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Figure (PageIndex1): Weathering and also erosion of Canyonlands National Park have created a unique landscape, consisting of arches, cliffs, and spires.

Weathering takes location in desert climates by the very same means as various other climates, just at a slower rate. This is besides the higher temperatures, which commonly spur quicker weathering. Water is the major agent of weathering, and also absence of water slows weathering. Precipitation occurs in deserts, only much less than in other climatic regions. Chemical weathering proceeds more slowly in deserts compared to even more humid climates because of the absence of water. Even mechanical weathering is slowed, bereason of a absence of runoff and even a lack of moisture to perform ice wedging. However before, once precipitation does happen, often in the create of flash floods, a big amount of mechanical weathering deserve to happen rather quickly.

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Figure (PageIndex1): Newspaper rock, close to Canyonlands National Park, has actually many kind of petroglyphs sculpted into the desert varnish.

One distinct weathering product of deserts is desert varnish. Also well-known as desert patina or rock rust, they are thin dark brown layers of clays and iron and also manganese oxides that create on exceptionally secure surdeals with within arid settings. The exact reason of the product is still unrecognized, though cosmogenic and also biologic mechanisms have actually been proposed.

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Figure (PageIndex1): A dust storm (haboob) hits the Mongolian Gobi.

While water is still the dominant agent of erosion in many desert atmospheres, wind is a notable agent of weathering and erosion in many deserts. This consists of suspended sediment traveling in haboobs, or dust storms, that constant deserts. Deposits of windblown dust are dubbed loess. Loess deposits cover wide locations of the midwestern USA, much of it from dust that melted out of the ice sheets during the last ice age <7>. Lower energy than water, wind move neverthemuch less moves sand, silt, and dust <8>. As detailed in chapter 11, the pack brought by a liquid (choose air) is distributed among bedpack and suspended fill. Just like water, in wind these components depend on wind velocity.

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Sand dimension material moves by a procedure called saltation in which sand grains are lifted into the relocating air and carried a short distance wbelow they drop and splash right into the surchallenge dislodging various other sand grains which are then lugged a short distance and splash dislodging still others <8>.

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Figure (PageIndex1): Enlarged image of frosted and rounded windblown sand also grains

Since saltating sand grains are constantly impacting various other sand also grains, windblvery own sand also grains are frequently pretty well rounded via frosted surfaces. Saltation is a cascading impact of sand also motion developing a zamong windblown sand up to a meter or so above the ground. This zone of saltating sand also is an effective erosive agent in which bedrock features are effectively sandblasted. The fine-grained suspfinished pack is successfully rerelocated from the sand also and the surchallenge carrying silt and dust in haboobs. Wind is thus an effective sorting agent separating sand also and also dust-sized (≤70 µm) pwrite-ups <9>. When wind velocity is high enough to slide or roll materials along the surconfront, the procedure is called creep.

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One excessive variation of sediment movement was shrouded in mystery for years: Sliding stones. Also dubbed sailing stones and sliding rocks, these are large moving boulders alengthy flat surfaces in deserts, leaving trails. This includes the famous instance of the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, California. For years, scientists and also enthusiasts attempted to describe their motion, with bit definitive outcomes <10; 11>. In current years, a number of speculative and also observational studies have confirmed that thin layers of ice allow the stones to move through high winds offering propulsive energy <12; 13>. These studies incorporate measurements of actual movement, as well as re-inventions of the conditions, through resulting movement in the lab.

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Figure (PageIndex1): A yardang in Bolivia
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Figure (PageIndex1): Ventireality from Mojave Desert close to Barstow, CA

The zamong saltating sand is an efficient agent of erosion with sand abrasion. A bedrock outchop which has actually such a sandblasted shape is called a yardang <14>. Rocks and boulders lying on the surchallenge might be blasted and poliburned by saltating sand. When preleading wind directions shift, multiple sandblasted and polished deals with might appear. Such poliburned desert rocks are called ventifacts <15>.