Death Valley Dunes in the evening light
We wandered out onto the dune field looking for some interaction with the forces causing saltation and traction.
by Tiffany and Sommer
Aeolian Transport is the transport of particles by wind. There are three basic types of aeolian transport: suspension (when a grain is suspended in the wind), saltation (when a grain bounces with the wind), and traction (when a grain rolls on the ground). When wind-transported sand grains come to a stop, they can form sand dunes. Specific to Death Valley, CA, there are three major types of dunes. Barchan dunes are dunes that are crescent shaped and are formed by a slip-face at the top of the dune. These are the largest of all dunes and can grow to be several hundred feet, though they only are present where there is not a constant supply of sand. Death Valley also has transverse dunes. These dunes are formed parallel to the wind and are caused by the wind blowing in one direction. These dunes are usually no more than 30 feet high. The most common dune in Death Valley is the star dune. These are formed by constant winds coming from more than one direction, and have more than one corner. This is the sort of dune seen in Stovepipe Wells and in Eureka Valley.