The Strange Beauty of Sandstorms

Powerful winds recently drove sand from the Sahara Desert across the Mediterranean Sea into southern Europe and as far as the ski slopes in Sochi, Russia, turning skies red and leaving behind orange-frosted snow. Dust storms range from the size of a tiny dust devil, to a cloud that might cover a continent. In dry regions, strong winds can suddenly create a “haboob,” a rolling wall of sand or dust that rises thousands of feet in the air, blanketing an area ahead of a storm. Some storms can whip particles high into the atmosphere for days, carrying sand across oceans. Gathered here are images from recent years of dust storms, sandstorms, haboobs, and the eerie skies that accompany these phenomena.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Xinyu Cui / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Giant Penguin, Forest Tower, Glacier Battlefield

    A hydrofoil water taxi in Paris, the Rugby World Cup in Japan, a cyclocross challenge in England, Independence Day celebrations in Mexico, protests in Ecuador and Honduras, a whale rescue in Argentina, and much more.

  • Joe Raedle / Getty

    The Impact of Climate Change on Kivalina, Alaska

    The small village of Kivalina is threatened on several fronts by a warming Arctic climate, as the ground it sits on erodes, and the animals the villagers rely on become more difficult to hunt.

  • Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP / Getty

    Devastated by Dorian: Photos From the Bahamas

    Recent images of the hard-hit islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama, as residents receive aid, recover what they can, and contemplate their next steps

  • Ulet Ifansasti / Getty

    Fires in Indonesia Blanket Islands and Cities in Smog

    Thick clouds of smoke and haze are blanketing much of Southeast Asia, due to largely illegal efforts to burn thousands of acres to clear land for farms and palm-oil plantations.