Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



The Texas barrier islands have been studied and well documented in relation to barrier island evolution and morphology (Leatherman, 1979; Morton, 1994; White and Weise, 1980). The detailed analysis and mapping of various dune types and systems that comprise Padre Island National Seashore, specifically parabolic dunes, is the focus of this research. Dune surveys and doqq’s, along with wind and weather records were used to develop an improved morphodynamic model for parabolic dunes. The wind records were provided by the Padre Island National Seashore, the National Data Climate Center, and the Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network. Individual dune surveys were preformed on three separate parabolic dunes for this research. These dune surveys were converted to digital elevation models and raster data, were geospatial analysis was performed. This research project investigates the geomorphic process of parabolic dunes in three parts. The first part/question of this project will be to access the accuracy and completeness of current models (Pye, 1982; Thompson, 1983) in a barrier island environment different from the environments used in previous model development. The second part of the project will attempt to answer if long term wind and weather data provide insights into conditions that are related to dune growth or change. The third part of this project utilized the recent surveys and GPS data, along with doqq’s from 1996 and 2004 to assess the migration of parabolic dunes on Padre Island National Seashore. Rates of parabolic dune movement ranged from 1.7 m a-1 for dune 1, to 17.7 m a-1 for dune 3. A new parabolic dune model was developed involving seven separate stages. The model may help to provide an increased understanding of the geomorphic evolution of parabolic dunes.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Patrick A. Hesp