the effect of wind on sand

steel, sand, glass and photograph of dunes framed in mesquite

23cm x 54cm

the effect of wind on sand detail - click to enlarge


I’ve fallen completely in love with dune environments; these landscapes have seduced me with their forms and shadows; so much so that I needed to have some grasp of how this divinity and beauty happens… And that journey led me to Ralph Alger Bagnold (3 April 1896 – 28 May 1990). Bagnold was the founder and first commander of the British Army’s Long Range Desert Group during World War II. He is also generally considered to have been a pioneer of desert exploration, an acclaim earned for his activities during the 1930s which included the first recorded east-west crossing of the Libyan Desert in 1932. He also laid the mathematical foundations for the research on sand transport by wind in his influential book, The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes (first published 1941; reprinted by Dover in 2005), which is still a main reference in the field. It has, for instance, been used by NASA in studying the sand dunes on Mars, and the eponymous, Bagnold Dunes on that planet were named for him…

The laser-etched image on steel is of ‘the Bagnold Formula,’ which relates the amount of sand moved by the wind to wind-speed by saltation (the movement of hard particles such as sand over an uneven surface in a turbulent flow of air or water).

Yep, I’m standing in the intersection between art and science…  making nerd art.

This object was included in my solo exhibition :: sleeping in the house of light @ Wee Gallery  in Tucson, Arizona, March, 2015

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