Wind degradation on the sandy soils of the Sahel of Mali and Niger and its part in desertification

  • M. Mainguet
  • M. C. Chemin
Part of the Acta Mechanica Supplementum book series (ACTA MECH.SUPP., volume 2)


From South Mauritania to Sudan between the 150 and 600 mm isohyets the sub-Saharan semi-arid lands are covered by a fixed sand sea. Two areas are discussed in this paper: in Niger west and east of the river Niger bend from N’Guigmi to Niamey and in Mali leeward of the Niger’s inland delta. The aim is 1) to describe the morphometric data of the sand accumulation, 2) to understand the actual aeolian removal of particles, 3) to analyse the effects of wind erosion in desertification.

The results obtained show that the deposits south of Sahara accumulated on a surface of 600 km are due to the same Wind Action System (WAS). The grain size is constantly and globally decreasing in the Harmattan wind direction. The wind abrasion on the sand particles is increasing in the same direction. The grain size 400 µm is a threshold: the upper limit of actual, average aeolian deflation.

This area, which previously had a positive sediment balance, during the last drought combined with agricultural overuse became an area of sand and dust removal with a negative sediment balance.


Sandy Soil Dust Storm Wind Erosion Sand Particle Sand Ridge 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Mainguet
    • 1
  • M. C. Chemin
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géographie Physique Zonale — UniversitéReimsFrance

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