Skip to main content
Geosciences LibreTexts

9: Deserts

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    • 9.1: Introduction to Deserts
      I might define a desert as a land area characterized by sparse and infrequent rainfall.
    • 9.2: Classification of Deserts
      Deserts can conveniently be classified into three kinds:
    • 9.3: A Brief Summary of Desert Features
      Because eolian transport of sand, and the construction of eolian dunes large and small, is perhaps the most striking characteristic of deserts (even though, as noted above, fluvial sediment transport is much more effective in shaping the landscapes of deserts), I’ll concentrate in the following sections on eolian saltation and eolian dunes. But in this section I’ll mention just briefly several other aspects of deserts.
    • 9.4: Saltation
      Earlier in the course I tried to give you a qualitative picture of the nature of sediment movement by flows of water.
    • 9.5: Eolian Ripplers and Eolian Dunes
      You learned earlier that when a current of water flows over a bed of loose sand, if the current is strong enough to move some of the sediment several kinds of geometrical features, called bed forms, are molded by the flow.

    Thumbnail: (Unsplash; Keith Hardy via Unsplash)

    This page titled 9: Deserts is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by John Southard (MIT OpenCourseware) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.