Friday, April 18, 2008

Stomping the S1nging Dune

Last weekend, my friends and I went to the dunes. From the pictures you would think that it would be just another dune series. But this particular dune is quite special. It is called the singing dune.

There are about thirty singing dunes throughout the world. A few in the states, Mongolia, China, Morocco, Chile and other places that I didn't find in my google search. And of course one of them is in Qtar. To appreciate the singing dune, one really has to be there.

They say on a really really dry and perhaps windy day you can hear the low-pitch humming and sometimes roaring sound of the dunes as far as 10km away. The older days the locals around this area used to associate this sound to djins. Marco Polo in the 13th Century said the singing sands, which he ascribed to evil desert spirits, "at times fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms.

However, science explains that this sound is caused by the friction of the sand. It emanates from crescent shape dune or the barchans. The avalanche movement or slumping of the sand is usually triggered by passing wind or even walking. This movement if occurs particularly at the middle of the crescent will amplify the sound due to the natural amphitheater shape of the dune. There are many theories to it of course, too complex, to be read and told. In fact, there is still no conclusive findings to this phenomenon.

Initially we didn't hear any sound. I am disappointed. I was hoping to hear the humming sound the moment I stepped out of the car. Actually we did hear some humming low decibel sound and was temporarily excited. Alas to find jet fighter and army planes zooming above us. Ada YOU ASS punya kem tentera dekat-dekat situ. Camp ni lah yang supposedly shown in the movie transformer kena serang dengan decepticon yang canggih itu. Tapi dalam movie tu tipulah. Qtar mana ada gunung ganang macam dalam movie tu. Nampak macam Oman adalah.

Anyway, I was disappointed of the lack of sound but not surprised, because it has been drizzling in Qtar. Yes yes you read it right. It drizzled a bit that week. I read that any presence of moisture will reduce the sound production of the dune.

So I just took a walk on the dunes. As I was coming down running, I could feel the sand vibrating beneath my feet and sometimes I managed to produce a squeak or two. That discovery was an opening for more discoveries of the dune singing.

Later on we began to discover how to produce the sound better. Suffice to say that we managed to make the sound by sliding ourself downwards from the top of the dune. But still not as much.

I feel that we need to go again so I could take a video of us doing it. In the middle of the crescent with a lot of paddling movement and continuously going down. The more the merrier.

To appreciate the sound, I attached a recording of the sound produced by other people somewhere in the desert of Chile.



As usual some pictures HERE.


k.d said...

Ooooohh...I would looove to go and experience that.

So Qatar been drizzling ye. Here it's been as cold as winter with hail and slit.

It seems that we're not getting any summer this year...:(

Lollies said...

alaa sikit aje drizzlingnya. sungguh menghampakan. suku cawan pun tak sampai. and it's been sand storm for almost a week now. tandanya hot scorching summer is coming. blearghh

MULAN said...

teruja betol nak pi nih..!! he he bila la kapalku nak mendarat kat qatar..??

oh pasal gambar farihah & adik dia tu, gambar adik dia i tak pernah tengok. sbb tak tau mana satu..

anyway thanx for all d pics..

JoKontan said...

As always, Beautifuuuuuul .jpgs.

Amender kat bawah, rite hand corner tuu. Buih-buih air laut?

Lollies said...

mulan - heh heh. sekarang dah nampak yang mana satu?

jo - yang puteh2 tu sebenarnya rocks and gravel warna puteh. tempat ni, subhanaAllah, really strange. kawasan luas berbatu-batu, tup-tup ada dune, pastu batu lagi, tup tup ada dune. like other dunes yg i pergi semuanya memang pasir. yang ni base dia batu. macam dune tu terletak aje atas kawasan batu.