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Glacial Dust off Alaska
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Glacial Dust off Alaska

November 7, 2009
Winds blowing off the glacier-capped mountains of southeast Alaska sweep down the canyon formed by the Copper River and gust over the warmer Gulf of Alaska. On October 29, 2009, the winds picked up fine glacial silt, sending a pale brown plume of dust over the ocean. This image was acquired by the MODIS on the Aqua on the same day.

The dust is visible along the elbow-shaped course of the Copper River, filling the valley between the bright white mountains with a blur of haze. Snow and dust are not the only evidence of glaciers in the image. Blue-green swirls in the Gulf of Alaska are probably sediment, ground fine by glaciers, that has washed into the ocean from the Copper River and other outlets.


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