• Hicham ElbelrhitiEmail author
  • Henrik Hargitai
Living reference work entry


Barchans are propagating crescent-shaped dunes that form under limited supply of sand, in roughly unidirectional winds (or current flow) and un-vegetated areas (Fryberger 1979; Wasson and Hyde 1983) on firm, coherent basement (Cooke et al. 1993, p. 371).




Isolated crescent-shaped mobile dune which has insufficient sediment supply to cover the entire substratum. The horns of a barchans point in the direction of dune movement. They may be scattered over bare rock surfaces. Barchans possess a windward side (convex side) and a steeper lee side with two horns that face downwind and a slip face.

Morphology and Morphometry

Geomorphic Features of a Barchan

  1. (1)

    The windward (upwind/stoss; for submarine barchans: upstream)-side is convex; slope is gentle (Fig. 4). On Earth, the dip of the windward sides is 8–20° (average maximum: 12°) (e.g., Sauermann et al. 2000). Saltation is the dominant...


Windward Side Wind Regime Dune Field Barchan Dune Dune Form 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département des Sciences Fondamentales et Appliquées (DSFA)Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II10101-RabatMorocco
  2. 2.Planetary Science Research GroupEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary