Notes From Deep Springs II

In Volume II of Notes From Deep Springs, Bennet Bergman talks about the Eureka Dunes. Bergman attends Deep Springs College in California and will be writing about his life in the Sierras. Stay tuned for more “Notes from Deep Springs” in the coming weeks.

Last July, nineteen of us took a trip to the Eureka Valley sand dunes on the night of the full moon. Eureka is just the next valley over from us, but the drive takes a couple of hours over roughly-graded gravel roads. We’re lucky to be so close—Eureka is in the northernmost region of Death Valley National Park, and it’s a pretty low-traffic area, even though it’s home to some of the highest dunes in North America, and on the full moon it’s totally gorgeous and prehistoric.

What else? These dunes sing. If you hike up the steep face of the highest dune and slide back down again, the avalanche of sand produces a sound “like a bass note of a pipe organ or the distant drone of an airplane,” according to the Park Service. If nineteen of you hike up and swim back down the slope on your bare bellies and backs, the dune groans like California is coming loose from the contintent and it rattles your body like you were lying on a giant tuning fork.

The phenomenon is called singing sand, and whether or not you can get it to happen depends on the size, shape, mineral composition and moisture levels of the sand in the dune. Pretty neat. Come check out Eureka.


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4 Responses to Notes From Deep Springs II

  1. Elise May 4, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Beautifully written! Can’t wait to read more.

  2. beth May 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    never did far away seem so close

  3. uterus-endowed July 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm #


  4. xx chromosome August 6, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    ^ lol at ‘uterus-endowed’

    beautiful post, looking forward to more

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