Field Methods in a Study of the Process-Response System Controlling Dune Morphology, Salton Sea, California

  • Kevin R. Mulligan


To better understand the nature of aeolian processes, a field study was undertaken to investigate the interaction between wind flow, sand transport, and dune morphology. The study focused on a barchan located west of the Salton Sea in southern California. This paper describes the research design, study area, field methods, and instrumentation used in the study. To describe and analyze the wind events that occurred during the course of the field season, wind speed and direction were monitored on a continuous basis over a four-week period in late spring 1991. In response to these wind events, survey data and measurements from a grid of erosion stakes were both used to monitor changes in dune morphology. To help explain observed changes in dune morphology, an array of 40 anemometers was deployed to measure spatial variability in near-surface wind speed and the vertical structure of the wind field over the dune profile. One of the principal aims of the study was to develop a physically based numerical model of aeolian sand transport that could be used to simulate observed patterns of erosion and deposition over the dune profile.


Wind Speed Wind Flow Field Season Sand Transport Surface Shear Stress 
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Copyright information

© Vatche P. Tachakerian 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin R. Mulligan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyTexas A&M UniversityUSA

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