Walking on the DunesSand dunes are large mounds of sand behind ocean beaches (although they also form inland in desert areas). They protect barrier islands such as Cumberland Island from the effects of wind, waves, and storms. Dunes form when waves encourage the accumulation of sand, and where prevailing winds blow the sand inland. Obstacles such as pebbles or vegetation trap the moving sand grains and start the formation of a dune. Sea oats are one of the few plants that will grow on a sand dune. Their roots hold the sand in place, while the leaves stop and collect blowing sand. Without sea oats the dunes would be destroyed by storms, floods, and wind.This image is copyright and may not be used without specific authorization. Permission is explicitly denied for Pinterest.