# How does wind direction affect sand dunes?

## How does wind direction affect sand dunes?

A wind of a particular velocity will move fewer larger than smaller grains. Such winds are responsible for the undulations of the sand sheets, because they alone can move coarse sands. Lighter winds blow from several different directions, and the dunes, being of finer sand, are therefore affected by several winds.

What determines the shape of a sand dune?

As mentioned, the size and shape of a dune depend on the wind and amount of sand available. The amount of sand being equal, wind conditions have a strong influence on the shape of a dune field. Constant winds tend to form more regularly shaped dunes or even long ridges.

Does wind shape sand dunes?

A dune is a mound of sand formed by the wind, usually along the beach or in a desert. Dunes form when wind blows sand into a sheltered area behind an obstacle. Dunes can also be formed by strong currents beneath the water.

### How far can a sand dune move in one day?

Small dunes move more rapidly than do large ones, and movement of a meter per day may be common during a region’s windy season. Dunes may be ephemeral, reaching 1 m or more in height in a few hours if winds are sufficiently strong, only to vanish as quickly if the wind direction changes.

What can the size and shape of a sand dune tell you about how it was formed?

Summary: The dynamics of dunes are the result of the interaction between the wind, which by transporting sand grains remodels their shape, and the shape of the dune which, in return, controls atmospheric flow. Dunes can take the form of crescents, stars or parallel waves.

Why do these dunes have different shapes?

Each dune type is the result of different wind patterns, and the presence or lack of vegetation on the ground. “Chinese Walls” form on tops of reversing dunes (see animation above). Star dunes have three or more arms, formed from multiple wind directions.

## Does a sand dune form fast or slow?

high, and speed along the basin floor as much as 40 feet a year. Transverse dunes form long ridges of sand, and can be very tall. They move much more slowly – usually between 8 to 12 feet a year.

Why are sand dunes not in the same direction?

If the wind were a homogeneous stream of air blowing from one constant direction, long straight dune ridges oriented at right angles to the wind would result. Most dunes, however, are neither straight nor at right angles to the wind, and this indicates that the winds are not a uniform stream or that they blow from different directions.

How does wind speed up a sand dune?

When wind blows across a desert it carries sand grains in a jumping motion called saltation (Siever, 1988). The wind speeds up when it encounters the incline of a dune, allowing it to carry even more sand (Pennicott, 2002).

### How tall does a wind have to be to pick up sand?

The near-surface velocity must rise above a certain threshold value before sand will be picked up, the value depending on the size of the sand grains; for example, a wind of 12 km per hour measured at a height of 10 metres is required to move sands 0.02 centimetre in diameter, and a 21-km-per-hour wind is required to move 0.06-cm sands.

Where does the wind come from in a sandstorm?

Strong winds often blow from a particular direction, as in the southern Sahara, where the intense winds of sandstorms come predominantly from one direction. Such winds are responsible for the undulations of the sand sheets, because they alone can move coarse sands.