Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


LANCASTER, Nick, Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512 and HALFEN, Alan F., Dept. of Geography, University of Kansas, 1475 Jayhawk Blvd, Rm. 213, Lawrence, KS 66045,

Sand seas and dune fields are globally significant depositional landforms and sedimentary deposits, which archive the effects of climate and sea level change on a variety of temporal and spatial scales. Dune systems provide a valuable source of information on past climate conditions, including evidence for periods of aridity and unique data on past wind regimes. Large quantities of geomorphic and chronological data from these dune systems exist, but these data remain disconnected, making comparisons of dune systems challenging at global and regional scales.

The primary goal of this project is to develop a global digital database of chronologic information for periods of desert sand dune accumulation and stabilization, as well as, pertinent stratigraphic and geomorphic information. This database can then be used to 1) document the history of aeolian processes in arid regions with emphasis on dune systems in low and mid latitude deserts, 2) correlate periods of sand accumulation and stability with other terrestrial and marine paleoclimatic proxies and records, and 3) develop an improved understanding of the response of dune systems to climate change.

The database currently resides in Microsoft Access format, which allows searching and filtering of data. The database includes 4 linked tables containing information on the site, chronological control (radiocarbon or luminescence), and the pertinent literature citations. Thus far the database contains information for 1024 sites world wide, comprising 2870 luminescence and radiocarbon ages, though these numbers increase regularly as new data is added. The database is only available on request at this time, however, an online, GIS database is being developed and will be available in the near future. Data outputs from the online database will include PDF reports and Google Earth formatted data sets for quick viewing of data. Additionally, data will be available in a gridded format for wider use in data-model comparisons.

  • GSA New dunes atlas.pdf (5.6 MB)