The Tarim Desert Highway in Xinjiang, China, the longest one in the world, has a length of 562 km, about 80% of which runs across, from north to south, the Taklimakan Desert. Obviously, the main problem of the road maintenance is the blown sand disaster. The research results showed: (1) the physical environment along the desert highway is characterized by strong winds, fine and loose ground materials, different dunes and so on, which provides the dynamical condition and material source for the formation of blown sand disaster to the road and its shelter system. Meanwhile, the trend and cross-section of the road and the structure of the shelter system, as damage objects, play important roles in the formation process of blown sand disaster; (2) the blown sand disaster to the shelter system is original from the intrusion of the drift sands and mobile dunes outside the shelter system, and the wind erosion and sand deposit caused by the air stream changes on the ground in the shelter system. The main damage object in the Tarim Desert Highway is the shelter system presently. The damage forms include wind erosion, sand burying and dune covering; and (3) the damaged length of the blocking sand fences is 83.7%, 88.4%, 72.4%, 72.8% and 40.3% and the damaged area of the straw checkerboard belts is 73.1%, 58.2%, 44.5%, 35.4% and 36.6%, in turn, in 5 different landform units from north to south, and, the disasters to fences and the straw checkerboard belts are 79.5% and 57.6% in the compound dunes while they are 64.6% and 37.7% in the interdunes respectively.
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Lei, J., Wang, X., Wang, D. et al. The blown sand disaster to the Tarim Desert Highway in Xinjiang, China. Sci. China Ser. D-Earth Sci. 45 (Suppl 1), 165–173 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02878404