Saltation of cohesive granular materials

The wind-driven saltation of sand and snow shapes dunes and ripples, generates dust emission, and erodes the surface of the Antarctic ice sheet. Here, we use a model based on the discrete element method to simulate grain-flow interactions and study the effect of particle cohesion on saltation dynamics.

The data contains the model output of granular splash simulations and saltation simulations. Granular splash, the main particle entrainment process in saltation, occurs upon impact of saltating particles with the granular bed. We performed Monte Carlo simulations of granular splash for loose sand grains and for cohesive ice grains. The analysis indicate that different values of cohesion have significant effects not on the number of splashed grains, on the ejection velocity, and the rebound velocity.

In our saltation simulations, we trigger particle movement with a single splash event at the inlet section section and let the system evolve until steady state. Our results show that saltation over cohesive surfaces is difficult to initiate but easy to sustain at low wind speed. The occurrence of transport thus depends on the history of the wind speed, a phenomenon known as hysteresis. We also show that saltation over cohesive surfaces presents higher mass fluxes but requires longer distances to saturate, which increases the size of the smallest stable surface ripples. Our model results have implications for large-scale aeolian processes on Earth and Titan, where sand grains are thought to be very cohesive.


Francesco Comola; Johan Gaume; Jasper F. Kok; Michael Lehning (2019). Saltation of cohesive granular materials. EnviDat. doi:10.16904/envidat.60.

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DOI 10.16904/envidat.60
  • Name: Francesco Comola  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  Email: francesco.comolafoo(at)  ORCID: 0000-0002-3867-732X  DataCRediT: Collection, Validation, Curation, Software, Publication
  • Name: Johan Gaume  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  Email: johan.gaumefoo(at)  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
  • Name: Jasper F. Kok  Affiliation: University of California, Los Angeles  Email: jfkokfoo(at)  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
  • Name: Michael Lehning  Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, SLF, Davos  Email: lehningfoo(at)  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
Contact Person Name: Francesco Comola  Email: francesco.comolafoo(at)  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  ORCID: 0000-0002-3867-732X
Publication Publisher: EnviDat  Year: 2019
  • Type: Created  Date: 2017-07-01  End Date: 2019-01-24
Version 1.0
Type Dataset
General Type Dataset
Language English
Location Switzerland
License Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL)    [Open Data]
Last Updated January 25, 2019, 14:24 (CET)
Created January 24, 2019, 09:17 (CET)