A massive dust storm rages across the Tengger Desert in this image of north-central China. This desert region, measuring about 36,700 square kilometers (14,000 square miles), and is located south of the border with Mongolia, to the southeast of and adjacent to the much larger Gobi Desert. Tennger, unlike the Gobi, is comprised of more sand than rock and is therefore subject to frequent and intense dust storms. Agricultural practices and grazing can contribute to the problem; removing ground cover makes the underlying soil drier and more mobile. Long, unobstructed landscapes facilitate high winds, providing a means of transport, picking up fine-grained sand and carrying it for hundreds of kilometers. Dust storms of this sort have been recognized as a critical natural hazard, negatively impacting human health, transportation, and agriculture. Restoration efforts are underway in the region in an attempt to keep sand in place and prevent or mitigate the effects of large storms.
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