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Dust Storm in the Sahara

Dust Storm in the Sahara

A dust storm blew through parts of Algeria and Mali in early July 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on July 10, 2011.

In places, the airborne dust forms a camel-colored cloud thick enough to completely hide the land surface below, especially near the Algeria-Mali border. The dark land surface northeast of the storm is the relatively high, rocky ground of Tassili n’Ajjer National Park where stone forests stretch skyward.

Source points for the dust storm are not obvious in this image, but a massive sand sea known as Erg Chech covers parts of northeastern Mali and western Algeria. The shifting dunes of this region provide plentiful material for dust storms.

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