July 22, 2011 - Dust storm in the Sahara Desert

Dust storm in the Sahara Desert

A massive dust storm blew over Algeria in mid-July 2011, just days after another storm in the same area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured a natural-color image on July 15, 2011.

The dark terrain in the east (right) of the image is the western portion of Tassili n’Ajjer, a mountain range in the Sahara desert. Much of the range, including cypress and important archeological sites, is protected in a National Park.

In the center of the image, a thick layer of camel-colored dust obscures the land, stretching hundreds of kilometers across the arid landscape. In the lower right, white clouds cast shadows on the tan dust underneath.

Sand seas, including Erg Chech, found to the southwest of this image, sprawl across the borders of Algeria, Mauritania, and Mali. These sandy deserts provide ample material for dust storms. Meanwhile, hot weather destabilizes air near the ground, allowing even light winds to loft dust particles into the air.

The majority of the dust-covered land in this image belongs to Algeria. The country which lies southwest of the black boundary line is Mali.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 7/15/2011
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC