Subarenaceous animals are those which can move long distances through dry sand - like sandfish lizards, or Dune's sandworms. The main problem they have to tackle is turning the sand immediately around them into a sort of fluid which they can move through.

Real subarenaceous animals do this by undulating, but I'm wondering - would it be possible for an organism to produce (high-frequency, I'm assuming?) sound to do this? The air vibrations would, according to this design, fluidize the sand. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluidization for more information on how this works.

  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK Yeah I know, I mentioned it in the answer actually. However, I just want to know if this kind of strategy would be possible. $\endgroup$ – SealBoi May 18 '19 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ Subarenaceous is a new word to me, so thanks for that ;-) $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime May 18 '19 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ We do see sand being liquefied using air right here $\endgroup$ – Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica May 18 '19 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ @GreenieE. Yep, that's fluidization. $\endgroup$ – SealBoi May 18 '19 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @SealBoi then you can pretend that there is some sort of desert where there are natural "air springs" that are in certain areas, making "sand lakes" in the middle of your deserts that these creatures live in. $\endgroup$ – Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica May 18 '19 at 21:42

I think Explosive Liquefaction, and not Fluidization, is the effect you are looking for.

Soil Liquefaction or Explosive Liquefaction can occur when an intense pressure wave travels through the ground. It has been extensively studied by mining engineering and weapons designers. Generally, mining engineers want to avoid it, while weapons designers want to maximize it when attacking fortifications and buildings.

Effects of Explosive Liquefaction

If your subarenaceous creature generated intense impulses by vibrating, croaking, clicking chitinous plates of its exoskeleton together and if that impulse was intimately coupled to the surrounding sand or soil, then they could swim forward or backward, displacing the momentarily liquified ground.

To fluidize the ground, they would need to inject gases into the soil all around their bodies, then they could move around until the gases diffused.

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    $\begingroup$ note vibrating the ground also compacts it, and causes any tunnel to copplase so it won't be any easier to move through. $\endgroup$ – John May 18 '19 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ How big would/could it be? Are we talking Dune size or what? $\endgroup$ – Joe Smith May 24 '19 at 1:05

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