They discover the mystery of one of the largest dunes on Earth that cuts through the Moroccan desert

Lala Laliya Tibba

Lala Laliya Tara Mound is 100 meters high.

For the first time, scientists managed to calculate the age of one of the largest and most complex types of dunes on our planet.

Tara Mounds, or pyramidal mounds, They are named because of their distinctive shape and reach hundreds of meters in height.

They are found in Africa, Asia and North America, as well as on Mars, but experts have never before been able to determine the date of their formation.

Now, a team of scientists has discovered that a mound called Lala Lalia in Morocco was formed 13,000 years ago.

50 centimeters per year

pyramid mounds are formed headwinds He changes direction.

Understanding their age helps us better understand those winds and the climate at that time, says Professor Geoff Duller of Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, who published the research with Professor Charles Bristow of Birkbeck University. Was.

Lala Laliya Tibba Lala Laliya Tibba

Star Dune gets its name from its radial structure.

Where is Lala Lalia (an indigenous name of the Berbers or Amazigh meaning the highest sacred point) located? Sandy sea of ​​Erg Chebbi in south-east of Morocco.

Is 100 meters high and 700 meters wide with a series of radial arms

After its initial formation, it stopped growing for about 8,000 years and then expanded rapidly over the last few thousand years.

“These findings will probably surprise many people, because we can see how quickly this huge mound was formed, which moving in the desert at a speed of about 50 cm per year“, Add.

Like an old photography lab

To determine the age of this Moroccan mound, researchers used a technique called luminescence dating,

The method calculates when the sand particles were last exposed to daylight.

Sand samples were taken in the dark, and analyzed in a laboratory under dim red lighting conditions, similar to an old-fashioned photography workshop.


Climbing the dunes has been no easy task for researchers.

Duller describes the mineral particles in the sand as “little rechargeable batteries”, because they store energy within the crystals that comes from radioactivity in the natural environment.

The longer the sand remains buried underground, the more radioactivity it is exposed to and the more energy it stores.

When the grains are exposed in the laboratory, they release energy in the form of light and scientists can calculate their age.

“In our dark laboratory, we look at light from these sand particles. The brighter the light, the older the sediment particles are and the longer they have been buried,” the researchers explain.

Other examples of these giant dunes include Colorado Star Dune in the United States, the tallest dune in the country, measuring 225 meters from base to top.

Dallar explains, climbing these dunes is a difficult task. He says, “As you go up, you take two steps up and one step back. But it’s worth it: They’re absolutely beautiful up there.”

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