Star Dune Enterprise

This week’s LotW is the star dune. Like yardangs, star dunes are large scale aeolian landforms, but they’re depositional rather than erosional, and they’re composed of sand rather than sedimentary rocks. This is not the best picture, but it’s open source (from Wiki Commons), which is a good thing.

I live in a very duney landscape (the east coast of Lake Michigan) but I didn’t realize how many different shapes and sizes of dunes existed until I took a class from a coastal dune specialist. Star dunes don’t form on coasts—they’re more common in giant sand seas like those found in Algeria or Namibia—but they are awesome.

Form: 3 or more sharp-edged ridges extending from a single high pointed peak.
Composition: sand.
Formation: formed in environments with low vegetation and lots of sand where the wind blows from multiple directions. They grow up rather than out and can be some of the largest dunes in existence.

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