Flow dynamics and geomorphology of a trough blowout

Patrick A. Hesp, Robert Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamics and geomorphological development of a trough blowout located at Fiona Beach in the Myall Lakes National Park in NSW, Australia, are examined. Wind speeds, velocities and flow structure were measured utilizing an array of miniature Rimco cup anemometers, Gill bivane and UVW instruments, and wind vanes. Flow measurements indicate that when the wind approaches the trough blowout parallel to the throat orientation, jets occur both in the deflation basin and along the erosional walls, relative flow deceleration and expansion occurs up the depositional lobe, jets are formed over the depositional lobe crest accompanied by downwind flow separation on the leeward side of the lobe, and flow separation and the formation of corkscrew vortices occur over the crests of the erosional walls. Maximum erosion and transport occurs up the deflation basin and onto the depositional lobe. Trough blowout morphologies are explained as a function of these flow patterns. When the wind approaches the blowout obliquely, the flow is steered considerably within the blowout, and the degree and complexity of topographic steering is dependent on the blowout topography. The flow is usually extremely turbulent and large corkscrew vortices are common. The local topography of a blowout can be very important in determining overall sand transport and blowout evolutionary conditions and paths. Estimates of potential sand transport within the blowout may be up to two orders of magnitude lower than actual rates if remotely sensed wind data are used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-525
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


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