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Sahara dust: First results of chemical components analysis

What was in the Sahara dust that covered Greece in the first days of the week? The Hellenic Geological and Mining Research authority(HGMR) conducted a preliminary qualitative analysis and here are the first results.

Particles of aluminum, silicon, calcium, iron and titanium were contained in the dust that covered Greece for days, with the phenomenon peaking on Tuesday, painting the sky of Attica and Kalamata from blue to orange and red.

More on Sahara dust in Greece in April 2024 here on KTG

The HGMR said in a post on social media that it collected and analyzed particles of the Sahara Dust using the new state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope JSM-IT500L, which has the ability to magnify up to 300,000 times, a sample of the Sahara dust.

Optically, the dust does not exceed 10 µm in size, while its chemical composition includes the elements aluminum (Al), silicon (Si) and calcium (Ca) with a minimum percentage of iron (Fe) and titanium (Ti).

African dust is essentially “poweder”, which floats and moves due to the winds and its small size.

The following photos show the first results from the qualitative analysis of the African dust.

In samples of Sahara dust from 2005, the average composition of the dust particles was: 64% silicates, 14% sulfates, 6% quartz, 5% high calcium particles, 1% iron rich (hematite), 1% soot, and 9% other carbon rich particles (carbonaceous material). These samples found 17 different elements in the dust particles, which included (but were not limited to) sodium (Na), manganese (Mn), aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), potassium (K), and calcium (Ca).

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