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Mapping the interactions between rivers and sand dunes: Implications for fluvial and aeolian geomorphology

Liu, Baoli; Coulthard, Tom J.


Baoli Liu


The interaction between fluvial and aeolian processes can significantly change Earth surface morphology. When rivers and sand dunes meet, the interaction of sediment transport between the two systems can lead to change in either or both systems. However, these two systems are usually studied independently, which leaves many questions unresolved in terms of how they interact. This paper carries out a global inventory, using satellite imagery, to identify 230 sites where there are significant fluvial-aeolian interactions. At each location key attributes such as wind/river direction, net sand transport direction, fluvial-aeolian meeting angle, dune type and river channel pattern were identified and relationships between each factor were analysed. From these data, six different types of interaction were classified that reflect a shift in dominance between the fluvial and aeolian systems. Results from this classification confirm that only certain types of interaction were significant: the meeting angle and dune type, the meeting angle and interaction type and finally the channel pattern and interaction type. However, the findings also indicate the difficulties of classifying dynamic geomorphic systems from snapshot satellite images.


Liu, B., & Coulthard, T. J. (2015). Mapping the interactions between rivers and sand dunes: Implications for fluvial and aeolian geomorphology. Geomorphology, 231(February), 246-257.

Acceptance Date Dec 7, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 16, 2014
Publication Date Feb 15, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 3, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Geomorphology
Print ISSN 0169-555X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 231
Issue February
Pages 246-257
Keywords Fluvial–aeolian interaction; Dunes; River; Net transport direction; River direction; Geomorphology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Geomorphology, 2015, v.231, February.
Contract Date Nov 23, 2017


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