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Intense Dust Storm Blows Over Egypt
Credit: NASA

An intense dust storm blew over Sudan and Egypt on July 15, 2010, moving out over the Red Sea towards Saudi Arabia.

The storm was caught by NASA's Aqua satellite at 2:20 p.m. local time

Dust storms, also called sandstorms, arise when strong winds blows loose sand up from a dry surface; they are particularly common in arid regions of the world, in this case, the Sahara Desert.

Dust storms aren't just limited to the Sahara and the Middle East though, they can also happen in the western and plains regions of the United States. The years of drought during the Great Depression caused much of the topsoil in states like Kansas and Oklahoma to become dried out, and as a result huge dust storms blew through the region in the 1930s - the period is called the Dust Bowl for this reason.

Dust is known to lift off continents and migrate across oceans. Desert-dust storms whip up and disperse an estimated 2.4 billion tons of soil and dried sediment throughout the Earth's atmosphere annually, scientists estimate.