Desert Activity For Kids - Make a Sand Storm

Earth Science Unit Study
Week 14: We made a sand storm to determine which grains traveled the farthest.

Sand can fly in dry deserts. In fact, some sand from the Sahara desert in Africa travels with the jet stream and lands in the Amazon rain forest of South America providing vital nutrients for the plants. Last week we studied how rain drops formed and watched a video on desert climates.

How The Earth Was Made - Sahara Desert

Following an experiment in How the Earth Works (How It Works) we discovered the smallest grains travel the farthest.

A small pile of sand was placed on some wooden blocks adjacent to an ice cube tray.

A hair dryer was used to create a sand storm.

The majority of the grains landed in the openings closest to the source including the largest grains. Some small grains however, were able to travel to the farthest openings, and others traveled so far they landed on the floor.
What struck me doing this experiment is how similar the process of sand storms is to erosion. Sand blown into the air can be carried hundreds of miles by the wind and it's the smallest grains that travel the farthest. Boulders, rocks, and pebbles on mountains can be carried hundreds of miles by water in rivers, and it's the smallest rocks which travel the farthest.


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