STS106-718-56
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Spacecraft nadir point: 37.1° N, 68.5° E

Photo center point: 36.0° N, 62.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 191 nautical miles (354km)
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Image Caption: Source: Justin Wilkinson
Afghanistan Dust Front
Winds in the upper Amu Darya valley, along the northern border of
Afghanistan lofted thick, light brown dust into the air (top half of the
view). In this desert environment land surfaces are not protected by
vegetation from the effect of blowing wind. The central Asian deserts
experience the greatest number of dust storm days on the planet each
year. The sharp dust front shows that the dust has not traveled far, but
has been raised from the surfaces in the view.

Dust is entrained in the atmosphere by horizontal winds but also by
vertical movements. Here the vertical component is indicated by the fact
that the higher points along the dust front are each topped by a small
cumulus cloud, which appear as a line of small white puffballs. Cumulus
clouds indicate upward motion and here the air which has entrained the
dust is lifting the air above to the level of condensation at each point
where a small cloud has formed.