Last update: November 14th, 2019 at 11:00 am
Streaks of tan dust blew westward off the coast of Namibia in early April 2016. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this true-color image on April 6.
The dust storm appears to arise near the mouth of the Orange River, which forms the boundary between Namibia (north) and South Africa (south). The Orange River wends its way over 2,200 km (1,367 mi) from its origins in Lesotho to Alexander Bay, where the often-silty waters flow into the Atlantic Ocean.
The drainage basin stretches about 973,000 sq. km (375,677 sq. mi) over four countries: Namibia, South Africa,Lesotho, and Botswana. Near the coast the river cuts through arid desert, which is rich in sand and dust. Dust storms are common in this region, especially in the fall and winter when strong winds blow off the coast.