A lot of the talk this week has been about the crazy dust storm we endured on Sunday. I know it was one of those things that built up as a storm front moved in, but that was still out of the ordinary when it came to the strength of it and how much dust was blowing around.

Aside from the storm coming in though, there had to be something else in play there. I mean, we've had plenty of storms come through Amarillo and it didn't kick up the dirt THAT much.

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The answer is static electricity. You know, that little zap you get when you touch metal after you've created some kind of static electricity? Think rubbing a balloon against your hair, then sticking it to a wall. That's static electricity.

Scientists have been studying it for quite some time, and have noticed that inside these dust storms that get whipped up, there are electric fields inside those storms. That electricity gets created when the grains of sand or dust rub together.

The whole process of how it happens is rather interesting. Scientists say that when the wind begins to blow, it's not the particles of dirt or sand on top that are the first to move. They say that particular dust is most likely stuck to larger particles or it's tucked in between those particles.

It's when the sand grains begin bouncing across the surface that kicks up the electricity. As those grains of dirt or sand bounce across the ground, they strike other grains. That is what shakes the dust loose from them and creates electricity, which in turn allows the dust to rise and fly through the air.

You can find the full study here and it's a phenomenal read that gives so much insight into these dust storms we seem to get from time to time in Amarillo.

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