The dune size distribution and scaling relations of barchan dunefields

Orencio Duran Vinent, V. Schwämmle, P.G. Lind, H.J. Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Barchan dunes emerge as a collective phenomena involving the generation of thousands of them in so called barchan dune fields. By measuring the size and position of dunes in Moroccan barchan dune fields, we find that these dunes tend to distribute uniformly in space and follow an unique size distribution function. We introduce an analytical mean-field approach to show that this empirical size distribution emerges from the interplay of dune collisions and sand flux balance, the two simplest mechanisms for size selection. The analytical model also predicts a scaling relation between the fundamental macroscopic properties characterizing a dune field, namely the inter-dune spacing and the first and second moments of the dune size distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalGranular matter
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • IR-86532
  • METIS-254392


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