Understanding modern features allows for their use as analogues for understanding the environments of the past and even environments on other planetary bodies. This study uses Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) to image the near surface sedimentary structures on a large linear dune in the northern Namib Sand Sea and image the sedimentary structure of an auxiliary dune. GPR data was collected using a 200 MHz antenna with a continuous scan method and was processed by removing direct arrival, gain balancing, migration and more which produced the highest resolution imagery from this region to date. Large dune data was analyzed to determine depositional process for different sedimentary patterns observed. Auxiliary dune data was analyzed to determine dune type and migration direction. Our results indicate five sedimentary process zones in the near surface of the large primary dune. These processes include motion of the dune crest as well as different phases of superimposed dune deposition. It is evident from our interpretation that there have been at least two phases of superimposed dune deposition separated by an erosional process boundary. These phases of deposition have produced a reversed succession of strata on opposing sides of the dune with deposits of 3D superimposed dunes beneath 2D superimposed dune deposits on the west and deposits of 2D superimposed dunes beneath 3D superimposed dune deposits on the east. This suggests a reversal of wind environment in the region in the recent past and could provide insight into the building and stability of linear dunes on Earth. Our results also indicate that the auxiliary study dune is oblique in nature with migration to the north-northeast and that it and other similar dunes in the vicinity are formed because of their proximity to Tsondab Vlei. The apparent dependence of these smaller scale features on interruptions in the dunefield like Tsondab Vlei suggest that the normal wind patterns within the dunefield are a combination of the regional wind patterns with significant influence from the large linear dunes themselves.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





Namib Sand Sea, linear dunes, superimposed dunes, GPR, process sedimentology

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Geology Commons