ABSTRACT Weathering simulations carried out using a climatic cabinet have demonstrated that diurnal temperature and humidity variations typical of those occurring in warm desert environments are ineffective in causing static breakage of quartz dune sand and polymineralic regolith sand grains. Wetting and drying combined with temperature variations was also found to be a relatively ineffective weathering process. These results suggest that ‘crack tip’ processes are insignificant where mineral grains are not subject to static loading. Sodium sulphate weathering was found to cause slight damage to quartz dune sand grains and major damage to first cycle regolith grains. Feldspars and mica in the regolith sands were more susceptible to salt action than quartz. Salt weathering of the regolith sands produced substantial quantities of silt in the size range typically found in natural loess deposits.