Did anyone else come down the stairs on their bum when they were little? One step at a time?
Turns out that’s totally a valid research tool…if you happen to work on sand dune sounds.
Objects that are higher (sand grains on the top of a sand dune in this case) have gravitational potential energy. If the sand is disturbed and begins to move down the slope this potential energy transforms into movement (kinetic) energy. Given the right location (sand grains have to be similarly shaped to all produce a similar sound) and weather conditions (to produce a surface layer of sand that will begin to move in the correct manner) some of this kinetic energy can transform to acoustic energy – sound waves that make the dunes sing.
This video describes it much better than me.