dust devil

Encyclopedia Article


A sinuous, vertical column of air that twists from the ground into the atmosphere, a dust devil is a small version of a tornado. Developing during hot, dry conditions, dust devils are a sign of instability in the atmosphere caused when air near the surface of the earth rapidly heats and rises, pulling in its wake dust and and small debris.

Photo Credit: 

"A large dust devil in Arizona, June 10, 2005" by NASA is licensed under Public Domain.