Dust Devil Facts For Kids: Here's What You Need To Know | Kidadl


Dust Devil Facts For Kids: Here's What You Need To Know

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Dust devils have been around for centuries and have spawned several myths and legends.

Some people believe that dust devils are the spirits of the dead or the messengers of God. Others think they are omens of bad luck or can bring disease to livestock.

Dust devils are not very common, but they do happen every once in a while in some places. They typically occur during springtime when it’s hot outside, and there hasn’t been much rainfall. Dust devils are a fascinating natural phenomenon, and there’s still much to learn about them. They can be beautiful to watch and dangerous if you get too close. In this article, we will discuss the origins and formation of dust devils and some of the folklore associated with them. We will also provide some fun facts about these fascinating whirlwinds.

Meaning Of Dust Devils

Dust devils are small whirlwinds that can reach up to a mile high in the air. They occur most often during hot and dry weather conditions, but dust devils have also been known to form on cool days when there is little or no wind at all.

Dust devils can be anywhere between 1.6-32.8 ft (2-10 m) wide and 500-1000 ft (152-304 m) tall. There is a lot of folklore about the speed at which dust devils travel. Some people say that they can reach speeds of up to 200 mph (321.9 kph), while others claim they can go as fast as 300 mph (482.8 kph). However, there is no evidence that dust devils can travel faster than 60 mph (96.6 kph).

Dust devil derives its name from the fact that it whips up dust and other loose debris as it goes along. These whirlwinds are also known by many names worldwide, including dirt devils or sand hurricanes in North America. In Australia, dust devils are known as dust whirls or willy-willies. In New Zealand, they have been called dust whirlygigs and dust spinners. The name 'willy-willy' comes from the aboriginal language of Wiradjuri, which is spoken by the indigenous people of New South Wales. Fairy wind or Shee-gaoithe are the names given to these in Ireland.

What are the types of dust devils? There are three types of dust devils, namely minimum, classical, and serial. A minimum dust devil is the smallest type and comprises only a few dust particles. A classical dust devil has a clearly defined shape and can be several feet wide and tall. A serial dust devil is made up of multiple vortexes that rotate around each other.

The Formation Of Dust Devils

As mentioned earlier, a dust devil forms only on hot days. It is formed due to the difference in pressure between the ground and the air above it. A dust devil is formed when the hot air near the Earth's surface rises and moves through the cool air above it. The hot air stretches vertically as it moves up. This creates a spinning effect. A vortex is formed when the hot air speeds up horizontally and blows inward. The spinning gets intense when more hot air rushes into the growing vortex.

How does a dust devil die? Dust devils typically only last for a few minutes, but they can persist for up to an hour in rare cases. Dust devils die when they suck in the cool air as they move across a different terrain where the surface temperatures are cooler. The hot air is prevented from rising when the cooler air enters the dust devil. This prevention of hot air from entering causes the dust devil to lose its energy.

A dust storm can also kill dust devils. As dust storms have stronger winds than dust devils, they can out-compete them, causing them to lose their strength and become nothing more than a breeze.

Dust devils on Mars are called Martian dust devils.

Hazards Associated With Dust Devils

Dust devils are one of the most common dust and sandstorm hazards in many parts of the world. A dust devil will carry dust, which is mostly fine sand particles. The dust does not usually cause much harm to the human body, but it can be an irritant for those with respiratory problems (such as asthma).

Dust devils are often followed by dust storms which contain dust and dirt particles of all sizes, from tiny grains to those several millimeters wide. Larger dust particles can damage property or even cause death if inhaled into the lungs. Some people have died after being caught in particularly giant dust storms caused by strong winds associated with some types of storm systems (thunderstorms) that produce a lot of debris flying at high speeds.

Dust storms can be a hazard for pilots, especially those flying small planes or helicopters. When dust is lifted from the ground by strong winds, it obscures visibility and makes it hard to see anything clearly below 65 ft (20 m) above ground level. Dust storms can also cause sandblasting damage to aircraft if they fly through one at too low an altitude. In rare cases, dust devils cause deaths. Dust devil-related deaths have been reported in Australia, Africa, and the United States as well.

A dust devil's most notable occurrence was when it formed over a parking lot at NASA's Ames Research Center in California on July 15, 2003, which caused several injuries, including one death. In this incident, the dust devil had an estimated 80 ft (25 m) diameter and wind speeds of 60 mph (96.6 kph). In March 2015, a dust devil hit an 18 wheeler truck, causing its driver to fall off his truck and die after being hit by another vehicle on Interstate 85 near the Alabama-Georgia state line.

Features Of Dust Devils

Dust devils are typically small, spinning vortices of dust and air. Dust devils are usually harmless, but they can sometimes cause damage or injuries if they are strong enough.

Dust devils typically have a dark center and a light-colored outer edge. They often have a spiral or helical shape caused by winds inside the vortex rotating faster than winds on the outside. Dust devils can sometimes be seen glowing brightly as they reflect sunlight, especially if they are near the surface of a planet or moon.

Dust devils usually last only a few minutes before dissipating. They are likely to form in areas with no wind, and cool temperatures as dust devils will not start without a cool atmosphere and hot surface. They mainly occur in deserts as deserts have sand and dust that easily rise into the air.

Dust Devil Myths

Dust devils have been associated with all sorts of folklore and superstition over the years. One such legend is the story of the coal devils. In this tale, a dust devil picks up a piece of coal from a nearby mine and carries it high into the sky. The coal devil then drops the coal, which falls back to Earth and starts a new mine.

In some parts of the world, dust devils are believed to be inhabited by snakes. This type of dust devil is called the serpent dust devil. These snakes are often referred to as serpents of the dust. There is no scientific evidence that supports this claim, but folklore persists in many cultures.

Did You Know...

Fire devils are a type of dust devil created when the air is hot, and there is a lot of fuel, such as grass or leaves, to burn. Fire devils can be very dangerous and have been known to start wildfires. They look very similar to regular dust devils, but they are taller and have a more orangish color. A fire devil is a dust devil made of burning gases and flames. Ash devils are dust devils made up of ash and other particles from a fire. They can be dangerous because they can carry sparks and embers with them. An ash devil can also cause damage by eroding the soil near fires.

Dust devils are found on all the planets in the solar system, except for mercury. On other planets, dust devils can be much more dangerous. For instance, on Saturn's moon Titan, there are huge dust devils that reach speeds of up to 205 mph (330 kph). Dust devils are also formed on Mars when the Sun warms up the planet's surface. These dust devils are called Martian dust devils. Martian dust devils also form in different locations than terrestrial dust devils. They typically form near the equator, while terrestrial dust devils form closer to the poles. Martian dust devils are much larger than the ones on Earth. They can be 10 times higher and 50 times wider. Martian dust devils are very active in mid-summer.

The largest dust devil ever recorded was in Australia. This giant dust devil had a dust cloud that reached over 33,000 ft (10,058 m) high and lasted for about an hour before dissipating completely.

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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