Shifting sand dunes amongst green corridors? Landscape evolution at the archaeological site of Narabeb in the Namib Sand Sea

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationResearch


Ongoing research as part of S.A.N.D.S. (Survey and Archaeology of the Namib Desert Surface) is producing new datasets of lithic artefact characteristics, descriptions of sedimentary sequences and luminescence dating chronologies for aeolian sand-rich horizons that bracket water-lain sediments. This presentation will discuss the archaeological site of Narabeb, ~30 km southwest of the Gobabeb Namib Research Institute. Today this site is a long, narrow interdune pan, with 150 m high north-south complex linear dunes. In the interdune there is a ~36 m thick sloping section of at least seven water-lain mud-rich units, interbedded with aeolian sands (northern sampling location), whilst a few km to the south water-lain units separated by sands reach only a few m thickness (southern sampling location).

In testing hypotheses for how water reached this site in the past we employ a quantitative approach for aeolian landscape change through time, using equations for the rate of sand accumulation (time to accumulate the equivalent sand thickness (EST) in the Narabeb locality) and the elongation rate of linear dunes. Whilst these calculations are limited by having to assume wind data for 1981-2020 is representative of the Late Quaternary, the time for EST accumulation is 208 ka, and the linear dune elongation rate of 0.309 m/a would mean it may have taken 26 ka for the complex linear dune to elongate from the southern sampling site to its current end point.
Period7 Jun 2024
Event titleWindy Day, 2024: Meeting of aeolian geomorphologists.
Event typeConference
LocationLiverpoolShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute