Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

ID 2478

The Mesquite Dunes consist of mostly short transverse dune ridges, which attain a height of about 150 feet and cover an area of 14-square miles. The north- to northwest-trending mountain ranges create a relatively simple, but multidirectional, wind regime for the dune field. Winds from the northwest (winter) or southeast (summer) predominate, but occasional winds from the southwest or northeast can significantly alter the dune forms. The local mountains also influence crosswinds and swirling wind currents (eddies). These crosswinds and eddy patterns result in decreased wind speed and cause the sand to be deposited in the same general area.

The trees nestled in clumps along the lower dunes are mesquite. Mesquite roots can grow to more than 50 feet in length. Their roots reach down through the dry sand to the mildly saline ground water.

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