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A moving mountain of sand

© aluxum/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Stretching out in the sun across our homepage today is Europe’s tallest sand dune, the Dune of Pilat. Here in the Arcachon Bay area of south-west France, this mountain of sand stands about 348ft (106m) above sea level and runs for about 1.7 miles in length. Each year, it moves 3ft to 16ft (1 to 5 metres) eastward, driven by Atlantic winds and tides, gradually burying the trees in the adjoining maritime pine forest below. More than just a pile of sand, this exceptional natural monument is the most-visited site in France’s Aquitaine region and is particularly beautiful at sunset, when the light lends a magical quality to this incredible landscape.
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