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Home » People » Chris Hill » Earth Science » Topic Outlines » Winds and Deserts

Winds and Deserts

Terms to learn:

desert              exotic stream      playa           deflation
abrasion           alluvial fan         star              barchan
transverse        longitudinal        parabolic      desert pavement


Topic outline:

  1. Distribution of deserts
  2. Characteristic of deserts
    1. Internal drainage
      1. exotic streams
      2. playas
    2. Weathering
  3. Aeolian (wind) processes
    1. Erosion
      1. deflation
      2. abrasion
    2. Transportation
    3. Deposition
      1. sand dunes - shape
  4. Desert landscapes
    1. Basin and Range
      1. alluvial fan
      2. playa
      3. bajada
    2. Mesa and Scarp
      1. plateau, mesa, butte, pinnacle


Interesting places to visit:

Good general info:

More general info:

Virtual field trip:


When you are finished with this topic, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the methods by which wind erodes material?
  2. How do sand dunes migrate?
  3. How is desert pavement formed?
  4. What factors contribute to the shape and arrangement of sand dunes?
  5. What are some of the features that you would likely find in a Basin and Range desert landscape?  in a Mesa and Scarp landscape?
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