Aeolian ripple migration and associated creep transport rates

Douglas J. Sherman, Pei Zhang, Raleigh L. Martin, Jean T. Ellis, Jasper F. Kok, Eugene J. Farrell, Bailiang Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Wind-formed ripples are distinctive features of many sandy aeolian environments, and their development and migration are basic responses to sand transport via saltation. Using data from the literature and from original field experiments, we presented empirical models linking dimensionless migration rates, (Formula Presented.) (ur is the ripple migration speed, g is the gravity acceleration, and d is the grain diameter) with dimensionless shear velocity, u*/u*t (u* is shear velocity and u*t is fluid threshold shear velocity). Data from previous studies provided 34 usable cases from four wind tunnel experiments and 93 cases from two field experiments. Original data comprising 68 cases were obtained from sites in Ceará, Brazil (26) and California, USA (42), using combinations of sonic anemometry, sand traps, photogrammetry, and laser distance sensors and particle counters. The results supported earlier findings of distinctively different relationships between (Formula Presented.) and u*/u*t for wind tunnel and field data. With our data, we could also estimate the contribution of creep transport associated with ripple migration to total transport rates. We calculated ripple-creep transport for 1 ≤ u*/u*t ≤ 2.5 and found that this accounted for about 3.6% (standard deviation = 2.3%) of total transport.

Original languageEnglish
Article number389
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Bedform
  • Reptation
  • Saltation
  • Sand transport
  • Scaling
  • Shear velocity


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