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December 27, 2013
(22 Nov. 2011) --- A dust plume over the Bahia Blanca, Argentina is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station. This panoramic view of eastern Argentina and the Atlantic coastline is centered near Bahia Blanca, which is also highlighted by sun glint. The oblique view looks generally westward (and downwards) from the orbital position of the space station towards a large plume of dust blowing southeastward from the interior and over the open Atlantic Ocean. The only significant cloud cover was located offshore (upper left). Northwestern and central Argentina are subject to frequent dust storms where a combination of extensive late Pleistocene loess—fine sediments deposited by wind and typically associated with former continental glaciers—and strong, dry westerly winds descending from the Andes, known locally as the pampero sucio, combine to produce sudden and extensive clouds of the fine soil. The particular dust event illustrated by the image covers much of the province of Rio Negro and the southern parts of the provinces of La Pampa and Buenos Aires as well as the coastal waters between the Gulf of San Matias (upper left) and Bahia Blanca (center), located approximately 330 kilometers to the northeast. The area illustrated by the image includes the agriculturally productive southern Pampas plain region where it transitions to the drier, less productive low hills and valleys of northern Patagonia. A docked Russian Progress spacecraft is visible at upper right.

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