Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Space station captures 75-mile plume of snow-white powder blowing over dune fields of New Mexico

The plume of icy white dust stretches for more than 75 miles - and the sheer force of the wind 'lifts' the dust more than four thousand feet so they float over the Sacramento mountains.

The photograph was taken from the International Space Station, 245 miles up - and shows one of the only places on Earth where white dust 'takes flight' on the wind.

The white dunes’ brilliance - they are made of gypsum - especially contrasted against the nearby dark mountain slopes, makes them easily identifiable to orbiting astronauts. The white speck of the dunes was even visible to astronaut crews looking back at Earth on the way to the Moon.

Driven by southwesterly winter winds, dust from the White Sands dune field in New Mexico rises thousands of feet from the valley floor and drifts over the snowy peaks of the Sacramento Mountains. Read More