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Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (3): 357-370    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0099-1
Morphological variation of star dune and implications for dune management: a case study at the Crescent Moon Spring scenic spot of Dunhuang, China
Weimin ZHANG*(), Lihai TAN, Zhishan AN, Kecun ZHANG, Yang GAO, Qinghe NIU
Dunhuang Gobi Desert Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Aerial photographs and 3-D laser scans of a 90-m high star dune at the Crescent Moon Spring scenic spot in Dunhuang, China, are used to investigate the changes in dune morphology on timescales from months to decades. The result revealed that relative-equilibrium airflow strength in three wind directions of northeast, west and south was an important condition for the stability of star dunes with limited migration. Transverse and longitudinal airflows exerted a crucial impact on variation processes of star dune morphology. Controlled by transverse airflows,the easterly winds, the east side was dominated by wind erosion; and strong deposition occurred on the south-south-east arm with a maximum deposition rate of 0.44 m/a in the 46-a monitoring period, causing the east side becoming steep and high. Controlled by longitudinal airflows, the westerly winds, the west-north-west side was mainly eroded and the north arm migrated from west to east with a rate of 0.30 m/a, causing the dune slope becoming gentle and elongate. The local air circulation (southerly winds) exerted a significant impact on the development process of the star dune. Due to the influence of human activities, the south side present surface processes from a concave profile to a convex profile in 46 a, which is a potential threat to the Crescent Moon Spring. The results indicate that rehabilitating the airflow field at most is a crucial strategy to the protection of Crescent Moon Spring from burial. Opening up the passage of easterly, westerly and southerly winds through intermediately cutting the protection forest, demolishing the enclosed wall and changing the pavilion into a porous pattern have been suggested to protect the Crescent Moon Spring from burial.

Key wordsstar dune      morphology variation      erosion and deposition      time scale      Crescent Moon Spring     
Received: 04 September 2018      Published: 10 June 2019
Corresponding Authors: Weimin ZHANG     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Weimin ZHANG, Lihai TAN, Zhishan AN, Kecun ZHANG, Yang GAO, Qinghe NIU. Morphological variation of star dune and implications for dune management: a case study at the Crescent Moon Spring scenic spot of Dunhuang, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(3): 357-370.

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