Flow and sediment transport dynamics in a slot and cauldron blowout and over a foredune, Mason Bay, Stewart Island (Rakiura), NZ

Patrick Hesp, Michael Hilton, Teresa Konlecher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    This study is the first to simultaneously compare flow and sediment transport through a blowout and over an adjacent foredune, and the first study of flow within a highly sinuous, slot and cauldron blowout. Flow across the foredune transect is similar to that observed in other studies and is primarily modulated by across-dune vegetation density differences. Flow within the blowout is highly complex and exhibits pronounced accelerations and jet flow. It is characterised by marked helicoidal coherent vortices in the mid-regions, and topographically vertically forced flow out of the cauldron portion of the blowout. Instantaneous sediment transport within the blowout is significant compared to transport onto and/or over the adjacent foredune stoss slope and ridge, with the blowout providing a conduit for suspended sediment to reach the downwind foredune upper stoss slope and crest. Medium term (4 months) aeolian sedimentation data indicates sand is accumulating in the blowout entrance while erosion is taking place throughout the majority of the slot, and deposition is occurring downwind of the cauldron on the foredune ridge. The adjacent lower stoss slope of the foredune is accreting while the upper stoss slope is slightly erosional. Longer term (16 months) pot trap data shows that the majority of foredune upper stoss slope and crest accretion occurs via suspended sediment delivery from the blowout, whereas the majority of the suspended sediment arriving to the well-vegetated foredune stoss slope is deposited on the mid-stoss slope. The results of this study indicate one mechanism of how marked alongshore foredune morphological variability evolves due to the role of blowouts in topographically accelerating flow, and delivering significant aeolian sediment downwind to relatively discrete sections of the foredune.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)598-610
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2017


    • Flow dynamics, aeolian sedimentation
    • Foredune
    • Slot and cauldron blowout


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