Abrasion control on dune colour: Muleshoe Dunes, SW USA
White, K. and Bullard, J.E. (2009) Abrasion control on dune colour: Muleshoe Dunes, SW USA. Geomorphology, 105 (1-2). pp. 59-66. ISSN 0169-555X
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.01.019
The Muleshoe Dunes, an east-west trending dunefield on the border separating Texas and New Mexico, consist of two distinct components: a white (carbonate rich) component and an overlying pink (quartz rich) component. The pink component exhibits significant spatial variation in redness. The reddest sands, in the western part of the dunefield, decrease in redness towards the east. This gradient is thought to result from abrasion of all iron-rich, red clay coating as the sediments were transported eastward by Late Quaternary aeolian processes. The effects of aeolian abrasion on the spectral signature and surface texture of the sediments were examined using laboratory abrasion experiments. Changes in spectral reflectance of abrasion samples from the laboratory were compared to field samples that were abraded naturally because of sediment transport. The changes resulting from increased time of abrasion are similar to those observed with increased distance downwind in the dunefield. These results suggest that downwind abrasion can explain the pattern of dune colour in the Muleshoe Dunes, although this does not preclude other possible causes. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.