A large, swirling mass of dust, visible on the top left portion of the image, is blowing from the Sahara into the Mediterranean Sea. The country on the left is Libya, while the Nile Delta of Egypt is clearly recognizable on the right side of the image. Dust storms occur when very strong winds carry sand from the erg, or sand dune deserts, of the Sahara. They are a naturally occurring phenomenon and may “fertilize” the oceans and even the Amazon rain forest by carrying and depositing minerals over great distances. However, dust storms are often exacerbated by agriculture practices that contribute to soil erosion- a process called desertification. Projects are currently underway to remedy this problem by creating barriers to block to movement of sand and by planting vegetation to keep sand in place.
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