One of the most unique landscape features in Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes are maintained by a number of steps that take place throughout the year.
One part of the process was captured on satellite and published by the National Weather Service out of Pueblo on Twitter on April 6. Watch below as sand is blown into the dunes:
4/6/21: Ever wonder how the #GreatSandDunes were created and sustained? This satellite image highlights dust and sand (bright pink color) being blown right into the dunes. So, next time you visit the park the dunes may be just a bit taller. #cowx pic.twitter.com/HTajysCoex— NWS Pueblo (@NWSPueblo) April 6, 2021
Sand from the dunes is later blown into the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountain range, which blocks its escape from the San Luis Valley. Snow that accumulates on the range during colder months of the year will eventually melt and bring the sand back to the valley floor with it. The sand is then blown back into the dunes and the process repeats.
While the tweet of the satellite imagery states that the "dunes may be just a bit taller" due to the blowing sand, don't expect to see the difference. While minor surface changes can occur, the dunes have looked roughly the same over the last hundred years.
Tuesday has been windy in Colorado, with a 'high wind warning' activated in parts of the southern region. This weather statement warns of winds up to 60 miles per hour in the area.
Those driving in the area of the Great Sand Dunes have been warned that visibility can be less than a mile at times when the wind is blowing sand like this. Proceed with caution.