Faint tendrils of dust appears in the Taklimakan Desert on May 21, 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, the dust appears as a slightly lighter shade of tan partly covering the ground surface along the northern edge of the desert. In the high-resolution image, ripples in the desert’s sandy surface are visible.
Lying in the Tarim Basin, between the Tien Shan Mountains to the north and Kunlun Mountains to the south, the Taklimakan Desert is home to one of Earth’s largest shifting-sand deserts. The basin’s lowest point is roughly 150 meters (490 feet) below sea level, and salt collects in the basin due to lack of drainage. Because of its aridity and abundant sand, this desert produces many dust storms in Asia.
On May 10, 2007, a dust storm covered most of the Taklimakan Desert in western China. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured an image of the storm at 05:50 UTC. The storm had intensified by the time the MODIS sensor on NASA’s Aqua satellite took another picture at 07:30 UTC.