Wind is the primary agent of erosion, transportation and deposition in the arid (desert) areas of the Earth.

The power of the wind to erode the land is evident when a drought occurs in a farming region. The soil dries up and the vegetation cover is reduced. As a result, the soil turns to dust.

For example, large areas of once-rich farmland in the American Midwest were reduced to dust bowls as the wind stripped away the rich topsoil.

Deserts - empty places with little plant or animal life - provide ideal conditions for wind erosion. There is no surface water or vegetation to bind the rock and sandy soil together to resist the force of the wind.

Wind-blown, hard sand grains act like abrasives, cutting, pitting and polishing rocks. Because sand grains are heavy, they are seldom lifted more than two meters above the ground, so wind-powered sandblasting occurs mostly at low levels.

Sand that has been blown by the wind carves out deep depressions in the surface rocks.

The wind also creates strange shapes in rocks. The bases of large rocks are worn away, while the tops are untouched.

As a result, large rocks are carved into mushroom shapes, with narrow, eroded stems supporting large, uneroded tops.  Sometimes rocks containing a number of layers are carved into jagged-edged pedestals, called yardangs.

A large resistant body of rock rising above the desert debris is called an inselberg (German for "island mountain").

A famous inselberg is Ayers Rock in central Australia.

Pebbles and boulders are also polished and grooved by wind action to form ventifacts, which often have smooth sides separated by sharp edges. Even the grains of sand are themselves rounded and worn down. The rounded, small grains are known as millet seed sands.