A long, thick plume of dust stretched across western Turkmenistan and over the Caspian Sea on June 22, 2022. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of the scene on that same day.
Riding prevailing winds, the dust plume was carried westward and curved northward. The dark tan plume was so thick that it obscured the view of the waters below. A thinner blanket of dust spreads northward, covering the Garabogazköl basin, a shallow lagoon that is almost completely separated from the Caspian Sea by a narrow stretch of land. A small break in the land allows minimal mixing of waters.
Although the source of the sandstorm isn’t visible in this image, it appears to have risen from the Karakum Desert, a massive arid region that occupies nearly seventy percent of Turkmenistan. Sandstorms are one of the most common natural hazards in Turkmenistan and occur more than 140 days each year in some areas of the country.