Nebkha development and sediment supply

Patrick A. Hesp, Luis Hernández-Calvento, Antonio I. Hernández-Cordero, Juan B. Gallego-Fernández, Levi García Romero, Graziela Miot da Silva, Marie Helene Ruz

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the role of sediment supply in controlling the formation and the spatial patterns of nebkha, numbers and sizes, present in foredunes fronting coastal dunefields of the arid northwest African and the Canary Islands coasts. Sediment supply is estimated qualitatively and quantitatively by various measures, and the number and size of nebkhas are obtained on a range of beach-dune systems. In the case of the Canary Islands, LiDAR data and orthophotos with high spatial resolution (0.25 m) are used to measure sediment supply/activity, nebkha numbers and sizes, and vegetation variables, whereas data availability is less on the African coast. Results show that sediment supply exerts a major control on nebkha development such that as sediment supply increases, the number of coastal nebkha decreases, and the size of individual plants/nebkha increases. Once sediment supply is large, nebkha can only form on the immediate backshore if space is available, and a point is reached when the sediment supply is so large that nebkha do not, or cannot form. The data presented here provide two indicators which could be applicable to other dune systems. Firstly, by estimating the number of nebkha and the vegetation cover, the degree of aeolian sedimentary activity or sediment supply might be estimated. Secondly, the type of aeolian landform present provides a qualitative indication of sediment supply and aeolian activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144815
Number of pages12
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


  • Canary Islands
  • Coastal dunes
  • Foredunes
  • Nebkha
  • NW African coast
  • Sediment supply


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