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Keywords:

  • aeolian dust;
  • dust deposition;
  • topography;
  • hill;
  • grain size

Abstract

Wind tunnel experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of topography on the grain size characteristics of aeolian dust deposits. Experiments were performed on three isolated hills having various size and aspect ratios. The longitudinal profile of the median grain diameter was investigated for each hill. The longitudinal dust deposition profile was also studied for nine grain size classes of between 10 and 104 µm, as were wind and dust concentration profiles in the atmosphere upwind of, over and downwind of a hill. The wind tunnel experiments show that the grain size characteristics of aeolian dust deposits are affected by topography. Most apparent is the occurrence of a zone of reduced grain size on the leeside of hills, which extends from just upwind of the summit to a distance of several times the height of the hill. Slightly coarser than normal dust is deposited on the concave windward hill slope and in a zone downwind of the area of reduced grain size, but the increase in grain size in these zones remains very small. Although the normalized dust deposition profile for a hill does not vary substantially as a function of grain size, systematic trends are observed. The most important tendencies are: (1) a progressive extension, in the downwind direction, of a zone of decreased dust deposition on the leeside of a hill (the coarser the grains, the further downwind the zone of reduced deposition extends); (2) a progressive increase in dust deposition immediately upwind of a hill (the finer the grains, the higher the deposition value upwind of a hill becomes). Both tendencies are explained by the difference in inertia of the grains, which is controlled by grain size. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.