Dust plumes spread over central Africa on February 11, 2009, as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite flew overhead. This natural-color, photo-like image shows multiple plumes of pale beige dust blowing over the countries that fringe Lake Chad.
The dust plumes near the Bodele Depression in Chad are common; between mountain ranges in Chad, low-lying land creates a natural wind tunnel. This natural feature enables wind to kick up dust and sometimes to transport it halfway around the world, providing the Amazon with fertile soil.
Besides dust plumes in the Bodele Depression, this image shows plumes to the southwest, over Cameroon and Nigeria, where the land is more vegetated. Because these countries have different terrain than their neighbors to the north, these plumes probably did not arise locally. This dust may have blown in from the Bodele Depression and/or the sand seas stretching from western Chad well into Niger.