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Dust Storm in the Sahara Desert
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Dust Storm in the Sahara Desert

January 22, 2012
The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world, comprising most of North Africa. The boundaries stretch at least 3,000 miles from east to west, and between 800 to 1,200 miles from north to south, depending on the measurement site. Despite its vast size, the Sahara’s sands cannot be confined by the geographic location of the desert itself, but are often blown far from their origin, often traveling far across the North Atlantic Ocean.

On January 18, 2012 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of a dust storm in the Sahara Desert. Dust begins to rise in southwestern Algeria and flows southwest across Western Sahara, Mauritania (center) and over the northwestern corner of Mali. The dust plumes are quite thick and multi-colored, and from space give the appearance of a richly colored tan velvet cloth billowing across the region.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC


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