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How do ventifacts form?

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Quick Answer

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, ventifacts are formed when windblown sand or other particles erode the surface of stone, resulting in polished, flattened facets. These facets are cut in sequence and correlate to the direction of the wind that blew the sound that eroded them. Ventifacts are found mainly in arid regions or areas with little to no vegetation.

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With subsequent erosion, the stone may lose its balance, exposing another surface to the effects of wind. Ventifacts are mostly formed from hard rocks under extreme arid conditions. According to the International Association of Geomorphology, ventifacts thrive in areas with abundant sand and wind that exceeds the threshold needed for sand movement. In most cases, their form and nature depends on the composition, shape and texture of the original rock. Contrary to what many people believe, ventifacts need not be big. Depending on how they form, they can be small flat stones that easily fit into the palm or the size of a trailer. It is common for the texture of ventifacts to be a result of petrological or mineralogical hardness variations present in the rock. On the other hand, it may also be a result of the primary texture of the rock.

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