Australian desert dunes: Wind rift or depositional origin?

  • Wopfner H
  • Twidale C
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New data on the source of sands found in desert alluvia and adjacent dunes have led to a revival of the suggestion that the sand ridges of the Australian dunefields, and specifically those of the Great Victoria and Simpson Deserts, are predominantly of erosional origin. In this paper, geological and morphological evidence are cited against this wind rift hypothesis. In the Great Victoria Desert several arguments put for a local derivation of dune sand are incompatible with regional and local geology. In the Simpson Desert, the distribution, shape and colour of dunes, and the topographic relation of dunes to substrates argue against an erosional origin. Long-distance transport of sand from numerous local depocentres and under a bidirectional wind regime better accounts for the field evidence.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Great Victoria desert
  • Provenance
  • Sand dunes
  • Sediment transport
  • Simpson desert

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  • H. Wopfner

  • C. R. Twidale

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