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This is NOT Dune!


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Space exploration has in store many surprises. Let's hope that one day we will see a similar camera view of the dunes on Titan. At least those dunes are better in scale being several kms long, ~1km wide and up to 100m tall. Of course their composition is quite different. For related scientific articles you can check:

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-abs_connect?bibcode=2009DPS....41.2108L&return_req=no_params&selfeedback=1&use_title=YES&use_kwds=YES&return_req=feedback

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Space exploration will invariably lead to many surprises but there are still plenty of mysteries on earth. For example, apparently the Sahara desert was once a fertile grasslands but due to a shift of the earth's position relative to the sun it's ecosystem changed drastically over time.

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How Earth’s Orbital Shift Shaped the Sahara

Debate over the degree of anthropormorphic climate change is another issue which will continue to be explored. One such example of man changing a local ecosystem in fact led to the ecological novel, Dune.

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The sand dunes on Oregon’s coast are eons old. After the seismic activity that created the Cascade and Coast Ranges ceased around seven million years ago, glaciers formed in the mountains. The torpid movement of the glaciers crushed large rocks into smaller boulders, which washed down rivers in streams, grinding into smaller and smaller rocks until only sand and pebbles were deposited into the coastal waters. Waves carried the sand onto the beach and onshore winds then blew the sand into the dunes.

In the 1930s, European beach grass was introduced to provide stable foundations for buildings and towns. The invasive beach grass has thrived and is now taking over the unique landscape. The thick and resilient grass has piled together with sand to form a 20-foot-high barrier 30 yards from the shore, blocking the flow of beach sand that is normally blown onto dunes. Because of this wall of grass and sand, a flatland of fresh water and vegetation has formed that is quickly moving east and will eventually swallow up the hills of sand. What took 100,000 years to form could be destroyed in a century.

In Oregon, a Battle Over the Dunes

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