Strong, turbulent winds blowing over barren surfaces can lift great quantities of fine dust into the air, forming a dense, high cloud called a dust storm.
In semiarid grasslands, dust storms are generated where ground surfaces have been stripped of protective vegetation cover by cultivation or grazing.
Strong winds cause soil particles and coarse sand grains to hop along the ground. This motion breaks down the soil particles and disturbs more soil.
With each impact, fine dust is released that can be carried upward by turbulent winds.
A dust storm approaches as a dark cloud extending from the ground surface to heights of several thousand meters.
Typically, the advancing cloud wall represents a rapidly moving cold front.
Standing within the dust cloud, you are shrouded in deep gloom or even total darkness.
Visibility is cut to a few meters, and a fine choking dust penetrates everywhere.