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Keywords:

  • Africa;
  • Sahara;
  • eolian processes;
  • geomorphology;
  • remote sensing;
  • sand dunes

[1] Although the dynamics of individual barchan dunes are well understood, their interactions are the subject of ongoing scientific interest and debate. Numerical and analog model predictions of shape-preserving binary dune collisions have been hard to test due to the long timescales over which such processes typically occur. This paper documents ten binary dune collisions in a 45-year time sequence of satellite images from the Bodélé Depression in Chad. The observations confirm that when two barchan dunes collide, a transfer of mass occurs so that one dune appears to travel through the other unscathed, like a solitary wave.