Image of the Week

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

Urban Growth of the Montgomery, Alabama, Area

Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, is located along the Alabama River in the south central portion of the state. 

In the past 30 years the population has grown from just under 125,000 to over 200,000. The growth has been based on increased tourism and commercial and industrial development. For example, Hyundai automobile manufacturing has located in Montgomery and is now a major employer. 

Mesquite Mine, California

Gold mining in California dates back over 200 years and has been an important industry for the state. The Mesquite Mine was established in 1957 and expanded in 1986 as gold prices climbed and the mine is now one of the largest gold mines in the country. While geologists anticipated the mine's gold would be exhausted by 1999, improved extraction methods have kept the mine in production. 

Pine Island Glacier

Pine Island is one of the largest and fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica. Satellite measurements have shown that the Pine Island Glacier Basin has a greater net contribution of ice to the sea than any other ice drainage basin in the world, and this has increased due to recent acceleration of the ice stream due to thinning of the glacier. As the ice shelf thins, the grounding line retreats and the speed of the glacier increases.

Denver International Airport

A new airport was authorized for the Denver, Colorado, area in 1989. In 1995, the Denver International Airport officially opened and replaced the Stapleton International Airport servicing the Denver region. 

Landsat satellite data illustrate the changes in the area from before the construction and after the new airport was completed. Denver International Airport covers 53 square miles, making it the largest airport in the United States and the third largest in the world. Located 25 miles from downtown Denver, it is the 10th busiest airport in the world. 

Bear Glacier, Alaska

Landsat satellite data are increasingly used to track natural and anthropogenic changes to the land surface features of the planet. Changes to Bear Glacier in south central Alaska are illustrated by comparing 1980, 1989, and 2011 Landsat coverage. 

Warming in the region has caused less buildup of snow, providing less material for glacial growth. As the glacier receded, ice at the end of the glacier broke off the main body, forming blocks of ice in the open water. The 2011 image shows considerable retreat of the tongue of the glacier. 

Uravan, Colorado 1944, 1978, 1986, 2011

Uravan is an abandoned uranium mining town in western Colorado. Established in 1936 to extract vanadium ore, the mining community provided uranium for the first atomic bomb during World War II. The aerial photograph from 1944 shows the area in early development. Uranium mining and product demand declined in the 1960s and collapsed by the early 1980s. The 1978 aerial photograph shows the full extent of the land utilized for the mining activity. The 1986 Landsat image shows the area in the year that environmental cleanup began.

Tucson, Arizona

Located in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona, Tucson is one of the oldest continually inhabited areas of North America. There is evidence of settlements 3,000 years ago. A mission was established in the region in 1700, and a community developed within 75 years. Until 1853, Tucson was part of Mexico. 

Binhai New Area, China

Located on the coast of the Bohai Sea Region, the Binhai New Area has quickly become a major industrial center in China. The area southeast of the capital of Beijing, once home to salt farms, reed marshes, and wasteland, has become one of the country's key economic areas. The decision to develop the area began in the 1990s, and to date, the bay area is home to numerous aerospace, oil and chemical, and other manufacturing industries. The development will include an international airport in the coming years. 

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