deflation hollow

Water may be the main sculptor of rock and the surface of the planet, but wind is also a carver and shaper. On a beach, wind can scoop out a hollow in hours, pushing and tossing away one grain of sand at a time until a bank or ridge or dune appears hollowed out, deflated. Inland, wind also carves a slope to its fancy, as sure as it can carve a drift of snow. Wind abrades and blasts one particle of the slope at a time, over centuries, over millennia, until the soil or rock is hollowed out by the prevailing draft of air armed with abrasive grit, tiny wind-carried teeth. On the high mountain peaks of the southern Appalachians prevailing winds not only bend and stunt the growth of trees, but also hollow out bins and wallows, sometimes called tumbles by the local people, on the balds and high unprotected ground. The largest deflation hollow in the contiguous United States is Big Hollow in Albany County, Wyoming. It’s forty square miles and a perfectly suitable sight in a state known for wind.

Robert Morgan