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Trailing dust devils

Whirlwinds create dark paths by sucking sand grains clean

The ephemeral dark trails left in desert sand by dust devils are produced when the whirlwinds blow tiny particles of lighter-colored silt and dust off larger sand grains, a new study shows. Even removing a layer of dust and silt only a few micrometers thick can produce a dark trail visible with satellites, recent field studies suggest.

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