Dust storms swept from the Gobi Desert across Mongolia and China in mid-March, 2014. According to Xinhua News Agency, gale force winds began on March 11, shrouding northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region under a thick veil of dust and sand. Strong winds continued, lifting a massive cloud of tan dust from the Gobi Desert on March 16 and blowing it across northeast China on March 18.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured a true color image of the massive storm in the Gobi desert on March 16. The river of light tan and orange dust is so thick it completely obscures much of the land of Mongolia from view. Scattered clouds hint at the unstable, windy conditions that often occur in the region in the springtime, and are responsible for lofting fine sand particles into the atmosphere to bring dust and sand far across Mongolia and China.