Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 333–350 | Cite as

Activity of Wind-Blown Sand and the Formation of Feathered Sand Ridges in the Kumtagh Desert, China

  • Kongtai LiaoEmail author
  • Jianjun Qu
  • Jinnian Tang
  • Feng Ding
  • Hujun Liu
  • Shujuan Zhu


We study the activity of wind-blown sand and its effects on the evolution of feathered sand ridges in the Kumtagh Desert, China, and attempt to reveal the formation process of feathered sand ridges using wind-tunnel experiments, remote sensing data, and detailed field observations from 2005 to 2008. The prevailing wind direction in the Kumtagh Desert is easterly in winter and north-easterly in other seasons. The average annual wind speed is 5.9 ms−1, and winds sufficiently strong to entrain sand occur on 143 days per annum. The sand transport rate within 0.4 m of the ground is strongly influenced by local landforms, and is related to wind speed by a power function. Wind erosion occurs on the crest, the windward slope of crescent sand ridges and inter-ridge sand strips, where the blowing sand cloud is in an unsaturated state; in contrast, sand accumulation occurs on the leeward slope of the crescent sand ridges, where the blowing sand cloud is in an over-saturated state. These results indicate that the development of feathered sand ridges in the Kumtagh Desert is mainly controlled by the local wind regime. The dominant winds (from the north, north-north-east and north-east) and additional winds (from the east-north-east, east and east-south-east) determine the development of crescent sand ridges, but winds that are approximately parallel to sand ridges form the secondary inter-ridge sand strips.


Aeolian geomorphology Blown sand transport Dune evolution Feathered sand ridges 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kongtai Liao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jianjun Qu
    • 1
  • Jinnian Tang
    • 2
  • Feng Ding
    • 2
  • Hujun Liu
    • 2
  • Shujuan Zhu
    • 2
  1. 1.Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Gansu Desert Control Research InstituteWuweiPeople’s Republic of China

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