Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Star Dune

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_447


A large pyramidal dune with three or more arms.


 Cone-shaped dune; Demkha; Ghourd (in the Sahara);  Pyramidal dune; Sand massif;  Stellate dune; Stellate rose (Pye and Tsoar 1990:219 and references therein)


A large pyramidal dune, roughly star-shaped or resembling a pinwheel Fig. 1. They have a central pyramid shaped peak/cone with three or more radial sinuous arms. Slip faces dip in at least three directions. They have a wide variety of shapes.


They are typically 0.5–1 km wide and 50–150 m high (Pye and Tsoar 1990). They are almost always considered as giant dunes ( megadunes, see also Andreotti et al. 2009). On Mars, they have similar sizes (e.g., Edgett and Blumberg 1994b).


Dune massif: a compound star dune forming an intricate pattern of arms and peaks (Glenn 1979; Fig. 3b); chain of stars – a complex dune where linear dunes are combined with star dunes on their crests (McKee 1979, p. 13).


Star dunes form in...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Andreotti B, Fourrière A, Ould-Kaddour F, Murray B, Claudin P (2009) Size of giant dunes limited by the depth of the atmospheric boundary layer. Nature 457:1120–1123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Edgett KS, Blumberg DG (1994a) Found: star and linear dunes on Mars. Lunar Planet Sci Conf XXV:341–342, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  3. Edgett KS, Blumberg DG (1994b) Star and linear dunes on Mars. Icarus 112(2):448–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fryberger SG, Dean G (1979) Dune forms and wind regime. In: McKee ED (ed) A study of global sand seas. U.S. Geological Survey professional paper 1052. pp 141–170Google Scholar
  5. Glenn M (ed) (1979) Glossary. In: McKee ED (ed) U.S. Geological Survey professional paper 1052. pp 399–407Google Scholar
  6. Mader D, Yardley MJ (1985) Migration, modification and merging in aeolian systems and the significance of the depositional mechanisms in Permian and Triassic dune sands of Europe and North America. Sediment Geol 43:85–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McKee ED (1979) Introduction to a study of global sand seas. In: McKee ED (ed) A study of global sand seas. U.S. Geological Survey professional paper 1052. pp 1–20Google Scholar
  8. Pye K, Tsoar H (1990) Aeolian sand and sand dunes. Unwin Hyman, London, p 396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Silvestro S, Fenton LK, Michaels TI, Valdez A, Ori GG (2012) Interpretation of the complex dune morphology on Mars: dune activity, modelling and a terrestrial analogue. Earth Surf Process Landf 37:1424–1436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Zhang D, Narteau C, Rozier O, Courrech du Pont S (2012) Morphology and dynamics of star dunes from numerical modelling. Nat Geosci 5:463–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clément Narteau
    • 1
  • Andrew Valdez
    • 2
  • Henrik Hargitai
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Univ Paris DiderotCNRSFrance
  2. 2.Great Sand Dunes National Park and PreserveMoscaUSA
  3. 3.NASA Ames Research Center/NPPMoffett FieldUSA