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ABSTRACT

A transverse crescentic draa in the Algodones dune field, California, was monitored for a year using surface process mapping, aerial photography and supplemental wind measurement. The draa is oriented by the long-term resultant wind, whereas its superimposed features are in equilibrium with the bedform-modified secondary airflow. Surface airflow and the movement of superimposed bedforms is typically oblique or parallel to the draa brinkline, particularly on the lee slope. Comparison of measurements of draa movement and sand deposition on the lee slope, with expected rates calculated from wind data and draa size, confirm that there is a significant component of sand flow parallel to the draa brinkline. The internal structure being generated at the base of the draa lee slope is inferred from the surface processes active there. Within the space of a kilometer two types of compound cross-strata, separated by an area of simple cross-strata, are being produced. This has significant implications for interpretations of ancient aeolian strata. Variations in internal structure types found in lateral sequence may be generated by one complex bedform, and these cross-strata may be simple or compound. Second-order bounding surface orientations indicate resultant primary palaeowind directions; compound cross-strata dip directions indicate secondary flow conditions. The existence of cross-strata dip directions oblique or perpendicular to the second-order surface indicates longitudinal secondary flow on the lee face, but not necessarily a longitudinal or oblique draa. Without further detailed knowledge about various draa configurations and behaviour, stratification attributed to draas can be used only to interpret activity on the lower draa lee face.