How Old Are The Dunes? Researchers Reveal Age Of Earth’s Largest Sand Sea

According to research published in the journal Nature by Professors Geoff Duller and Charles Bristow of Birkbeck University in London, Morocco’s Lala Lallia Sand dune dates back to 13,000 years.

How Old Are The Dunes? Researchers Reveal Age Of Earth's Largest Sand Sea 1

Despite their unusual formations, star or pyramid dunes can be found in Africa, Asia, North America, and even Mars. Until recently, however, scientists were unable to determine how old these dunes were.

According to recent research, Morocco’s Lala Lallia Sand dune formed 13,000 years ago.

Major feature of Morocco’s Erg Chebbi sand sea, Lala Lallia is 700 meters wide and 100 meters high.

According to the Jeddah Historic District Program, over 25,000 artifacts were unearthed in the historic Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

Its size stayed constant for around 8,000 years after it formed, according to research published in the journal Nature, before rapidly expanding over the next few millennia.

In regions where winds blow in multiple directions, pyramid dunes emerge. Co-author of the study Professor Geoff Duller of the University of Aberystwyth in Wales stated that knowing the age of dunes will aid in understanding the factors that form them and the environment of that historical era.

Using the luminescence approach, Duller and his co-researcher Professor Charles Bristow of Birkbeck University in London determined the age of the star dune by determining the last time its sand grains were exposed to sunshine. Gathering sand samples from Morocco, they examined them in a lab under dim red lighting, akin to a darkroom used for processing photos.

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The mineral grains in the sand, according to Professor Duller, are like “little rechargeable batteries” that hold onto energy from solar radiation. The longer the sand is submerged, the more radioactivity and energy it gathers. Scientists can determine the age of the grains by measuring the energy they produce as light when exposed in a lab.

Professor Duller explained that the mineral grains in the sand are like “little rechargeable batteries” that store solar radiation energy. The sand absorbs more energy and radiation the longer it is immersed. By measuring the amount of light that the grains emit when exposed in a lab, scientists can establish how old the grains are.

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