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Treebeard's Stumper
7 May 1999

Wind Ripples

It's sure been windy this Spring! Julie and I were at Surf Beach beyond Lompoc recently on a day when the wind was howling onshore. There was a thin layer of sand flying over the beach in the wind, enough to sandblast our legs! In the midst of this windy chaos, I noticed regular rows of ripple marks in the sand along the beach, evenly spaced about 3 inches apart perpendicular to the wind, like tiny sand dunes. How can wind produce such regular sand ripples? What does the spacing depend on? Where else in nature does something similar occur?

Wind ripples at Surf Beach.

Answer


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Copyright © 1999 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org