On March 14, 2008, a dust storm struck southern New Mexico, near the borders with Texas and Mexico. The dust came from White Sands National Monument. At White Sands, pale gypsum sand covers some 715 square kilometers (275 square miles) of desert, providing ample material for storms when strong winds strike.
This image, acquired on March 14 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows the dust storm blowing eastward away from the national park. The white gypsum dunes contrast sharply with the surrounding landscape, and the dust plumes emerging from the park share the same characteristic color. Outside of the park, patches of green attest to the presence of vegetation, but the region is mostly arid, with earth tones predominating.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response team. Caption by Michon Scott.