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Most will agree that nothing is more relaxing that lying or walking on a beach. While unwinding, have you ever wondered what caused those big mounds of sand that you crossed to get there? This topic in depth addresses this issue, featuring Web sites that discuss sand dune processes and formations. Some of the Web sites also discuss research, mining, and protection activities taking place in areas with sand dune.The Environment Bay of Plenty in New Zealand has an online brochure (1) dealing with the coastal processes that form sand dunes and beaches. From this site, users can obtain a general understanding of how dunes change with time. Ted Brambleby developed the second site (2) for the Marine Education Society of Australasia, Inc. This site gives a great overview of the functions and formations of dunes as well as describing their unique beauty and strategies on how to care for the dunes. Produced by Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the third site (3) is an online pamphlet discussing the physical features and locations of sand dunes in Nova Scotia. Visitors can also read about the ecosystem supported by these dynamic features. The forth site (4), created by John Mangimeli for the National Park Service, is a review of the scientific research completed throughout the years dealing with the geology of sand dunes. Visitors will find a more in-depth discussion about sand movement, sand accumulation, and sand dune features. The fifth site is a scientific paper (5 ) written by R.L. Van Dam, et al. Studying the long term evolution of the Parengarenga Sandspit, these researchers used ground penetrating radar (GPR) "to (1) explore the possibilities for mapping lateral continuity of the coffee rock, (2) study the sedimentary architecture and stratigraphy of the solitary dunes, and (3) reconstruct the wind regime on the sandspit." The next two sites discuss the threats to sand dunes and activities taking place to protect them. The Lake Michigan Federation addresses the issues of mining (6). Visitors can learn about alternatives to mining dune sand and the ecological values of dunes. The Department of Environmental Quality in Michigan created a site (7) that provides users with statistical information dealing with the amount of sand harvested, the regulations of mining, and maps of critical dune areas. After learning about the formation, processes, threats, and protections efforts; the last site (8), created by Eva Hornecker with the University of Bremen, will allow users to get a real sense of the beauty of the sand dunes. The site features a collage of spectacular images of the Great Sand Dunes in the San Luis Valley.
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