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Title

Sand dunes of the northern Great Plains of Canada and the United States

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AuthorMuhs, D R; Wolfe, S A
SourceHolocene climate and environmental change in the Palliser Triangle: a geoscientific context for evaluation the impacts of climate change on the southern Canadian prairies; by Lemmen, D S (ed.); Vance, R E (ed.); Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 534, 1999 p. 183-197, https://doi.org/10.4095/211117 (Open Access)
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentserial
Lang.eng
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Lemmen, D S; Vance, R E; (1999). Holocene climate and environmental change in the Palliser Triangle: a geoscientific context for evaluation the impacts of climate change on the southern Canadian prairies, Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin no. 534
File formatpdf
ProvinceSaskatchewan; Alberta; Manitoba
NTS62; 72; 82H; 82I; 82P
AreaPalliser Triangle; Montana; North Dakota; South Dakota; Great Plains; Canada; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS-114.0000 -96.0000 52.0000 45.0000
Subjectssedimentology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; dunes; eolian deposits; glacial deposits; Holocene; climatic fluctuations; vegetation; sands; sediment transport; erosion; paleoenvironment; radiocarbon dates; climate change; Quaternary
Illustrationssketch maps; analyses
ProgramPalliser Triangle Global Change Project
Image
Released2000 01 01
AbstractMostly stable dune fields are widespread over the subhumid to semiarid northern Great Plains. Although winds in the region are strong, most dunes are presently inactive because of relatively high ratios of precipitation to potential evapotranspiration, which has the dual effect of increasing dune moisture content and maintaining a vegetation cover. Dune fields are relatively small, as most are derived from finite supplies of glaciofluvial or glaciolacustrine sediments from the last deglaciation. Many dunes, however, are not relict features from the last deglaciation. The last episodes of eolian activity were during the late Holocene, although there is as yet little evidence for regional synchroneity of sand movement. The strong winds and negative moisture regime have combined to produce an eolian system that is highly sensitive to small shifts in climate. The potential for reactivation of northern Great Plains sand dunes is great, whether due to natural climatic variations or human-induced greenhouse warming.
GEOSCAN ID211117