Mathematical Geosciences

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 635–655 | Cite as

A Surface Model for Aeolian Dune Topography

  • Travis SwansonEmail author
  • David Mohrig
  • Gary Kocurek
  • Man Liang


A surface model for aeolian bedform topography is adapted from a surface model of subaqueous bedform topography. The aeolian bedform surface model is developed using a uniform grid with a cell-centered finite volume approximation of the sediment continuity equation. The resulting modeling framework approximates the dynamic motions of aeolian bedform topography driven by bedform field boundary conditions. The numerical model is applied to simulate bedforms growing from unimodal and bimodal transport regimes from both a fixed elevation (sediment source area) and within a domain with fully periodic boundary conditions. The rates at which modeled aeolian bedforms grow and morphologically mature are sensitive to the chosen boundary conditions. Video files of model simulations and source code for the presented aeolian bedform surface modeling framework are available in supplemental materials. The aeolian bedform surface model code is malleable and readily modified for exploratory study of dynamic bedform topography that inherits morphological traits from aeolian bedform field boundary conditions.


Aeolian Dune Bedform Exploratory numerical model 



Caroline Hern generously provided continuous feedback and conceptual steering for this project. We thank Matthew Wolinsky and Mauricio Perillo for helpful guidance and suggestions concerning code development. The authors are grateful for the thoughts and comments provided by Roussos Dimitrakopoulos and Brad Murray during the revision of this manuscript. Funding for this work was provided by Shell International Exploration & Production Inc. This work does not reflect the views of Shell International Exploration & Production Inc.

Supplementary material

11004_2016_9654_MOESM1_ESM.mpg (220.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (mpg 226093 KB)
11004_2016_9654_MOESM2_ESM.mpg (84.6 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (mpg 86598 KB)
11004_2016_9654_MOESM3_ESM.mpg (70.6 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (mpg 72309 KB)
11004_2016_9654_MOESM4_ESM.mpg (149.7 mb)
Supplementary material 4 (mpg 153338 KB)
11004_2016_9654_MOESM5_ESM.txt (33 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (txt 33 KB)
11004_2016_9654_MOESM6_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (docx 12 KB)


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Travis Swanson
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Mohrig
    • 1
  • Gary Kocurek
    • 1
  • Man Liang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geosciences, Jackson School of GeosciencesThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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