摘要：Underlying terrain strongly influences dune formation. However, the impacts of underlying terrain on the dune formation are poorly studied. In the present research, we focused on dunes that formed in the alluvial fans and dry salt flats in the Qaidam Basin, Northwest China. We quantified the dunes' sediment characteristics on different types of underlying terrain and the terrain' effects on the surface quartz grains by analyzing grain-size distribution, soluble salt contents and grain surface micro-textures. Results showed that barchan dunes were dominated by medium sands with a unimodal frequency distribution, whose peak corresponded to the saltation load. Linear dunes were mainly composed of fine sands with a bimodal frequency distribution, whose main peak represented the saltation load, and whose secondary peak represented the modified saltation or suspension load. Sand was transported from source area by running water (inland rivers) over short distances and by wind over relatively longer distances. Thus, quartz grains had poor roundness and were dominated by sub-angular and angular shapes. Surface micro-textures indicated that dune sands were successively transported by exogenic agents (glaciation, fluviation and wind). Soluble salt contents were low in dunes that developed in the alluvial fans, which represented a low-energy chemical environment, so the grain surface micro-textures mainly resulted from mechanical erosion, with weak micro-textures formed by SiO2 solution and precipitation. However, soluble salt contents were much higher in dunes that developed in the dry salt flats, which indicated a high-energy chemical environment. Therefore, in addition to micro-structures caused by mechanical erosion, micro-textures formed by SiO2 solution and precipitation also well developed. Our results improve understanding of the sediment characteristics of dune sands and the effects of underlying terrain on dune development in the Qaidam Basin, China.
摘要：Aeolian processes have been studied extensively at low elevations, but have been relatively little studied at high elevations. Aeolian sediments are widely distributed in the Yarlung Zangbo River basin, southern Tibetan Plateau, which is characterized by low pressure and low temperature. Here, we comprehensively analyzed the wind regime using data since 1980 from 11 meteorological stations in the study area, and examined the interaction between the near-surface wind and aeolian environment. The wind environment exhibited significant spatial and temporal variation, and mean wind speed has generally decreased on both annual and seasonal bases since 1980, at an average of 0.181 m/(s•10a). This decrease resulted from the reduced contribution of maximum wind speed, and depended strongly on variations of the frequency of sand-driving winds. The drift potential and related parameters also showed obvious spatial and temporal variation, with similar driving forces for the wind environment. The strength of the wind regime affected the formation and development of the aeolian geomorphological pattern, but with variation caused by local topography and sediment sources. The drift potential and resultant drift direction were two key parameters, as they quantify the dynamic conditions and depositional orientation of the aeolian sediments. Wind affected the spatial variation in sediment grain size, but the source material and complex topographic effects on the near-surface wind were the underlying causes for the grain size distribution of aeolian sands. These results will support efforts to control aeolian desertification in the basin and improve our understanding of aeolian processes in high-elevation environments.
摘要：Yardangs are typical aeolian erosion landforms, which are attracting more and more attention of geomorphologists and geologists for their various morphology and enigmatic formation mechanisms. In order to clarify the aeolian environments that influence the development of long-ridge yardangs in the northwestern Qaidam Basin of China, the present research investigated the winds by installing wind observation tower in the field. We found that the sand-driving winds mainly blow from the north-northwest, northwest and north, and occur the most frequent in summer, because the high temperature increases atmospheric instability and leads to downward momentum transfer and active local convection during these months. The annual drift potential and the ratio of resultant drift potential indicate that the study area pertains to a high-energy wind environment and a narrow unimodal wind regime. The wind energy decreases from northwest to southeast in the Qaidam Basin, with the northerly winds in the northwestern basin changing to more westerly in the southeastern basin. The strong and unidirectional wind regime for the long-ridge yardangs in the northwestern Qaidam Basin results from the combined effects of topographic obstacles such as the Altun Mountains and of the interaction between the air stream and the yardang bodies. Present study suggests that yardang evolution needs such strong and unidirectional winds in high- or intermediate-energy wind environments. This differs from sandy deserts or sandy lands, which usually develop at low- or intermediate-energy wind environments. Present study clarifies the wind regime corresponding to the long-ridge yardangs' development, and lays firm foundation to put forward the formation mechanisms for yardangs in the Qaidam Basin.
摘要：Determination of the threshold shear velocity is essential for predicting sand transport, dust release and desertification. In this study, a wind tunnel experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of salinity and moisture on the threshold shear velocity of saline sand. Saline sand samples (mean particle size of 164.50–186.08 μm and the total silt, clay and salt content of 0.80%–8.25%) were collected from three saline sand dunes (one barchan dune and two linear dunes) in the Qarhan Desert, Qaidam Basin of China. Original saline sand samples were placed in two experimental trays for wet and dry processing to simulate deliquescence and desiccation, respectively. Surface moisture content ranging from 0.30% to 1.90% was generated by the steam method so that the saline sand can absorb water in a saturated water vapor environment. The motion of sand particles was determined by the observers with a solid laser. The laser sheet (0.80 cm thick), which was emitted by the solid laser, horizontally covered the sand surface and was bound to the sand. Results show that the cohesion of saline sand results from a combination of salt and water. The threshold shear velocity increases exponentially with the increase in crust thickness for the linear sand dunes. There is a positive linear correlation between the original moisture content and relative threshold shear velocity. The threshold shear velocity of dewatered sand is greater than that of wet sand with the same original moisture content. Our results will provide valuable information about the sand transport of highly saline soil in the desert.