Synopsis top ↑
The study of dust is the area of aeolian geomorphology which has grown most quickly in recent years, not least because of the need to understand and mitigate the hazard caused dust emissions. In this set, Nickling et al. report measurements of dust emissions from rangeland in Australia, Gillies et al. recognise dust sources from their chemical profile, Hatano & Hatano discuss the aeolian migration of fallout from Chernobyl and Leys & McTainsh consider aeolian sediment and nutrient inputs as a result of dust depositor. In addition, the study of deposition of wind-blown dust as loess is another growth area, and Richardson et al. report a chronology for loess in the USA. The study of wind erosion is important both for an understanding of the emission of material as source areas for dust transport (McTainsh et al.) and for the creation of landforme, in this case, yardangs (Goudie et al.). Wind erosion landforme have been a relatively neglected area of aeolian geomorphology, but we may expect to see an increasing interest in these geomorphological features in the coming years.
While these other areas have increased in interest and study, the study of geomorphological processes on aeolian dune forms, which was so central to aeolian geomorphology for a while, has now become a relatively less important. This is reflected in the section on dunes which is, with one exception, concerned with their use as palaeoenvironmental indicators rather than with mechanisms of formation or development. Papers presented in this volume here report the paleoenvironmental significance of inland Quaternary dunes in the UK (Bateman et al.), coastal dunes in France (Clarke et al.), lunettes in the US High Plains (Rich et al.) and dunes in the Thar Desert, India (Thomas et al.).
The final paper reports a new application of a technique for measuring dune
movement (Stokes et al.).
Another development is evident from the papers: Luminescence dating is now being widely and routinely applied in aeolian geomorphology, a change which is noticeable even since the last in this series of international conferences in 1994. All bar one of the papers in the section on dune forms and palaeoenvironments as well as the paper by Richardson et al. on loess in the USA make use of chronologies derived from luminescence dating. Before the advent of luminescence dating, aeolian geomorphologists frequently relied on stratigraphic associations and dates derived from interbedded, non-aeolian deposits. As this set shows the development of the technique has provided an explosion of new dates.