Saharan Dust in Warwickshire: April 2014

Saharan dust | Jon Radley
Saharan dust on a car in Warwick
Jon Radley
Arden Brickworks | Jon Radley
Arden Brickworks near Stonebridge (old photo). 220 million year-old desert dust.
Jon Radley

We occasionally experience falls of so-called Saharan dust in Warwickshire, when precipitation is combined with wind blowing from the south. This produces ‘dirty rain’ depositing splatters of dust which are most obvious on shiny car bodywork. We are currently (03/04/12) experiencing this phenomenon which, in conjunction with smog, is producing a reported public health risk.

Interestingly, the thick red clay deposits  (210 – 220 million year-old Mercia Mudstone) which underlie large areas of our county represent exactly the same. Literally billions of tons of desert dust, dating back to a time when Warwickshire  formed part of the Pangaea supercontinent, in an arid belt not far north of the equator.

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