Stability of the Interaction between Two Sand Dunes in an Idealized Laboratory Experiment

Karol A. Bacik, Colm Cille P. Caulfield, Nathalie M. Vriend

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4 Citations (SciVal)


Sand dunes, which arise spontaneously due to the dynamical interplay between a sedimentary interface and a fluid flow, are one of the most famous examples of emergence in a geological system. The large scale organization of a dune field is believed to be controlled by pairwise (either remote or direct) dune-dune interactions. Recent studies have shown that remote long-range feedback is closely related to the turbulent wake structure forming downstream of a dune. Here, we study the stability of an idealized two-dune system arising as a consequence of such remote, wake-induced interactions. The system is realized in a subaqueous quasi-2D laboratory experiment and the results are compared with a qualitative dynamical systems model. Despite its simplicity, the system exhibits rich dynamical behavior. In particular, we show that, depending on the parameter regime, the dune-dune feedback can either stabilize or destabilize the symmetric dune configuration, and we demonstrate the existence of an asymmetric attracting state coupling dunes of different sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
K. A. B. acknowledges the support of a sponsored Ph.D. studentship from Schlumberger Cambridge Research. N. M. V. is supported by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship No. URF/R1/191332. The authors thank Professor Stuart Dalziel and the technical team of the G. K. Batchelor laboratory as well as Dr. Paul Jarvis.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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