Image of the Week

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

Cedar Bluff Reservoir, Kansas

In 1949, the Cedar Bluff Dam was constructed along the Smoky Hill River in Kansas to mainly provide irrigation to the area, but also to help with flood control, establish fish and wildlife habitats, develop recreation sites, and provide water for municipal and industrial uses.

In the late 1960's and into the 1970's, the flow of the river declined dramatically, and by the early 1980's, not enough water was available for irrigation. By 1992, all associations and activities regarding irrigation and the delivery systems dissolved, though other uses were retained.

The Villages, Florida

In the last decade, Florida has had dramatic population growth. As the U.S. population ages, more older people are moving from the northern states to southern communities and Florida has been a major objective for many. While the growth in population has slowed the last few years, since 2000 Florida’s population has grown by 17%, well above the National average of 9.7%. Sumpter County in central Florida grew 75%, largely due to the expansion of The Villages retirement community. The Villages is a master planned retirement community, complete with nearly 40 golf courses.

Joplin, Missouri - One Year Later

On May 22, 2011, the city of Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by a catastrophic EF5 multiple vortex tornado. Estimated wind speed peaked at 225 to 250 miles per hour. The tornado caused estimated damages of $2.8 billion, killed 161 people, and injured nearly 1,000 more. Nearly 7,000 homes were destroyed, and many more were damaged. This storm ranks as one of Missouri’s and America’s deadliest tornados and is the costliest single tornado in U.S. history. The cost to rebuild Joplin could reach $3 billion. 

Santiago, Chile

The Chilean capital of Santiago sits in the center of the Santiago Basin, a large bowl-shaped valley that consists of fertile lands surrounded by mountains. The city is bordered by the main chain of the Andes Mountains on the east and the Chilean Coastal Range on the west. 

The Santiago population has steadily increased over the years, and that has led to expanded development in all directions, including into the foothills of the mountain ranges. Increasingly, agricultural lands have been replaced by urban growth. 

Elwha River restoration

Landsat imagery acquired in 2011 and 2012 illustrate the changes to the Elwha River basin in the Washington State Olympic Peninsula after the removal of the Elwha River dam. 

The Elwha and Glines Canyon dams were constructed in the 1920s to provide hydroelectric power to the region. Over subsequent decades the dams became less efficient, the machinery outdated, and the reservoirs heavily silted. Further, the dams prevented salmon from reaching upstream habitat. 

Mirani Dam

The Mirani Dam is located on the Dasht River in southern Pakistan. Completed in 2006, the dam created a reservoir with a depth of 244 feet. The reservoir provides water for irrigation, clean drinking water, hydroelectric power, and flood control. 

Though the dam provides a constant supply of water for irrigation and human consumption, heavy rains in 2007 raised the reservoir to 271 feet, and over 15,000 people were displaced when a number of small communities were flooded. Legal actions are in process to help the displaced citizens and to adjust the water levels. 

Missouri River near Omaha, NE - one year after flooding

In the spring and summer of 2011, the Missouri River experienced extreme flooding. Triggered by record snowfall in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming, along with near-record spring rainfall in central and eastern Montana, reservoir levels approached dangerously high levels along the Missouri River in Montana and the Dakotas. To manage reservoir levels, a record amount of water was released to prevent overtopping of dams, which then contributed to flooding downstream. 

Agriculture transforms Egyptian Desert

The Natron Valley is a natural depression of salt flats in the western desert of Egypt, northwest of Cairo (seen above as blue features in the center of the images). Ancient Egyptians extracted Natron salt from the shallow lakes for mummification purposes. This desolate area, considered a sacred region, became a sanctuary for the desert peoples and for cenobitic monastic communities. 

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