Dust Storm in Bodele Depression Chad
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Dust Storm in Bodele Depression, Chad

April 17, 2013
A dust storm cuts a wide swath across this image of the Bodele Depression in the country of Chad. The brown, tan, and gold colors are the sands of the Sahara; the country on the right, dominating the image is Chad. On the left side of the image is Southeastern Niger, on the bottom left is Northwestern Nigeria and a small piece of Nothern Cameroon. This storm comes as no surprise as the Bodele is the largest source of dust on the planet. Dust storms of this sort occur so frequently that they have left a permanent scar on the landscape. High winds carry sand from the erg, or sand dune deserts, of the Sahara high into the air and are transported as far as Europe, the Middle East, and the even the Western Hemisphere. Dust storms are a natural phenomenon and may “fertilize” the oceans and even the Amazon rain forest by carrying and depositing minerals over great distances. However, they are sometimes exacerbated by agricultural practices that cause soil erosion- a process called desertification. Projects sponsored by the United Nations and other international organizations are currently underway to remedy this problem by creating barriers to block to movement of sand and planting vegetation to keep sand in place.

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