Study reveals sand dunes can sing and even 'burp'
Some sand dunes are known to make noises that resemble musical tones.
Now, a recently published study describes why and how these noises are made.
Using instruments called geophones which pick up on subterranean vibrations, researchers have found that "waves travelling through the dune move individual grains of sand."
One sound which they call "burping" is caused by non-linear waves near the surface, and the other sound called "booming" is the result of linear waves in the dune's interior.
The phenomenon is made possible due to sand's ability to act in two distinct manners. While grains of sand are certainly solid, together they can behave like a liquid and while doing so aid in the amplification of vibrations occurring during avalanches.
Another discovery was that researchers could activate a dune's natural internal resonance, which they did by striking a hammer against a plate.
The team conducted their field research over 25 days at dunes in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave Desert.
They believe their findings can help to inform future measurements of these sandy structures or during other seismic surveys.
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