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The morphodynamics of transverse dunes on the coast of South Africa

Knight, J; Burningham, H; (2021) The morphodynamics of transverse dunes on the coast of South Africa. Geo-Marine Letters , 41 (4) , Article 47. 10.1007/s00367-021-00717-4.

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Abstract

Transverse sand dunes located within the supratidal zones of beaches are a significant geomorphic feature along sand-dominated coasts worldwide and are generated by strong alongshore winds in areas of high sediment availability. Transverse dunes are present along the South African coast, and these are known to migrate dynamically in response to wind forcing. However, the detailed dynamics of individual dune systems along the same coastal stretch have not been compared to one another, and the relationship of transverse dunes to their hosting beach systems has also not been examined. This study examines the properties and dynamics of transverse supratidal dunes from three systems along the coast of South Africa, using remote sensing methods. Results show that, although the underlying beach system appears to be relatively stable over the time period of analysis, there is a dominant aeolian-driven migration of transverse dunes towards the northeast, following prevailing wind direction, countered by less dominant movement to the southwest. There are also considerable variations in calculated annual dune migration rates between adjacent systems, between summer and winter seasons, and between dunes within a single site. This highlights that, although beach and dune landforms can be conceptually considered as part of the same sediment system, there is not a clear relationship between phases of beach aggradation and phases of dune aggradation. Instead, a primary control appears to be beachface erosion by waves that reduces beach width and influences dune morphodynamics, independent of sediment supply.

Type: Article
Title: The morphodynamics of transverse dunes on the coast of South Africa
DOI: 10.1007/s00367-021-00717-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-021-00717-4
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135770
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