Category Armchair Naturalist
EurekaAlert | February 4, 2020
A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge has found that, even though they are inanimate objects, sand dunes can 'communicate' with each other.
Using an experimental dune 'racetrack', the researchers observed that two identical dunes start out close together, but over time they get further and further apart. This interaction is controlled by turbulent swirls from the upstream dune, which push the downstream dune away. The results, reported in the journal Physical Review Letters, are key for the study of long-term dune migration, which threatens shipping channels, increases desertification, and can bury infrastructure such as highways.