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Journal of Arid Land  2022, Vol. 14 Issue (9): 1009-1021    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0103-z
Research article     
Research on wind erosion processes and controlling factors based on wind tunnel test and 3D laser scanning technology
YAN Ping1,2, WANG Xiaoxu1,3,4,*(), ZHENG Shucheng1,3, WANG Yong5, LI Xiaomei6
1Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2Zhuhai Branch of State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai 519087, China
3State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
4MOE Engineering Research Centre of Desertification and Blown-sand Control, Beijing 100875, China
5Institute of Geographical Sciences, Henan Academy of Sciences, Zhengzhou 450052, China
6School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710119, China
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The study of wind erosion processes is of great importance to the prevention and control of soil wind erosion. In this study, three structurally intact soil samples were collected from the steppe of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China and placed in a wind tunnel where they were subjected to six different wind speeds (10, 15, 17, 20, 25, and 30 m/s) to simulate wind erosion in the wind tunnel. After each test, the soil surfaces were scanned by a 3D laser scanner to create a high-resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM), and the changes in wind erosion mass and microtopography were quantified. Based on this, we performed further analysis of wind erosion-controlling factors. The study results showed that the average measurement error between the 3D laser scanning method and weighing method was 6.23% for the three undisturbed soil samples. With increasing wind speed, the microtopography on the undisturbed soil surface first became smooth, and then fine stripes and pits gradually developed. In the initial stage of wind erosion processes, the ability of the soil to resist wind erosion was mainly affected by the soil hardness. In the late stage of wind erosion processes, the degree of soil erosion was mainly affected by soil organic matter and CaCO3 content. The results of this study are expected to provide a theoretical basis for soil wind erosion control and promote the application of 3D laser scanners in wind erosion monitoring.

Key words3D laser scanning technology      wind erosion      wind tunnel test      wind erosion depth      microtopography      soil hardness     
Received: 13 June 2022      Published: 30 September 2022
Corresponding Authors: WANG Xiaoxu     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YAN Ping, WANG Xiaoxu, ZHENG Shucheng, WANG Yong, LI Xiaomei. Research on wind erosion processes and controlling factors based on wind tunnel test and 3D laser scanning technology. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(9): 1009-1021.

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Fig. 1 Soil sampling process in the field
Sample Region Location Altitude
Soil type Soil moisture
Bulk density
Soil hardness
content (%)
Soil organic matter (%)
S1 Baoligen Sumu, Xilinhot City 44°14°50°°N,
948 Meadow kastanozem (Calciustolls) 2.07 1.45 19.30 9.84 2.14
S2 Longchang Town, Chifeng City 43°49°44°°N,
434 Dark kastanozem (Calciustolls) 2.14 1.38 7.35 4.85 1.28
S3 Fuhe Town, Chifeng City 44°30°28°°N,
782 Sandy chernozem (Argiborolls) 3.47 1.29 19.40 0.22 2.44
Table 1 Basic properties of the three soil samples
Fig. 2 Experimental operation diagram. (a), the schematic diagram of experimental layout; (b), the photo of experimental operation; (c), the photo of soil weighing method.
speed (m/s)
S1 S2 S3
D (mm) W (g) ξ (%) D (mm) W (g) ξ (%) D (mm) W (g) ξ (%)
10 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.65 230.28 6.51 0.01 4.68 33.85
15 0.18 62.96 0.51 3.70 1191.44 2.85 0.65 224.21 10.24
17 0.59 262.32 21.73 2.21 822.93 11.06 0.98 284.40 6.68
20 3.39 1017.51 15.90 2.22 816.21 9.92 2.54 717.23 9.64
25 - - - 4.19 1302.71 6.53 1.68 471.12 10.40
30 5.64 1752.01 12.03 0.84 287.02 3.07 1.03 291.88 9.25
Total 9.80 3094.80 10.20 13.81 4650.89 1.65 6.89 1993.52 7.00
Table 2 Comparison between 3D laser scanning technology and weighing method
Fig. 3 Surface morphology of three samples (S1, S2, and S3) under different wind speed. (a1, b1, and c1), undisturbed soil; (a2, b2, and c2), wind speed of 10 m/s; (a3, b3, and c3), wind speed of 15 m/s; (a4, b4, and c4), wind speed of 17 m/s; (a5, b5, and c5), wind speed of 20 m/s; (a6, b6, and c6), wind speed of 25 m/s; (a7, b7, and c7), wind speed of 30 m/s.
Fig. 4 Digital Elevation Model (DEM) images of the wind erosion depth generated in ArcGIS under different wind speed. (a), undisturbed soil; (b), wind speed of 10 m/s; (c), wind speed of 15 m/s; (d), wind speed of 17 m/s; (e), wind speed of 20 m/s; (f), wind speed of 25 m/s; (g), wind speed of 30 m/s.
Fig. 5 Wind erosion depth along the horizontal position under different wind speed in S3
Fig. 6 Relationship between root mean squared height (RMSH) and wind speed
Fig. 7 Differences in the wind erosion depth among different soil samples. S1, S2, and S3 refer to sample number.
Fig. 8 Relationship between relative error and wind erosion depth
Fig. 9 Relationship of wind erosion mass with soil organic matter and CaCO3 content
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