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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (6): 599-611    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0104-3
Research article     
Large scale sand saltation over hard surface: a controlled experiment in still air
LIU Benli1,2,*(), WANG Zhaoyun1,3, NIU Baicheng4, QU Jianjun1,2
1Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2Research Station of Gobi Desert Ecology and Environment in Dunhuang of Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730000, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810004, China
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Saltation is the major particle movement type in wind erosion process. Saltating sand grains can rebound up to tens of times larger in length and height over hard surface (such as gravel surface) than over loose sand surface. Gravels usually have different faces, causing distinct response of the impacting grains, but the effects of the grain and gravel-surface contact angle on grain rebound are not yet well quantified. We performed full-range controlled experiments of grain saltation using different contact angles, grain sizes and impact speeds in still air, to show that contact angle increases the height of representative saltation path but decreases particle travel length. The results were compared with outputs from the COMprehensive numerical model of SALTation (COMSALT). Large saltation height of 4.8 m and length of 9.0 m were recorded. The maximum and representative saltation height over the gravel surface were found to be about 4.9 times and 12.8 times those over the loose sandy surface, respectively. The maximum saltation length may be reduced by 58% and the representative saltation height may be increased by 77% as contact angle increases from 20° to 40°. We further showed that the collision inertia contributes 60% of the saltation length, and wind contributes to the other 40%. These quantitative findings have important implications for modeling saltation trajectory over gravel surface.

Key wordssand saltation      trajectory      gravel surface      contact angle      full-scale experiment     
Received: 14 March 2021      Published: 10 June 2021
Corresponding Authors: LIU Benli     E-mail:
About author: LIU Benli (E-mail: