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Dune leapfrogging is deciphered

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10:14am, December 16, 2003

Physicists have unraveled how certain wind-driven sand dunes in Morocco and Peru apparently tunnel through slower dunes.

Barchan dunes are massive, crescent-shaped sand piles that move across wind-swept deserts at speeds up to tens of meters per year. Because smaller dunes outpace bigger dunes and eventually appear in front of them, the small dunes seem to be punching through big ones.

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