MNN Galleries

10 dust storms as seen from space

By: Katherine Butler on Aug. 14, 2012, 6:04 p.m.
dust storm over China

Photo: NASA

2 of 12

A perfect storm

For centuries, China experienced intense dust storms every 30 or so years. But since 1990, they now occur every year because of deforestation and extreme water us. Pictured here is a dust storm in China that was so powerful that it “blocked enough sunlight to leave the skies as dark as midnight, and reduced visibility to roughly 20 meters (65 feet),” according to NASA. The April 7, 2001 storm was so intense that it created its own topography with “ridges of dust” rising up within the cloud itself. In fact, this storm carried dust across the Atlantic Ocean, landing in Maryland. The image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite.