Subaqueous and Subaerial Depositional Bedforms

Thaiënne A.G.P. van Dijk, Jim Best, Andreas C.W. Baas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Depositional bedforms are rhythmic, morphological patterns on the Earth's and planetary surfaces that are generated by flow of a medium (e.g., water, air, ice) over a mobile sedimentary bed. These bedforms are ubiquitous in riverine, eolian, coastal and oceanic environments. The morphology of such bedforms interacts with their formative currents, creating modified flow dynamics, and may be influential in ecological diversity by creating different habitats, and interactions with human-made infrastructure (e.g., embankments, bridges, railways, roads). This article provides a review of different types of depositional bedforms, focussing on fluvial, marine and eolian environments, their processes of generation and morphodynamic characteristics. Recent advances in measurement techniques, data availability, quantification of observations, laboratory, field and numerical investigations and processed-based modeling have led to new insights in bedform morphology and dynamics and their implications for the interpretation of sedimentary sequences. Knowledge of depositional bedforms is essential to our understanding of contemporary and ancient fluvial, marine and eolian environments, and enhances both empirical research and physical and ecological modeling in support of practical applications and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Geology
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-6, Second Edition
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780081029091
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Barchan
  • Bedforms
  • Eolian dunes
  • Flow over dunes
  • Flow separation
  • Linear dune
  • Marine sand waves
  • Morphodynamics
  • River dunes
  • Sediment sorting
  • Superimposition
  • Tidal bedforms
  • Wind ripples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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