Facts About Dust Devils

10 Cool Facts About Dust Devils

Dust devils look pretty cool. They are an interesting and relatively non-threatening natural phenomenon.

What are Dust Devils?

A dust devil is a type of whirlwind that occurs when hot air rises rapidly from the ground. This creates a spinning column of air that lifts dust and other small debris off the ground.


Usually, a dust devil is formed when the sun heats the ground, causing the air near the ground to warm up and rise. This warm air creates a low-pressure area, which draws in cooler air from surrounding areas. This causes the air to start spinning, creating this natural phenomenon.

Dust Devil
Dust devil CGI


Dust devils can range in size from a few feet tall to over 1000 feet tall. They appear as spinning columns of dust and debris and are often visible only because of the dust they pick up.

Where They Can Be Found?

This natural phenomenon can occur in many different locations, but they are most commonly seen in arid and desert regions, where there is little vegetation to hold the soil in place. They can also occur in other areas with hot and dry climates, such as deserts, beaches, and open fields.


A typical dust devil lasts only a few minutes, but in rare cases, it can persist for several hours.


They can be quite strong, with winds reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. However, they are usually not strong enough to cause significant damage.

Are Dust Devils Dangerous?

Dust devils are generally safe, but it is not recommended to stand directly in their path as they can cause injury by lifting small debris into the air. It is also important to stay away from power lines, as these things can cause them to sway and potentially fall.

Dust Devil in desert
Dust devil


This natural phenomenon is relatively common and can occur several times a day in areas with the right conditions.

Relation to Tornadoes

Dust devils and tornadoes are similar in that they both involve rotating columns of air. However, devils are much weaker than tornadoes, and usually last only a few minutes compared to the hours-long lifetimes of tornadoes.

Fun Fact About Dust Devils

It’s known that this natural phenomenon has been observed on other planets, including Mars! In fact, some of the largest dust devils ever recorded have been seen on Mars, reaching heights of over 20 kilometers (over 65,000 feet)!

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