Experiment Saltation

Download the printable Experiment Sheet here.

Wind erosion processes result in the removal and transport of materials by wind from one place to another. Wind can blow sand grains and other abrasive material against stone, which will slowly weather the rocks away. We call this wind weathering of rocks abrasion. These bits of abraded sand are then transported by blowing winds, or by saltation, in which grains bounce along the ground with the winds. Enough sand bouncing and dunes start to form, and after forming dunes can themselves migrate downwind. 

In this experiment, we will show how wind can pick up sand grains and bounce them along via saltation - transporting sand grains long distances to be deposited 

Materials:

Sand
Small Fan

  1. Pour a small pile of sand in front of the fan
  2. Turn fan on low setting
  3. Observe

Questions to consider:

  • What do you notice about the different sized grains of sand?
  • What type of movement do you see?

 

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