Subaqueous Dunes Over Sand Ridges on the Murcia Outer Shelf

  • R. DuránEmail author
  • J. Guillén
  • J. Rivera
  • A. Muñoz
  • F. J. Lobo
  • L. M. Fernández-Salas
  • J. Acosta


Multibeam swath bathymetry, high-resolution seismic data and sediment samples were used to characterize a field of sand ridges and subaqueous dunes on the outer Murcia continental shelf (western Mediterranean Sea). Sand ridges are 1.5–3 m high and show a predominant E-W orientation oblique to the present-day shoreline. High-resolution seismic data reveal a backstepping stacking pattern of high-angle clinoforms dipping towards the southwest, interpreted as buried sand bodies. Subaqueous dunes have a mean height of 0.3 m and appear superimposed on the sand ridges showing a NW-SE orientation oblique to the ridges. They are composed of sandy sediments and display asymmetric morphology, with the lee side towards the southwest. Ridge and dune asymmetry and internal structure are indicative of long-term sediment transport towards the southwest. At present, dune migration rates deduced from repeated bathymetric surveys indicate that the dunes remain stationary or migrate at very low rates on a decadal scale.


Sand ridges Subaqueous dunes Tideless continental shelf Western mediterranean sea 



This work is a contribution to the Spanish projects FORMED (CGL2012-33989). The authors wish to thank the Secretaría General de Pesca and Tragsa for the 2003 Espace Project dataset and the Spanish Oceanographic Institute for the ship time of the Copesands cruise. R. Durán is supported by a CSIC JAE-Doc contract co-funded by the FSE.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Durán
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Guillén
    • 1
  • J. Rivera
    • 2
  • A. Muñoz
    • 3
  • F. J. Lobo
    • 4
  • L. M. Fernández-Salas
    • 5
  • J. Acosta
    • 2
  1. 1.Insituto de Ciencias del Mar (CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Instituto Español de OceanografiaIEOMadridSpain
  3. 3.Tragsa-SGPMadridSpain
  4. 4.Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (CSIC-Universidad de Granada)Armilla GranadaSpain
  5. 5.Instituto Español de OceanografíaCentro Oceanográfico de CádizCádizSpain

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