Europe's Largest Sand Dune Continues To Make Inroads


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If you happen to be anywhere near the coastal town of La Teste-de-Buch in France, you will see an astonishing sight - One that may make you think you are in the Sahara Desert rather than the middle of Europe - A giant sand dune!

Measuring 3km (1.86 miles) long, 50m (164 feet) wide and 100m (328 feet) high, this mountain of sand better known as the Great Dune of Pyla, is the largest sand dune in Europe and growing bigger, every year. Believed to have doubled in size over the last hundred years, it is swallowing roads, houses and even parts of the Atlantic Wall, a large system of fortifications built along the western coast of France by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. And if that is not scary enough, it has also begun to make inroads into the pine forest of the La Teste-de-Buch that lies directly behind it.

The monster is the creation of the Banc D' Arguin, a huge sandbank that lies just half a mile off the coastline. During low tide, the sand dries and is swept onto shore by the strong westerly Atlantic winds, where it gathers into a large mound. When this 'mountain' of sand becomes too heavy, it collapses under its own weight and the sand gets carried further inland, by the wind. Over the years, so much sand has accumulated, that it is has turned into a giant dune!

Given that nothing can be done to stop this natural phenomenon and the fact that it looks stunning, the French have accepted the Great Dune of Pyla with open arms and turned it into a tourist attraction that is visited by millions of people each year.


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  • reeeeeeeeee
    reeeeeeeeeeabout 2 years
    • Allyalmost 4 years
      Kk um this is cool
      • hialmost 4 years
        nice i would not what to go there. : )
        • edits...mabout 4 years
          I love this website this website! Is their anymore information about? I'm doing a project on this one!!
          • Bob the guyover 4 years
            D: I personally don't think the sand dune is doing any good. They should at least try to slow it down! It's eating forests! If you want a beach, go to a regular beach!
            • jammeryqt
              jammeryqtover 5 years
              I'm horrible at social studies!
              • jammeryqt
                jammeryqtover 5 years
                I just started doing this so i'm very slow
                • pragie123
                  pragie123about 6 years
                  I did a project on sand dunes and i shared it to my class today. I should have used THIS arcticle for reasearch!!! Darn it!!!!
                  • nameover 6 years
                    That is cool. Who knew?
                    • nameover 6 years
                      really cool pretty too!