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They discover the origin of the dunes: this is the new technology to determine their age and behavior

They discover the origin of the dunes: this is the new technology to determine their age and behavior

These new techniques allow the dating of dunes using luminescence.

The dunes They exert a unique magnetism on the traveler. If we stick to the definition of the RAE, they are nothing more than hills of shifting sand formed in deserts and beaches due to the push of the wind, but how do we know when these sand masses were formed? Thanks to a new technology developed by Aberystwyth University (Wales) Researchers may study the composition and history of stellar sand dunes for the first time.

In Spain we can enjoy the impressive dunes of Maspalomas, but throughout the rest of the continents there are others that are much more impressive, such as those of the Namib Desert (in Namibia) or that of Federico Kirbus, in Argentina, to give just a couple of examples. . And if we want to see the highest in the world, we must travel to China to discover the dune located in the Badain Jaran desertwhich reaches 300 meters high.

Before knowing the new technologies that allow the dunes datingit is worth knowing that there are different types of dunes, the most striking being those known as stellarwhich receive this name due to the arms that extend from a central peak and resemble stars seen from above. These types of dunes are found, above all, in Africa, China and North America.

Now we move to Morocco to know the Lala Lallia dune (whose name means ‘highest sacred point’). This star dune, like the others, is not static since it moves over time and keeps scientists alert; In fact, the team led by Geoff Duller, professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at the Aberystwyth University chose this enclave to carry out their investigations.

After the study period, the results have been published on the university website (which you can consult here) and they have been surprising, since, finally, it seems that we can begin to discover the dating of these dunes.

The luminescence dating technique carried out by Aberystwyth University allows date the dunes by taking into account the last time the sand minerals were exposed to sunlight. This helps determine both their age and the movements they make. And the data has been most revealing.

Research suggests that Lala Lallia (with a size of 700 meters wide by 200 meters high) formed during a cooling period abrupt event in Earth’s history known as the Younger Dryas (about 13,000 years ago). A monsoon helped stabilize the dune, ensuring it withstood drought. And in this way, the dune remained like this for about 8,000 years until now… has grown again at a speed of half a meter per year thanks to changes in wind direction.

During the investigation, together with the luminescence dating techniquea ground penetrating radar which allows scientists to look inside the dune and help develop a model to better understand the characteristics of star dunes.

We can now learn more about the creation of the dunes.

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Source: Viajar



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