Dust Devils are a frequent site in the desert southwest on dry hot summer days. In fact, they only form in those conditions. A pocket of hot air near the surface rises quickly through cooler air above it, causing an updraft. Then if the conditions are just right like if it’s hot enough, the updraft begins to rotate and forms a dust tornado! These precocious wind spirits move around a lot and quickly dissipate as fast as they formed. But I’ve watched some go on for along time. Some get so big, that they can shake a house! Very fun nature phenomenon to watch! They are known as “chiindii” to the Navajo - ghosts or spirits of dead ancestors. This one was photographed with South Mountain in the background on the Gila River Indian Reservation just south of Phoenix, Arizona.
August 29th, 2018
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