Dust devil sweeps through Roy Hill mine site

Workers at Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara were treated to a spectacular site at the weekend as a dust devil swept through the mine’s construction site.

Witnesses say the dust devil, or willy-willy, was around 300m high, and lasted for around a minute before winds dropped off and it dissipated.

In the photos of the incident obtained by Australian Mining, flying debris can be seen as the formation blows through the site.

It is understood that no one was injured as a result of the incident.

Dust Devils are formed when hot air close to the ground rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler, low pressured air above it and the air begins to rotate.

Neil Bennett, from the Weather Bureau, says dust devils are common in the Pilbara, The West reported.

"It forms as a result of air rising in what is known as a windshear environment," he said.

Windshear is the result of air moving vertically at different speeds and direction.

"Unlike tornadoes, the shear associated with dust devils is weak and so the winds associated with them are much weaker than those associated with a tornado," Bennett said.

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