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Far North Death Valley

Eureka Sand Dunes

FN4. Location/Access:
(37o 06.741’N, 117o 40.858’W) The Eureka Dunes can be reached by a side road heading south 11 miles from the Big Pine Road. The road in from Big Pine is paved until it reaches the valley floor whereupon it becomes gravel. The main gravel road is usually in excellent shape but the side route down to the dunes often has severe washboards.

Best Time: Afternoon, all year.

Geology: The Eureka Valley Sand Dunes are the highest in the state at about 676 feet (Berkstresser, 1974). The dunes are either longitudinal or transverse as can be seen from higher vantage points such as near Site FN3. They have characteristics of both types. The sand is mostly derived from local washes such as those draining down from the granitic rocks to the west. The northerly winds then blow the sand south towards the dunes. As the wind rises over the mountains, it lifts off the ground and looses its saltating ability and the sand is dropped and dunes form. These dunes are also “booming sands”. That is, under proper circumstances, they make noise. Although the Kelso Dunes south of Death Valley and Sand Mountain near Fallon, Nevada produce better noise, one can get the dunes to make the vibrating booming noise here at Eureka Dunes by climbing the highest dune and then jumping down the northwest face and causing a sand cascade. Booming sands are produced when the sand grains are all about the same size (about .7mm), polished and pitted and made of quartz. The resulting vibration of one grain against another produces the sound. On these dunes, since the sound is not too obvious, it will help if there is no wind and you listen closely as you start a cascade near the top.



ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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