David’s Journal: Current
SOME roar, some boom, others squeak and a few even sing. They entranced Marco Polo when he crossed the Gobi desert in the 13th century, and references to their mysterious sounds can be found in 9th-century Chinese literature. Now one physicist has put forward an explanation for why sand dunes hit the right notes.
‘Singing dunes constitute one of the most puzzling and impressive phenomena I have ever encountered,’ says Bruno Andreotti of the University of Paris 7. Andreotti has been studying the crescent-shaped sand dunes of the Sahara desert in Morocco, one of around 30 locations in the world where dunes are known to sing.
The Saharan dunes hum like a low-flying, twin-engined jet, and can be heard kilometres away. Elsewhere, dune sounds have been likened to drums, foghorns and trumpets, among other things. In all cases, the sound seems to be triggered by sand avalanching down the sides.
New Scientist Premium- Dune tunes…the greatest hits – News
IT MIGHT not knock Coldplay or Kanye West off the top of charts, but physicists who say they have cracked the riddle of ‘singing’ sand dunes are compiling a CD of sand music. The team say their new theory allows them to predict the notes that different dunes will make.
Doesn’t that sound intriguing? I am much more likely to buy a CD of sand sounds than Coldplay or Kanye West…