Little Landscapes #37
Washburne State Park, Oregon
In a similar process to the way various hoodoos, balanced rocks, etc. are formed in the desert southwest, the strong winds on this beach created miniature fins of sand under bits of detritus scattered around. I did wonder why the wind didn’t just continually blow the sand out from under the detritus bits, leaving them lying flat on the surface. My original theory was that the bits of detritus shade the sand under them, creating a bit of wet sand while the sand around them dried out in the sun. The wind blew the dry sand away but not the wet sand. Of course you have to wonder why, when the wet sand was exposed to the wind by the dry sand blowing away, it didn’t just dry out and blow away too. Perhaps a simpler, more plausible explanation is that each bit of detritus causes enough turbulence in the air around it to reduce the local wind speed enough to prevent the sand from blowing away. The length of the fin behind the detritus bits shows how much reach the turbulence has behind the object. Yeah, I like that theory better.