Estimation of dune celerity and sand flux in part of West Rajasthan, Gadra area of the Thar Desert using temporal remote sensing data

Lydia Sam*, Nidhi Gahlot, B. G. Prusty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The main objectives of this study were to estimate the dune celerity and sand flux in an arid environment (Gadra in Barmer District in Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India) using multi-temporal remote sensing data. Dunal shift estimation and interdunal space estimation, which are crucial for calculating sand flux, were also performed. We applied this method to two Cartosat-1 scenes (stereopairs) of years 2010 and 2011. Co-registration of Optically Sensed Images and Correlation was utilized to meet the above mentioned objectives. The mean dune shift for the study area for a year was estimated to be 1.25 m. Mean dune celerity was estimated as 0.0034 m/day or 1.24 m/year. Mean sand flux was estimated to be 0.0156 or 5.69 m 3 /m/year. Based on the results of the dune migration pattern, the co-registration accuracy was found to be 0.70 pixels, wherein the pixel resolution of input data was 2.50 m. This indicates that the root mean square error (RMSE) is about 1.60 m. However, our results demonstrated that dune celerity is 1.24 m per annum, which is within the RMSE level of the analysis. Therefore, this corroborates with the results that during the approximately 1-year time period, there is no apparent movement of the sand dunes in the study area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the Defence Terrain Research Laboratory, DRDO for granting access to Cartosat-1 data, and USGS for free access to SRTM image library. We thank Dr. Pieter Vermeesch (UCL, London) for the discussion and suggestions regarding technical issues and Mr. Anshuman Bhardwaj (DRDO) for his patient help and support. We also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments which were insightful and beneficial.


  • COSI-Corr
  • Dune celerity
  • Remote sensing
  • Sand dunes
  • Sand flux


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