Idea #607 – Listening to the Singing Dune of Altyn Emel in Kazakhstan
The Singing Dune is located in Alty Emel National Park, which has been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The sand dune, 150 meters high and 1.5 kilometers long, is a major attraction of the park. The height of the dune is very modest but it is necessary to count on a progression in fine sand of the type “two steps forward one back”. With an almost permanent wind, without which there would be no dune “singing”, the course can be surprising: very hot in summer, it can be done partially in snow covered with sand in winter! The view from the summit helps to better understand the formation of the dune series at this location.
However, when the dune is collapsed by the steps of the visitor on its steepest face, it makes a long, astonishing and perfectly audible vibration. The “song of the dunes”, the name given to the noise thus emitted, would be due to the resonance of the grains of sand that compose it. Marco Polo already mentioned in his writings the phenomenon, disturbing for some, wonderful for others: “the sands that sometimes sing fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also the sound of drums and music. shock of arms “. The exact explanation is still questionable, several laboratories – including the CNRS – having attempted a modeling of this exceptional phenomenon, recorded on less than thirty dunes around the world.
Where is it ?
Singing Dune, Altyn Emel, Kazakhstan