Sand Tornado (Desert Week)

Tuesday, 17th June 2008 by

We're continuing the first annual GSS Desert Week! In time-honoured tradition, we’ll mostly be posting about deserts. For about a week!

The Sahara is probably the world's most famous desert, and covers much of northern Africa. However today we're only looking at one tiny part of the desert, in the country of Niger.

It's not obvious at first, but if you look closely at the top of this sand dune you'll see what we think is a dust devil (which is like a tornado made of sand).

Sandstorms are common in the Sahara and the walls of sand can reach up to 6,000 metres high. In fact, so much sand is blown up into the air that the Earth has an atmospheric layer made up entirely of Sahara sand!

This image comes to Google Earth as part of the National Geographic Megaflyover project. See all our previous posts for more of the fantastic high-resolution images.

Read more on Dust Devils and the Sahara on Wikipedia.

Thanks to Yvan.