Langsailing area, the surface sediments were sampled to analyse the grain-size characteristics, to clarify the transport pattern of particles with different grain sizes, and to discuss the effects of terrain factors including dune slope, mountain slope, elevation and transport distance to sand transport. Sand dunes on both sides of the ridge are mainly transverse dunes. Fine and medium sands were the main particles, with few very fine and coarse particles in the surface sediments. Particles \({>}4.00\varPhi \) were blown upslope by suspension, particles \(1.00{-}4.00\varPhi \) were mainly transported upslope by saltation with opposite change tendency, and particles \({<}1.00\varPhi \) mainly moved by creep were found almost exclusively at the bottom of the slopes. As terrain factors, elevation and transport distance were more important factors influencing the distribution of grain size and particle fraction on dunes. Local winds observation might be helpful for the transport mechanism study of particles on climbing and falling dunes, while the wind data from nearby weather station was hardly helpful.


Climbing and falling dunes grain-size distribution sand transport pattern wide river valleys terrain factors 



This work was funded by the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA20040202), the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB956001) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40871015). The wind data used in this study was parts of data from forcing dataset developed by Data Assimilation and Modeling Center for Tibetan Multi-spheres, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Authors sincerely appreciate Dr. Geoff Hart for the language editing.

Supplementary material

12040_2018_1030_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (173 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 172 KB)


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiaqiong Zhang
    • 1
  • Chunlai Zhang
    • 2
  • Qing Li
    • 2
  • Xinghui Pan
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water ConservationNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, MOE Engineering Research Center of Desertification and Blown-Sand Control, Faculty of Geographical ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Hydrology and Water Resources Survey Bureau of WeifangWeifangPeople’s Republic of China

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