over the last decade, geologists have come up with an explanation for these ecological anomalies: They originated 5000 miles away in Africa. For more than a million years, dust from the Sahara Desert has hitched a rideon westward-traveling winds to the Caribbean. Bermuda and the Bahamas are, quite literally, an extension of the world’s largest desert.
But African dust storms aren’t just responsible for developing Bermuda’s clay-and-iron-abundant “terra rossa” and the coral reefs of the Bahamas; they also play an important role in protecting them from destructive hurricanes. Like atmospheric superheroes, the dust storms’ combination of dry air, strong winds, and cloud-suppressing particles appears to have the ability to stop hurricanes in their tracks.