Dust mingled with clouds in the skies over the Taklimakan Desert on April 11, 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard the Terra satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, the dust storm appears as a pale beige swath sweeping over most of the desert. White clouds hover over the southern portion of the desert and fringe its perimeter.
The Taklimakan Desert lies in the Tarim Basin, between the Tien Shan Mountains to the north and Kunlun Mountains to the south. It is one of Earth’s largest shifting-sand deserts. The basin’s lowest point is roughly 150 meters below sea level, and salt collects there because the area has no drainage. Thanks to its aridity and abundant sand, this desert is a reliable source of dust storms in Asia.