Dust blew off the coast of western Africa on February 13, 2014, covering the Cape Verde Islands and the North Atlantic Ocean with a nearly opaque veil. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured several swaths of the event on that same day, resulting in this true-color mosaic image of the broad swirling sands carried over the North Atlantic. A mosaic is created when several images, each collected in a five-minute time period, or “swath”, are joined together to create a complete image of an event.
Distinct plumes of dust can be seen blowing off the coast of Western Sahara (north), Mauritania (center) and Senegal (south), but the dust itself likely rises well inland. Sandy deserts cover most of Mauritania, and those sand seas are often the source of dust in this region. The Bodélé Depression, located in north central Africa, is also a frequent source of massive dust storms in the region.