Dust blew off the coast of Argentina in late November 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image on November 22, 2011. The dust plume appears to originate southwest of Bahía Blanca and blow in a counter-clockwise arc toward the northeast.
This image also shows part of a phytoplankton bloom (image lower right). Dust storms often deposit iron and other nutrients into the ocean, providing fuel for the tiny, plant-like organisms. In this region, where the sea floor drops significantly east of the South American coast, phytoplankton also benefit from upwelling of nutrient-rich waters from the ocean depths.