Dust Storm over Bolivia



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English: Strong winds whip thick clouds of dust across the Bolivian highlands in this photo-like image. Much of the pale dust along the southern edge of the storm is coming from small white spots, salt pans (dry lake beds), south and south-west of Salar de Uyuni, but little or no dust appears to be blowing off the large salt pans, Salar de Uyuni and Salar de Coipasa. Instead, the dust is multi-colored, pointing to a variety of different soil types. Though the region is typically dry, El Niño brought even drier conditions in late 2009 and 2010. By July, much of Bolivia was in the grip of severe drought, particularly in the south-east. The lack of rainfall may have contributed to the dusty conditions seen in the image.

The dust blows east over the Altiplano, the high plain between ridges of the Andes Mountains. Though much of the Altiplano is hidden beneath dust, the region’s distinctive salt pans are visible. The bright white salt pans are dry lake-beds coated with salts and other minerals left when water evaporates.

The Cordillera Central, or Central Mountains, define the south-eastern edge of the Altiplano. The Bolivian Chaco, a flat, semi-arid grassland/savanna, extends east from the mountains. In this image, the Chaco is covered in a sea of low clouds that seep into mountain valleys along the Cordillera Central. With an elevation more than 3,659 meters above mean sea level, the Altiplano is much higher than the Chaco to the east. Dust from the high Altiplano soars over the mountains and clouds in the south-east corner of the image.
Date 20 July 2010(2010-07-20)
Source NASA Earth Observatory
Author Jeff Schmaltz

Image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)


This image is annotated: View the annotations at Commons

Public Domain


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