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Dust Storm in Afghanistan

Dust Storm in Afghanistan

The Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) viewed this large dust storm over Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan today (May 18, 2001). The dust (tan pixels) appears to be lifted from the Khash and Margow Deserts of Southwestern Afghanistan, carried southward along the Iran border and then angling eastward into Pakistan.

The various shades of brown reflect a varied landscape containing expanses of flat open desert, dry lake beds, dune fields, and mountain ranges. The large golden-brown, stingray-shaped region toward the upper right corner of this image is a sandy desert known in Afghanistan as Rigestan. Roughly 480 km (300 miles) due west (left) of Rigestan is the Iranian Lut Desert. The darker brown splotches immediately to the south (below) of Rigestan are Pakistan's Chagai Hills, which mark the border between the two countries. The Siahan Mountains can be seen about 240 km (150 miles) due south of the Chagai Hills.

For more details on some of the environmental effects of large-scale dust storms, see: "When the Dust Settles" and "From the Dust Bowl to the Sahel."

Image courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE