Patagonian dust streamers resemble those on Mars

Posted: May 10, 2020 by oldbrew in atmosphere, solar system dynamics, weather
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Image credit: NASA-ISS


Dust storms are common in the region, and sometimes bear resemblance to weather events on Mars, according to NASA.
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A surging dust storm and trailing dust cloud captured an astronaut’s attention as the International Space Station (ISS) was passing over South America, says NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Dust storms are common in Patagonia and familiar for people in Comodoro Rivadavia, a coastal city in southern Argentina.

The primary source of dust is Lago Colhué Huapí, a shallow lake adjacent to the much deeper Lago Musters.

During Patagonia’s dry season, the water levels of Colhué Huapí drop significantly due to evaporation, leaving loose silt exposed at the surface.

In this photograph, the lake is almost entirely obscured by dust and clouds. At the western margin of the storm, dust lifted off from the ground in the form of dust streamers, which were aligned with the wind direction.

These surface dust features are also observed on Mars.

This striking weather event carried dust more than 120 kilometers (80 miles) east over land and eventually out over Golfo de San Jorge and the Atlantic Ocean.

Many studies have shown that such dust activity is a major source of nutrients in the South Atlantic.

Full article here.

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