The Albany dunes of eastern New York display parabolic and ovoid characteristics which were caused by westerly and northwesterly winds channeled through the Mohawk Valley during late Wisconsinan time. The sediment composing the dunes is moderately to poorly sorted fine sand that normally lacks rounded and frosted surfaces typical of eolian transportation. The geographic distributions of sediment mean size (Mz) and the proportions of sand in samples indicate no downwind improvement in sorting. The dune materials were infrequently reworked, and thus the dunes did not migrate far downwind. The dunes probably formed in an edaphic desert under a topographically controlled wind regime like today's. Sediment characteristics of samples, especially the maximum deviation from a normal distribution (MDN) and spread (Sp), were used as criteria to separate windblown from nonwindblown sediments of the plains surrounding the dunes. One-half of the plain samples were not windblown; this indicates that the surface sands over a large portion of the study area were not involved in the eolian activity.

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