Evolution of sand seas: past, present...and future?
One of the world’s greatest sand seas, the Namib, lies to the north of the Congress location. Sand seas, dominated by aeolian sediments and landforms but with lacustrine and fluvial features and facies, are an important and prominent component of modern deserts, but are well represented in the rock record too. Modern sand seas are a function of both contemporary processes and the accumulated record of past conditions, often preserved in the sediments within present landforms. Explaining sand sea evolution and responses to changes in external forcing over multiple timescales, both past and future, therefore requires knowledge of both process operation, and the controls on accumulation, preservation and erosion. We invite contributions from studies of ancient, Quaternary, and current sand seas that a) explore the controls on sedimentary accumulation and preservation; b) explain the climatic and environmental controls on sand sea development, c) examine potential sand sea responses to future climate changes, and d) present new methodologies for sand sea sedimentological and geomorphological research. We expect contributions from many world sand seas, and also from research into those of planets other than our own.
David Thomas and Charlie Bristow