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Go with the Flow
Eolian Science
Endemic Insects
Exotic Escapes
Digging Back in Time
Star Dune and Crestones
Great Sand Dunes in the morning 

Eolian Science

When we think about the processes that shape landscapes, we may see water and its ability to carve deep canyons, deposit great plains of sediment, or erode shorelines. We also may think of magma making mountains or of earthquakes rocking our world.

Yet the wind also has the grand ability to shape the landscape. Eolian science is where meteorology meets geology. Scientists who study sand seas—such as the dunefields of Great Sand Dunes—must understand how climate and ecosystems interact with geology. Then they begin to get a glimpse into the meaning behind these unmistakable masterpieces of natural art. And as researchers are discovering in all their work, eolian science is just another field of study in which the walls that divide the sciences are tumbling down.

The knowledge gained from eolian science is even being applied to a field of study that is out of this world! Astronomers and comparative planetologists are using their dune system knowledge to understand the landscape and even a bit about the weather on our planetary neighbor—Mars.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on dune types and components of the sand system.

Clue-coyote will take you on a comparative journey though eolian landscapes on planet Earth and beyond.


Action Photos

Parabolic Dunes


Reversing Dunes


'Escape Dunes'


Star Dunes


Barchan Dunes


Transverse Dunes


Longitudinal Dunes


Wind Regime


Global Wind Patterns


Wind Rose

Field Notes

Andrew Valdez


Dr. Susan E. H. Sakimoto


Critical ThinkingFor Teachers

Colorado Content Standards
Science 6th grade: 3.1; 8th grade 3.1, 3.2, 3.3
Grade Level
6th - 8th Grade
angle of repose, bimodal, cardinal directions, climate, eolian, geology, meteorology, multimodal, unimodal, wind regime
Wind Regime at Great Sand Dunes, Global Wind Pattern Animation
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