Want to feel like a kid again?
This pandemic seems to have aged us all, but sliding down a huge sand dune will make you feel young and exhilarated and alive, no matter your chronologic age. And, yea, you may get a little sand in your pants, but you can always shake that out!
Coral Pink Sand Dune State Park in southern Utah on the Arizona border is one big pink sandbox of fun! The featured activity here is sand shredding – sliding down huge pink sand dunes on a piece of cardboard, or on your kids’ old snowboard, or a piece of plastic. You can even rent a board at the state park for 20 bucks. Whatever. Go for it, Dude! It’s gnarly!
The Venturi Effect!
Sand dunes are created by sand, high winds and “a unique influence upon the wind.” It’s called the Venturi effect.
Carburetors, paint guns and “inspirators” – those little things that mix air and flammable gas in gas grills – all function according to the “Venturi effect.”
You could ask your middle-school nephew about the Venturi effect in passing a different type of natural gas. Really, it’s all the same thing: A fluid’s velocity increases and its static pressure decreases when surging through a constricted area. It could be air or paint or gas – or even sand.
A notch between the mountains
There’s a notch between the Moquith and Moccasin mountains just west of these coral pink sand dunes that provides this influence. The phenomenon has been occurring for at least 10,000 to 15,000 years here. Wind from the west is funneled through the notch. That increases wind velocity to a point where it can carry sand grains from the eroding Navajo sandstone.
Wind decreases once it passes through the notch and the sand is deposited, in this case creating uniquely spectacular pink-colored sand dunes.
Wonder about those ripples?
Have you ever wondered about ripples in the sand and how they’re created? Well, you can read all about that in my upcoming book, “Discovering the Colorado Plateau,” available by April, 2021. At least that’s what my publishers promise!! In the meantime, my dear sister Kate and her hubby, pianist Dr. Dennis Varley accompany this short 2-minute slide show of a really cool Utah state park.