Thursday, December 26, 2013

What was that mysterious orange dust in Houston, Texas?

About that mysterious orange dust: Was it a chemical plant release? A conspiracy of carwash owners? Did a shipment of Texas Longhorn merchandise vaporize over Houston?

None of the above.

The dust traveled about 600 miles, in the mid- and upper-levels of the atmosphere, from iron-rich soils in central Mexico to Houston.

The dust originated in a region of Mexico containing a lot of iron at the surface, giving the dirt a "rusty" or "orange" look to it, said Andrew Artzer, a local forecaster who became curious about the dust after seeing it Sunday morning on his car. "It's much the same reason why the dust storms in northwest Texas and western Oklahoma are usually red."

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