Dust storm off the coast of Libya • Earth.com

Last update: September 18th, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Stormy weather kicked up an intense dust storm off the coast of Libya in late May 2016, driving a thick river of sand over the coast and across the Mediterranean Sea. Only about 1 percent of Libya’s land is arable, and inland sand seas provide copious material for dust storms.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on May 20. The tan-colored plume of dust and sand is so thick that it blocks the blue waters of the Mediterranean from view. Bright white clouds in the east likely are part of the windy system responsible for driving the dust storm.


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