Dust plumes blew out of the Taklimakan Desert toward the east on April 8, 2007. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard the Aqua satellite took this picture the same day. In this image, the dust plumes appear as blurry beige swirls, concentrating in the east. White clouds fringe the desert’s perimeter.
Lying between the Tien Shan Mountains in the north and Kunlun Mountains in the south, the Taklimakan Desert is one of Earth’s largest shifting-sand deserts. Because the area has no drainage, salt collects in the basin, whose lowest point is 150 meters below sea level. Because of its aridity and abundant sand, this desert is a regular source of dust storms in Asia.