Home » They discover the mystery of one of the largest dunes on Earth that moves through the Moroccan desert

They discover the mystery of one of the largest dunes on Earth that moves through the Moroccan desert

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They discover the mystery of one of the largest dunes on Earth that moves through the Moroccan desert

Scientists Successfully Calculate Age of Lala Lallia Star Dune in Morocco

For the first time ever, scientists have managed to calculate the age of one of the largest and most complex types of dunes on our planet. The star dunes, also known as pyramidal dunes, are named for their distinctive shapes and can reach heights of hundreds of meters. Found in Africa, Asia, North America, and even on Mars, experts had previously been unable to determine the formation date of these unique dunes.

Now, a team of scientists has discovered that the Lala Lallia dune in Morocco was formed approximately 13,000 years ago. This dune, located in the sand sea of Erg Chebbi in southeast Morocco, stands at an impressive height of 100 meters and is 700 meters wide with a series of radial arms.

Pyramidal dunes are formed by opposite winds that change direction, and understanding their age can provide valuable insights into the climate and wind patterns of the past. According to Professor Geoff Duller of Aberystwyth University, who co-authored the research with Professor Charles Bristow of Birkbeck University, knowing the age of these dunes allows scientists to better understand the environmental changes that occurred during their formation.

Using a technique called luminescence dating, researchers were able to determine when the sand grains in the Lala Lallia dune were last exposed to daylight. This method involves analyzing sand samples in a laboratory under dim red light conditions, similar to those in an old-fashioned photography workshop.

The study revealed that the dune stopped growing for about 8,000 years after its initial formation and then expanded rapidly in the last few thousand years. The rate of growth for the Lala Lallia dune is estimated to be approximately 50 centimeters per year, making it a fascinating subject of study for researchers.

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Other examples of these massive dunes include the Colorado Star Dune in the United States, which measures 225 meters from base to top. Climbing these dunes is no easy feat, as described by Duller, who compares the experience to taking two steps up and one step back. Despite the challenges, the view from the top is said to be absolutely breathtaking.

The findings of this research shed new light on the formation and growth of these impressive natural features, providing valuable insights into Earth’s past climates and wind patterns. Further studies on similar dunes around the world could lead to even more discoveries about the history of our planet’s landscapes.

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