The Singing Barhan - Singing sand duneThe Singing Barhan - Singing sand dune

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  • Off the path Explo
    78 %
    Off the path Explo rate
    3.9 / 5
    It seems to be a very singular and off the path spot! Cool Explo!
  • Article Quality
    48 %
    Article Quality rate
    • Score
      4 / 5
      Description is ok!
    • Score
      0 / 5
      Hum... more information would be needed!
    • Score
      1 / 5
      Yes, 1
    • Score
      2 / 5
      Hard to say...
    • Score
      5 / 5
  • Explo Popularity

Across the Ili river in the north-east from Almaty there is a strange mountain. It is made of light tones sand and against the background of the dark ridges of the Dzungarian Alatau - the Big and Small Kalkans - represents an extraordinary sight thanks to the color contrast. The sand mountain is 1,5 km long and 120 m high.

My experience, Explo description: 

The barhan is located in a peculiar passage between the Kalkans ridges. It has been formed as a result of wind activity bringing sand from the Ili banks and laying it in this place. In dry weather the sand runs down the barhan's slope, and a sound appears. Gradually it increases and sounds like a streamer hooter. A similar natural phenomenon is known in other places of the globe as well: In the Arabian Desert, on the Hawaiian Islands, in America and China. For a long time the nature of sand sounding has been a mystery.

In 1962 V. Arabadzhi, a physicist from Leningrad, made a series of observations of the Singing Barhan: he recorded the sand sound, measured the temperature, strength and direction of wind, determined the sand fractions. The reason of the sand sound turned out to be its movement. When walking on the sand, the sounds remind of snow crunching, quick and strong movement causes the sound like a scream. The more is a moving mass the more expressive is the sound - from week squeak to crash. The sound appears due to other conditions as well.

The biggest volume falls at the middle of the day and at the temperature of about +24°. The sounds are produced only by a dry sand mass. Having climbed one of its three peaks, one can admire the Ili river and Zailiisky Alatau ridge panorama. If the mountain keeps silence impatient visitors make it sing. For this one must quickly run down the south slope where the sand is not compressed so much. The sand jets will run from under the legs, and strong buzzing will appear form the barhan's depth. Sometimes besides sounding the barhan starts shaking. And it gives the impression of an earthquake.

My personal recommendations: 

Not yet visited. Hope I correctly placed this explo, using the sattelite view