On April 17, 2013, a dust storm blew through parts of China and Mongolia. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image the same day.
Although not as rich in sand as the Sahara Desert or the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, this region still counts among the most dust-prone parts of the world. The April 17 dust storm blew through the Gobi Desert and the Badain Jaran Desert, which is home to some of our planet’s most complex sand dunes. To the west (not visible in this image) is the Taklimakan Desert, a sandy, salt-rich desert that can also produce substantial dust storms. The dust in this image may have included fine particles from multiple deserts, picking up additional material is it moved.
Northern Hemisphere springtime brings the greatest frequency of dust storms to the Gobi Desert. Dust storms are most common in March and April.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michon Scott.