Derived from the Turkish word yar, meaning a “steep bank” or “precipice,” yardangs are a desert landform: they are narrow, steep-sided ridges carved from bedrock or any consolidated or semi-consolidated material formed by wind abrasion (by sand and dust) and deflation. Yardangs usually occur in groups, with the ridges running parallel to each other and in the direction of the prevailing wind. Yardangs are typically three or more times longer than wide, and they are highest and broadest at the blunt end that faces into the wind. Yardangs may be found in the Mojave Desert as well as in Oregon coastal sand dunes.

Arthur Sze