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.

Funding Information:

This work was supported by:
  • Funding information not available.


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

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DOI 10.16904/envidat.60
Publication State Published
  • Given Name: Francesco  Family Name: Comola  Email: francesco.comolafoo(at)  ORCID: 0000-0002-3867-732X  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  DataCRediT: Collection, Validation, Curation, Software, Publication
  • Given Name: Johan  Family Name: Gaume  Email: johan.gaumefoo(at)  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
  • Given Name: Jasper F.  Family Name: Kok  Email: jfkokfoo(at)  Affiliation: University of California, Los Angeles  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
  • Given Name: Michael  Family Name: Lehning  Email: lehningfoo(at)  Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, SLF, Davos  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
Contact Person Given Name: Francesco  Family Name: 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
Content License ODbL with Database Contents License (DbCL)    [Open Data]
Last Updated November 3, 2019, 17:31 (CET)
Created January 24, 2019, 09:17 (CET)

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