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ABSTRACT

Three orders of aeolian bounding surface are arranged in a hierarchy based on their extent and regularity.

First order surfaces are the most extensive. They are flat-lying bedding planes cutting across all other aeolian structures and are attributed to the passage of the largest aeolian bedforms—draas—across an area. First order surfaces cut across second order surfaces, which are gentle to moderately dipping surfaces bounding sets of cross-strata. Second order surfaces are attributed to the passage of dunes across draas, or to longitudinal dunes migrating across the lower ice slopes of draas. Third order surfaces bound bundles of laminae within coscts of cross laminae and are due either to local fluctuations in wind direction and velocity or to changes in airflow patterns caused by configurational changes in dune patterns. All these bounding surfaces could be explained by wind variations and dune migration, but the rates of dune migration relative to probable sediment deposition rates are incompatible with this general explanation of the form and spacing of the bounding surfaces. The concept of climbing bedforms of different hierarchical order together with subsidence provides a better explanation. Analogous bounding surfaces in aqueous bedforms have already been attributed to climbing bedforms of differing hierarchical order.