Colossal Chinese Dustball Circles Earth in 13 Days

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2009 3:54 AM CDT
The Taklamakan desert is a major source of dust transported and deposited around the globe, according to researchers.   (©Lucio A)
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(Newser) – A dust cloud weighing nearly a million tons kicked into the atmosphere by a massive storm in China's Taklamakan desert circled the world almost intact in 13 days, the Telegraph reports. Scientists, who used NASA satellites to track the path of the dustball until it fell apart over the Pacific Ocean, say their research suggests dust from Asian deserts may play a bigger role in the Earth's processes than had previously been realized.