Wind erosion

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Last updated: February 8, 2019

Wind erosion is important because of it has a low density it is less capable of moving coarse materials and because it is not confined and is able to spread sediment over large areas as well as high into the atmosphere. Wind erodes by deflation, which is the lifting and removal of loose material. Deflation causes blowouts and desert pavement. Blowouts are shallow depressions that range from less than one meter deep and three meters wide to more than forty-five meters deep and several kilometers wide. Desert pavement is a stony veneer formed by a layer of coarse pebbles and cobbles that are too large to be moved by the wind.

Wind also erodes by abrasion. Wind abrasion is caused by windblown sand which will cut and polish exposed rock surfaces. Wind abrasion is given much credit for producing many desert features, however this is not likely due to the fact that wind is usually capable picking sand approximately one meter above the ground so the vertical effectiveness of the “sandblasting effect” is limited.

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(Lutgens and Tarbuck, 2008)


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