Reflectance spectroscopy and ASTER mapping of aeolian dunes of Shaqra and Tharmada Provinces, Saudi Arabia: Field validation and laboratory confirmation
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Spatial variability of grain sizes and mapping of aeolian dunes is important to study the sand erosion, transport, and dune movement and to understand the dune encroachment and land degradation. This study examines the grain size statistical parameters and mineralogical composition of 68 sand samples collected from 17 crescentic dunes and assesses the source and depositional environment of these dunes. The analyses of samples for grain sizes resulted that the sands are characteristics to fine with an average size of 2.28 Φ and classified as moderately well-sorted(0.59 Φ), mesokurtic (0.97 Φ), and fine to coarsely skewed (0.14 Φ). X-Ray Diffraction shows that the dunes are deposited mainly by quartz, calcite, and haematite. The occurrence of absorption features near 0.5, 0.9, and 2.22 μm confirm the presence of such iron and aluminosilicate minerals in the dunes. The dunes of the provinces were mapped using TIR bands of ASTER satellite data by Carbonate index (CI) and Quartz index (QI). A good agreement among the results of grain size analyses, spectral measurements, mineralogical studies, and mapping of dunes with the field observations suggests that the sand deposits in the study area have a diversity of sources in the aeolian environment.
- Atmospheric Science Cluster [33 items ]