Image: Great Sandy Desert, Australia

Apr 09, 2013
Credit: NASA

(Phys.org) —In northwest Australia, the Great Sandy Desert holds great geological interest as a zone of active sand dune movement. While a variety of dune forms appear across the region, this astronaut photograph features numerous linear dunes (about 25 meters high) separated in a roughly regular fashion (0.5 to 1.5 kilometers apart).

The dunes are aligned to the prevailing winds that generated them, which typically blow from east to west. Where linear dunes converge, dune confluences point downwind. When you fly over such dune fields—either in an airplane or the —the fire scars stand out. Where thin vegetation has been burned, the dunes appear red from the underlying sand; dunes appear darker where the vegetation remains.

Astronaut photograph ISS035-E-9454 was acquired on March 25, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 400 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 35 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed.

Explore further: Space sex geckos at risk as Russia loses control of satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Winds drive dune movement on Mars

Nov 16, 2011

Sand dunes, a common feature on the surface of Mars, can provide a record of recent and past changes. Some dunes near Mars’ polar areas have been observed to move recently due to carbon dioxide ice sublimation, ...

View from orbit of a huge white sands dust storm

May 01, 2012

It’s clear from this image of why a region in New Mexico, USA is called ‘White Sands.’ The dust plumes in this photograph taken by an astronaut on board the International Space Station show ...

Cassini Maps Global Pattern of Titan's Dunes

Feb 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Titan's vast dune fields, which may act like weather vanes to determine general wind direction on Saturn's biggest moon, have been mapped by scientists who compiled four years of radar data ...

Image: Dark dune fields of proctor crater, Mars

Nov 29, 2010

The dark rippled dunes of Mars' Proctor Crater likely formed more recently than the lighter rock forms they appear to cover, and are thought to slowly shift in response to pervasive winds.

Recommended for you

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

2 hours ago

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

2 hours ago

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Biomarkers of the deep

3 hours ago

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit ...

User comments : 0