Dust blew off of Baja California and over the Pacific Ocean in mid-March, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the sandy scene on March 16, 2014.
The heavy tan bands of dust appear to arise from the western edge of the El Vizcaino Desert, a dry, sandy part of the larger Baja California Desert, which covers 77,700 sq km (30,000 sq mi) running from north to south along the Peninsula, primarily on the western slope of the Peninsular Ranges. The mountains of the Peninsular Ranges appear green in this image, with the deserts colored various shades of tan. Much of the Vizcaino Desert appears very light tan, and surrounds the Lago Ojo de Liebre.
Wind blows strongly from the northeast, lofting sand and dust high into the air. The plumes travel hundreds of kilometers southwest across Baja California and the Pacific Ocean. On the same day, heavy dust storms blew across Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas, the result of unsettled weather on the southern Great Plains.