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Researchers reveal how sand dunes are formed

By Liji Varghese | Last Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014 - 19:00

Zee News Bureau/Liji Varghese

New Delhi: Researchers, after a four-year experiment have revealed how prevailing winds create sand dunes on Earth.

Since sand dunes are one of the most difficult landscapes on Earth to be recreated in a laboratory, the researchers bulldozed nearly 40 acres (16 hectares) of Inner Mongolia`s Tengger Desert for the experiment in 2008. For the next four years, Clément Narteau of the Global Institute for Physics in Paris, France, and his colleagues closely observed the formation of the dunes by tracking the winds.
The study found that the newly created dunes under the influence of desert`s seasonally varying wind patterns grew at an angle of about 50 degrees to the overall wind direction. The dunes` alignment initially shifted back and forth with the changing winds and eventually the final orientation of each dune was a compromise between the two wind directions, their durations and their relative strengths.

The research could help astronomers determine weather patterns on distant planets and moons.

First Published: Monday, January 13, 2014 - 18:58

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