Earth surface processes and landforms vol:26 issue:11 pages:1213-1219
This article presents a simple physical concept of aeolian dust accumulation, based on the behaviour of the subprocesses of dust deposition and dust erosion. The concept is tested in an aeolian dust wind tunnel. The agreement between the accumulation curve predicted by the model and the accumulation curve obtained in the experiments is close to perfect and shows that it is necessary to discriminate between the processes of aeolian dust deposition and aeolian dust accumulation. Two important thresholds determine the accumulation process. For wind speeds below the deflation threshold, the aeolian accumulation of dust increases linearly with the wind speed. For wind velocities between the deflation threshold and the accumulation limit, the sedimentation balance is above unity and there is still accumulation, though it rapidly drops once the deflation threshold has been exceeded. At wind speeds beyond the accumulation limit, the sedimentation balance is below unity and there will no longer be an accumulation of dust. The thresholds have been determined in a wind tunnel test at friction velocity u(*) = 0.34 m s(-1) (deflation threshold) and u(*) = 0.43 in s(-1) (accumulation limit), but these values are only indicative since they depend heavily on the characteristics of the accumulation surface and of the airborne grains. Copyright (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.