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AAPG Bulletin

Abstract

AAPG Bulletin, V. 91, No. 5 (May 2007), P. 645-652.

Copyright copy2007. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1306/11200606009

Air permeameter investigation of surficial dune structures in the Nebraska Sand Hills

David Goss,1 Vitaly A. Zlotnik2

1Department of Geosciences, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 214 Bessey Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0340; present address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Nebraska Wesleyan University, 5000 St. Paul Ave., Lincoln, Nebraska 68504-2794; [email protected]
2Department of Geosciences, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 214 Bessey Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0340

ABSTRACT

A permeameter was designed and constructed, and its theory of operation was developed; it has a subsurface probe for internal permeability measurements in poorly consolidated sediments. It was used to measure the permeability of sand at five depths in the upper 1.3 m (4.3 ft) of structural features on a large vegetated composite crescentic dune in the Nebraska Sand Hills. Permeability measurements were taken at 34 locations on the dune's steep leeward face, its long windward slope, fans below the leeward face, blowouts, peaks, crests, transverse ridges, benches, and the heads of gullies. Correlation of the permeabilities with the morphology of the dune is illustrated by a plot of the depth-averaged permeabilities and dune profile along a transect perpendicular to the lee face. Some of the permeabilities do not match the values anticipated on the basis of the theory of sedimentation (and experimental results) for active crescentic dunes. Although the large-scale features of the dune studied were evidently because of the original eolian sedimentation, the permeability was found to be strongly influenced by dune degradation processes involving running water and animal activity.

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