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Scientists discover that the Lalla Lalia star dunes in Morocco were formed 13 thousand years ago  Energy and science

Scientists discover that the Lalla Lalia star dunes in Morocco were formed 13 thousand years ago Energy and science

Scientists from the United Kingdom have estimated for the first time the age of one of the world's largest star dunes, Lala Lalia, located in Morocco. According to a study conducted by Professors Geoff Dowler from Aberystwyth University and Charles Bristow from Birkbeck University, it was formed 13 thousand years ago.

This type of sand formation, capable of reaching hundreds of meters in height, is created by opposing winds that change direction. In an interview with BBCDoler said that knowing its age helps understand the winds and reveal the secrets of the climate at the time it was created.

Lala Lalaia, whose name means “the highest sacred point”, is located in the Erg Chebbi sand sea in southeastern Morocco. It is 100 meters high and 700 meters wide. After its initial formation, it stopped growing for approximately eight thousand years and then expanded rapidly in the past few thousand years.

To determine how long they have been around, scientists used a technique called scintillation dating, a method that counts the last time sand grains were exposed to daylight.

The BBC reported that samples were collected from the dunes and analyzed in the laboratory under low-red light conditions, similar to an old photography workshop. Sand grains store energy within their crystals from radioactivity in the natural environment.

The longer the sand is buried underground, the more energy it accumulates. When it is exposed in the laboratory, this energy is released in the form of light, so scientists can calculate its age.

“In our dark laboratory, we see the light coming from these sand grains. The brighter the light, the older the sediment grains are and the longer they have been since they were buried,” Doller said.

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Scientists intend to calculate the ages of other stellar dunes. Some of the known ones are located in the Badin Jaran Desert in China; In the Namib Desert, Namibia; In the Sahara Desert in Algeria; In the Rub al-Khali desert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve in Colorado in the United States.