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Assessment of Natural Conditions in Lithuania from the Point of View of Wind Erosion



The present article represents an analysis of some regularities of wind erosion in Lithuania. It is based on the investigation data collected in 1988-1991 by researchers from the Institute of Geography (Morkunaitė, Paskauskas, Minkevicius) headed by the author. The field investigations were combined with the laboratory experiments in a wind tunnel. From the data of laboratory experiments, a mathematical model of wind erosion dependence on a number of factors was created:

D = -1789 ± 450v - 357g - 105h - 45m

where D = the volume of blown out soil, t/ha/h; v = wind speed m/s; g = diameter of equivalent soil aggregates, mm; h = humus, %; m = content of physical clay, %.

Following this model the Lithuanian territory was estimated from the point of view of susceptibility to wind erosion (scale numbers). The lowest category of susceptibility to wind erosion (<0.5...3.0 scale numbers) includes the loam and clay soils of rather good structure of Middle and North Lithuanian plains (Kedainiai, Marijampole, Pasvalys, etc. districts).

A comparatively low susceptibility to wind erosion (0.5...3.0, in rarer cases 3.0...6.0) is characteristic of Lithuanian uplands where morainic sandy loams and loams prevail (Telšiai, Molėtai, Trakai, etc. districts).

A comparatively low susceptibility to wind erosion of Southeast Lithuanian fluvioglacial sandy plains (0.5...3.0, 3.0...6.0, in rare cases >6.0) is conditioned by the lowest in Lithuania probability of stronger winds.

The highest susceptibility to wind erosion (10...20, in separate cases till 40-60) is characteristic of the Lithuanian Coastal Plain (particularly the Silute district). This is conditioned by a wide distribution of fine-grained alluvial sands and 2-3 times higher probability of recurrence of strong winds.