Two tendrils of dust blew northward from Laguna Mar Chiquita in Argentina on July 27, 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. The dust plumes appear as white wisps that fan out as they blow northward. The small red outlines are hotspots, where the satellite sensor detected areas with unusually high surface temperatures, probably fires.
Mar Chiquita is a permanent saltwater lagoon in the Argentine provinces of Cordoba and Santiago del Estero. The lagoon is roughly 100 by 40 kilometers and 4 meters deep. Each year, the lagoon’s water level, surface area, and salinity change. Beginning in 1977, the lagoon level increased and salt concentration decreased. This was likely due to a series of unusually wet years. Whenever the lake level recedes, however, the dry lakebed sediments provide material for dust storms. Characteristic of lakebed sediments, the dust plumes shown in this image are very light in color.