Sunday, January 31, 2010

Willy Willies

Here in Australia Dust Devils are called Willy Willies.  On our recent road trip we came across several Willy Willies.  These dessert whirlwinds are formed when local 'hot spots' on the ground draw in the cooler air around them.  The end result,  Willy Willies which vary in size, is the spiraling of the air-born dust cloud that speeds randomly across the land.  For the most part Willy Willies are harmless, but they are fun to watch as they speed across the desert floor.

The name Willy Willies is thought to derive from one of the Aboriginal languages of Australia.  In Aboriginal myths Willy Willies represent spirit forms.


  1. I've seen a few of these up close in the US (Arizona) - scarey stuff!

  2. Quickroute, were they big ones? We have seen small ones in NM and AZ but never on the same scale as in Australia. It seems like everything is bigger in Australia!

  3. Cool pics and thank for the explanation as to how and why they form. Fascinating stuff! :)