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Sahara Dust Event in Central Europe in March 2022: over 100 micron sized particles!

In late winter 2022 massive Saharan dust clouds have moved from S Algeria / Morocco over Spain and France to Central Europe and one of these reached S Germany at march 15th afternoon. During late winter times such Sahara dust events can be observed in central Europe quite regularly. This time, however, historic amounts of desert sand have been transported, i.e. huge amounts of redish/orange dusts over part of the Alps and S Germany. The “orange” cloud was accompanied by heavy rainfalls which washed out the reddish Fe-rich Sahara dust during the following hours. A series of Sahara dust samples could be collected with the help of special collectors at 15th of march S of Munich, so that any contamination could be avoided. Within the first 2-3 hours mainly coarse grained material was washed out, afterwards the fine grained dusts were deposited and collected. A large range of particle sizes and morphologies could be detected, maximum sizes reached over 100 microns. Taking into account the long-range transport (more than 2500 km from S Algeria / Morocco via Spain/Portugal and France to Central Europe) one would expect only much finer dusts [3, 4]. Raman spectroscopy revealed quartz, Ti-oxides (anatase) and feldspar as the dominating phases (fig. 1b). Further experiments by X-ray diffraction and SEM are in preparation in order to extend our knowledge concerning the Sahara dusts of the march 2022 event.


Melanie Kaliwoda1, Viktor Hoffmann1, Yen-Chun Chiang1, Malte Junge1, Felix Hentschel1, Wolfgang Schmahl1
1Mineralogische Staatssammlung München - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany
GeoMinKöln 2022