Wednesday, July 26

secret of the singing sand dunes

I've got a new article on Seed Magazine's website:

The bone-shakingly low bass notes that bellow during sand dune avalanches have captured the attention of explorers from Marco Polo to Darwin.

Likewise, people playing in sand dunes have found that pushing sand in different ways gives various notes: Scooting on your rump down a dune, pushing the sand downhill with your feet, triggers a low booming noise around 50 to 300 hertz (the low end of a piano scale). Pushing the sand around by hand or walking on so-called "squeaking beaches" yields higher-pitched squeals reminiscent of birds chirping or balloons rubbing together.

The causes of these sounds have eluded scientiests for more than a century.

Now a group of researchers, led by physicist Stéphane Douady of the University of Paris VII: Deins Diderot, report that they have performed the first replication of these sand dune sounds in a lab....

Read the rest of the story on Seed's online news site.


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