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The Cosmolian program for simulating aeolian dynamics and its application to central Australia

Abstract : The wide spatial coverage of sand dunes in continental interiors makes the understanding of their activity and accumulation history valuable for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and the interpretation of landscape evolution. Nevertheless, the study of aeolian landscape development at the million-year timescale is hampered by the complex interaction of factors determining dune migration and the inherently self-destructive nature of their chronostratigraphy, thus limiting the applicability of traditional dating methods. This study presents a standalone program that simulates aeolian transport based on luminescence-derived chronologies coupled with numerical modelling of the accumulation of cosmogenic nuclides. This integrative approach to modelling the history of aeolian landforms reveals phases of emergence of aeolian sand into the landscape, and provides a data-based scheme that facilitates the morphodynamical study of aeolian processes over multiple timescales and up to several millions of years. The application of the program for reanalysing previously reported data from the Australian Simpson Desert reveals multiple pulses of sand dispersion into central Australia at 3.8–3.4, 2.9–2.5 and 1.5–1 Ma, corresponding to pronounced changes in climatic conditions and landscape deformation events. The synchronicity of the results with the established environmental framework that would promote the production and aeolian distribution of sand exemplifies the applicability of process-based modelling in constructing a timeframe of key landscape evolution events in arid environments by studying aeolian deposits. The dependence of the parameters used to determine environmental settings on sand transportation patterns additionally makes the program a powerful tool to further investigate the triggers and mechanisms of aeolian processes.
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Submitted on : Friday, August 27, 2021 - 8:03:47 AM
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Shlomy Vainer, Yoav Ben Dor. The Cosmolian program for simulating aeolian dynamics and its application to central Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Wiley, 2021, 46 (9), pp.1631-1639. ⟨10.1002/esp.5169⟩. ⟨hal-03323022⟩



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