Classic dune paper helps visualise conditions on Mars 

CDU Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and International, Professor Bob Wasson

A joint geomorphologic paper by Charles Darwin University’s Professor Bob Wasson and Dr Robert Hyde has been declared a “classic” paper by the journal Progress in Physical Geography.

The status was achieved by the number of times a paper had been cited. The paper entitled Factors determining desert dune type has been cited more than 90 times and has been used by text books around the world.

Professor Wasson and Dr Hyde’s paper aimed to link dune form to a combination of wind regime and sand supply. Then and now, the Wasson and Hyde model of four types of desert dunes: barchan, transverse, longitudinal and star, has become widely accepted. There has been wider interest in their ideas recently due to the demand for models that can be used to infer environmental conditions on other planets such as Mars, Venus and Titan.

The paper presented data from Australia deserts, along with Algeria, Peru, the Thar Desert and USA and aimed to test some of the theories that existed at the time about the factors controlling dune form.