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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The Great (Dust) Wall of China

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, April 27, 2014/Categories: photography, space science, environment

China's Great Wall was originally built by the first Emperor of China in the 3rd Century BC. It was designed to keep out rampaging hoards descending from the steppes of Mongolia on horses. It is one of the Wonders of the World, a famous tourist attraction, and can be seen from space. The Great Wall may have kept out raiders but it can't hold back what is descending on China now.

Dust storms caused by mismanagement of arid and semi-arid lands is sending massive yellow clouds of soil skyward and blanketing regions of China recently. The dust is being pushed by weather fronts from Siberia, have reduced visibility to about 150 feet, and are covering eastern and southwestern China. The storms are not unlike those experienced during the American Dust Bowl of the 1930's but on a grander scale. Two environmental monitoring satellites captured the advancing dust front over a 2-hour time period.

Dust Storm 4-23-14, 12:35pm  (credit: NASA)    Dust Storm 4-23-14, 2:20pm  (credit: NASA)

It will likely take another "great wall" effort to restore the landscapes that produced all the dust.


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