Dust Storm over Southwestern Afghanistan

Dust Storm over Southwestern Afghanistan

On June 27, 2008, a dust storm formed over Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day.

In this natural-color image, the pale beige dust plumes partially obscure the land surface below. Much of the dust storm appears to arise from source points in the northwest. Isolated dry salt lakes occur along the border between Iran and Afghanistan, and sand seas cover much of southwestern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, providing plentiful material for dust storms in this region.

In the northeast, some dust blows over Registan (also known as Rigestan) in Afghanistan. On a clear day, this arid plateau contrasts sharply with its surroundings due to its pronounced red-brown sand and distinct dunes. Some of the airborne dust in this storm may have originated in this area, but the subtle waves are actually Registan’s sand dunes.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.

References & Resources

  • Encyclopedia Britannica. (2008). Rigestan. Accessed June 30, 2008. (Registration or subscription may be required.)