Measurement of Barchan Dune Migration Rates in the Al-Huwamiliyah dune field, Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait

Authors: Richard Daniels*, Washington State Department of Transportation
Topics: Geomorphology, Hazards and Vulnerability, Middle East
Keywords: dune, sediment transport, hazard, Kuwait
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 5:50 PM
Room: Virtual 52
Presentation File: Download



The largest concentration of sand dunes in the State of Kuwait are in the Al-Huwamiliyah dune field, which extends from the Iraq border and the Udairi Range Complex (URC) in northwest Kuwait to the border with Saudi Arabia in the south. The URC is the U.S. Army's premier training center within the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations. This dune field contains 99% of the large dunes (>900 m2) in Kuwait. These Barchan dunes are perched on caliche pavement allowing them to migrate rapidly southeasterly when driven by prevailing northeasterly winds. Economic development in this area has increased since the first Gulf War (1991). Structures and roads are now being constructed in the region with little regard to the negative economic impacts that will occur when these dunes migrate through these facilities.

In 1993 a study of 10 Barchan dunes located south of the URC found an average southeasterly migration rate of 26 m/year (Khalaf and Al-Ajmi 1993); a similar study of 86 dunes conducted in 2005 found a 25 m/year rate (Al-Dousari and Pye 2005). In this study a solitary large Barchan dune located within the URC northern impact area was surveyed using satellite imagery and two GPS ground surveys. The annual southeasterly rate of migration for this dune is 16 m/year. Though lower than found previously, this rate still translates to 160 m per decade and highlights the need to consider the location and direction of advance of nearby dunes when selecting locations to construct permanent facilities.

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