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Gobabeb Research & Training Centre

Geological Society Talk 17:30, Monday, 20th August

Dune initiation and migration dynamics on the Skeleton Coast: insights from a Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS)

Dr Joanna M. Nield

Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, UK

Although dunes are common in sandy desert areas like Namibia, we know surprisingly little about how these dunes initiate and migrate at the storm event scale

because it is difficult to measure small changes (millimetres; seconds) in dune shape on unstable and active surfaces during windy periods. However, even small surface change has the potential for inducing complex form-flow feedbacks leading to further morphological change. This talk focuses on recent National Geographic funded research on Skeleton Coast dunes within the Huab River Valley, by Dr Jo Nield (University of Southampton, UK), Professor Giles Wiggs (University of Oxford, UK), Dr Matthew Baddock (Loughborough University, UK) and Dr Martin Hipondoka (University of Namibia), investigating how sand patches and barchan dunes form and move. Additional examples from Norfolk, UK will be discussed which we plan to compare to Namibian protodunes near Narabeb in collaboration with Gobabeb as part of the TOAD (The Origin of Aeolian Dunes) project. We show how the use of high resolution terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to measure both surface topography and grains moving above the surface, together with measurements of wind speed, can offer new insights into how the wind erodes and deposits sand.

Lecture dunes 1

Dr Jo Nield has been working in the Skeleton Coast National Park for the last five years, and has been researching desert processes in southern Africa (including Sua Pan, Gobabeb and Etosha) and southwest USA since 2006. She is an Associate Professor in Aeolian Geomorphology at the University of Southampton, UK and undertakes research focusing on some of the key controls of dune and dust processes (e.g. crusts, vegetation and moisture) through innovative field and modelling techniques that enable the characterisation of surface morphology and how this changes through time.

dune lecture 2




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