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The Ciliated Sand Beetle makes a snake-like path across the sand.
The beetle lives underground, tunneling through the sand to feed on decaying vegetation.
The tunnel collapses as he passes through, leaving a grooved pattern in the sand.
Photo by Dina Pavlis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Wind and water work in harmony to form interesting
sand sculptures near Baker Beach. Although not identical, these formations
stir up memories of the whimsical rock formations found at
Yehliu Geopark on
Taiwan's northern coast. Photo by
Elizabeth Gates, author of
Ebb Tide, A Closer Look.
The setting sun highlights plants along the edge of a tree island.
Bottom: Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) also known as bearberry. Top center: Coast willow
(Salix hookeriana). Top right: European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria). Photo by Dan Pavlis,
October 12, 2008, dunes north of Florence.
Two transverse dunes intersect, giving us insight into how wind and sand
shape the dunes. The dune to the left was formed by summer winds coming from the northwest, while
the dune to the right was formed by winter winds coming from the southwest. Photo by Dan Pavlis,
October 12, 2008, north of Florence, Oregon.
Wind creates a ripple of small dunes that mimic larger transverse
dunes (for a photo of transverse dunes, hover over the thumbnail to the right). This picture is a great study of how wind moves lighter
(whiter) sand differently than heavier (darker) sand. Photo by Dan Pavlis, October 12,
2008, North of Florence, Oregon.
Sunlight and shadows play along a series of summer transverse dunes north
of Florence. Formed by strong summer winds that blow out of the northwest, summer transverse dunes
have a gentle slope on the windward side and a steep "slip face" on the leeward side. Photo by Dan
Pavlis, October 12. 2008.
Pacific Rhododendrons (Rhododendron macrophyllum) are in bloom right now. Blooms vary from pink to dark rose;
there is also a rare white variety. Growing wild in the forested areas to the east of the dunes and sporadically
appearing in the deflation plain, this native plant is a favorite of locals and visitors. Flowers appear any time
from early to late spring and sometimes last into summer. In most areas, large numbers of "rhodies" bloom at once,
creating a spectacular show of color throughout the forest and along the edges of the dunes. The city of Florence
celebrates this fantastic display with its annual Rhododendron Festival (the third weekend in May). Photo by Dina
Pavlis, Honeyman State Park, June 1, 2008.
Before the Siuslaw ("sigh-YOU-slaw") River jetty was built and sand
dunes were stabilized by European beachgrass, the mouth of the Siuslaw River would swing up to
one mile north and south due to sand movement. Sandbars were constantly shifting, causing boats
to become stranded as they tried to enter and exit through the ever-changing mouth of the river.
Learn about other transportation problems that occurred due to moving sand in
Secrets of the Oregon Dunes. Photo by Dina Pavlis, May 9, 2008, mouth of the Siuslaw
River, North Jetty Beach, Florence, Oregon.
These paleosols (buried soils) were exposed when sand blew
eastward across the dunes. These are most likely "young" paleosols, probably 6,000
to 10,000 years old. Some paleosols were created when sand buried the trees and
plants of the forest, causing them to change into soil. Some of
the trees on this dune are half-buried; this is happening now as sand continues to
blow eastward each summer. Sand moves inland at a rate of about 5 feet per year
(and the dunes you see here were created by this type of sand movement happening for
over 6,000 years). Below the paleosols are even older dunes; in some areas they are
over 100,000 years old! You can find out more about these ancient dunes, in Secrets of the Oregon Dunes.
Photo by Dina Pavlis, ODNRA, south of Florence, Oregon (December 2007).
The top of a tall tree stands as a reminder of a long-ago buried forest. Tree tops like this appear
throughout the dunes where sand crept eastward, burying the forest in its path. Sand continues to march forward, even today, at
a rate of up to 1/2 inch per day. This photo was taken at the top of the retention ridge (as discussed in Secrets of the Oregon Dunes).
Photo by Dina Pavlis, October 13, 2006, Oregon Dunes Day Use Area, ODNRA.
Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus, also known as L.
maritimus), blooming on the dunes in May. Beach Pea with its striking violet flowers is found primarily
on foredunes along the coast. It will develop pea pods later in the year. Some
Native American tribes ate the pods raw or boiled and preserved with seal oil.
Photos by Dina Pavlis, May 9, 2008; North Jetty Beach foredunes.
Coastal Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis), blooming on the dunes in May.
Coastal Strawberry (white flowers) is found throughout the Oregon Dunes and produces
fruit early in the season. The berries are extremely small, but surprisingly sweet.
Both of these plants are native to our area. Unfortunately, as shown in these
pictures, they must fight to survive alongside the introduced European
beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) which is overtaking native plant habitat.
Information about why we planted European beachgrass can be found in Secrets of
the Oregon Dunes. Photos by Dina Pavlis, May 9, 2008; North Jetty Beach
The deflation plain (green strip of trees and plants) creeps
eastward, swallowing up the dunes. The tall foredune (as mentioned in the book) can be
seen in the upper right of the photo (next to the waterline). The sandy foredune in the
top center has been cleared by the forest service in an effort to create Snowy Plover
habitat. Oregon Dunes Day Use Area, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Photo by Dina Pavlis, June 6, 2004.
Winter winds and rain create a "sea" of sand, complete with waves and ripples.
This picture was taken near the South Jetty Beach in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (near Florence, Oregon).
Sand formations like these are called "yardangs."
This picture was taken December 8, 2007.
The trees in the background are at the eastern edge of the deflation plain (as explained in the book).
Photo by Dina Pavlis.