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Dunes in the world’s big rivers are characterized by low-angle lee-side slopes and a complex shape

Cisneros, Julia; Best, Jim; van Dijk, Thaiënne; Almeida, Renato Paes de; Amsler, Mario; Boldt, Justin; Freitas, Bernardo; Galeazzi, Cristiano; Huizinga, Richard; Ianniruberto, Marco; Ma, Hongbo; Nittrouer, Jeffrey A.; Oberg, Kevin; Orfeo, Oscar; Parsons, Dan; Szupiany, Ricardo; Wang, Ping; Zhang, Yuanfeng


Julia Cisneros

Jim Best

Thaiënne van Dijk

Renato Paes de Almeida

Mario Amsler

Justin Boldt

Bernardo Freitas

Cristiano Galeazzi

Richard Huizinga

Marco Ianniruberto

Hongbo Ma

Jeffrey A. Nittrouer

Kevin Oberg

Oscar Orfeo

Ricardo Szupiany

Ping Wang

Yuanfeng Zhang


Dunes are present in all the worlds’ big rivers and form critical agents of bedload transport, constitute appreciable sources of bed roughness and flow resistance, and generate stratification that is the most common depositional element of ancient alluvium. Yet our current models of dunes are conditioned by the geometry of bedforms observed in small rivers and laboratory experiments, and in which the downstream leeside angle is often assumed to be at the angle-of-repose. Here we show, using high-resolution bathymetry from a range of the worlds great rivers, that dunes are instead characterized predominantly by low-angle leeside slopes (

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2020-02
Journal Nature Geoscience
Print ISSN 1752-0894
Electronic ISSN 1752-0908
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 156-162
APA6 Citation Cisneros, J., Best, J., van Dijk, T., Almeida, R. P. D., Amsler, M., Boldt, J., …Zhang, Y. (2020). Dunes in the world’s big rivers are characterized by low-angle lee-side slopes and a complex shape. Nature Geoscience, 13(2), 156-162.
Keywords General Earth and Planetary Sciences
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 13 March 2019; Accepted: 20 November 2019; First Online: 20 January 2020; : The authors declare no competing interests.


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