A Classification of the Coastal Dunes of Louisiana

by W. Ritchie, Univ, Aberdeen, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico


The aeolian deposits of the barrier coastlines of Louisiana to the west of the active delta of the Mississippi have been studied intensively for almost 20 years. The dunes, dune terraces and transient wind blown accumulations on upper beach slopes and washover surfaces are in the main defence regional coastal erosion and inundation especially during storms and hurricanes. These dune-forms are rarely more that 1.5m high and have a short lifespan, normally less than a decade but their growth and stabilisation are rapid due to propitious climatic and biotic factors. Four modes of deposition have been recognised: edge dune, washover rim dune, foredune and pioneer/embryo dune. Special reference is also made to the unique high transverse dune ridges of the north Chandeleur Islands. All those dune forms are part of a single transgressive geomorphological system which is based on a rapid interchange between beach processes, washover deposition and some type of aeolian landform.

Subject Headings: Dunes | Erosion | Coastal processes | Beaches | Geomorphology | Wind engineering | Transient response | United States | Louisiana | Mississippi

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