Image of the Week

Images found during the week that show change from our past that correlate to current events.

Lake Mead Water Levels

Lake Mead is located on the Colorado River in the states of Nevada and Arizona. Formed by Hoover Dam at the southwest point of the lake, the reservoir is the largest in the United States in maximum water capacity and provides water to millions of residents in the area, including Las Vegas. Hoover Dam provides power for utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California, and is a major tourist attraction with nearly a million people visiting each year.

Fires Scar Alaska Landscape

In the last two years, fires have burned on either side of the Tanana River, near the city of North Pole and Eielson Air Force Base, south of Fairbanks, Alaska.

These images were acquired by Landsat 8 on May 26 and July 13, 2013. The red area on the west side of the image is the scar left by the Dry Creek Fire that burned over 48,000 acres during summer 2012.

Texas Oil Field Expansion, 1984 to 2013

The cities of Odessa (left) and Midland (right) are situated at the northern boundary of the Permian Basin in western Texas, where oil and natural gas production serves as the primary industry.

These images were acquired by the Landsat 5 satellite in 1984 (left) and by the Landsat 8 satellite in 2013 (right). The expansion of the oil industry in this region over the past 29 years can easily be seen by the increase of the white dots that represent well locations.

Landsat satellites provide an unbiased view of the Earth’s surface and change that occurs over time.

Lake Urmia 2000–2013

Lake Urmia, a salt lake in northwestern Iran, has been home to human settlements since the Stone Age. Currently, the watershed of the lake is an important agricultural region, supporting a population of over 6 million people.

Changes in inflow, caused by diversion of surface water for upstream use, along with the construction of dams and decreased precipitation, have caused the lake to shrink considerably, as can be seen in these images acquired by Landsat 5 in 2000 and Landsat 8 in 2013. Lighter blue colors indicate shallower water.

Black Forest Fire

The Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs, Colorado, started June 11, 2013. The fire, the state’s most destructive wildfire in history, burned over 14,000 acres, destroyed over 500 homes, forced thousands of people to leave their homes, and killed two residents. The fire was considered 100 percent contained on June 20, 2013.

Bahr al Milh

Bahr al Milh (also called Lake Razazah) is a salt sea in Iraq, fed by the Euphrates River via canal. 

Water levels of the shallow lake vary with the seasons; however, levels have been drastically low in the past decade, as can be seen in these Landsat images from 1995, 2003, and 2013.

The Landsat archive holds millions of images from the past 41 years, providing all users time series views of all areas of the world. Imagery from the new Landsat 8 satellite continues to add to this vast archive.

Station Fire Update

Landsat satellite data, acquired during and after the fires in Southern California show the region affected and the size of the major burns.

The Station Fire in southern California affected over 100,000 acres within the Angeles National Forest and threatened over 12,000 homes in the foothill communities of La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena and Glendale.

Dubai Development

Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is on the east coast of the Saudi Peninsula, against the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The government and private investors have created a series of man-made land areas along the seacoast, units which will hold resorts, permanent housing, office buildings, and harbors. Landsat 7 data show the unique features of the recent development. There are two ‘Palm’ islands Jumeirah, the northern palm, was completed in 2006 and Jebel Ali is still under construction.

Flooding in Taiwan

Portions of Landsat 7 scenes, acquired on May 31 and September 20, 2009, show the impact of Typhoon Parma on the lowlands in the Yilan City region of Taiwan. In the May 31 image cultivated fields and forested areas are represented by green, urban areas by light tones. In the September 20 image the coastal regions are flooded and the blue tones represent wet and inundated fields. The heavy rains from the typhoon affected the Yilan province and the surrounding townships of Sansing, Wujie, Dongshan, Jhuangwei, Datong, Toucheng, and Luodong, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.

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