Landsat satellite data are proving important to resource managers monitoring one of the Nation's most fragile ecosystems.
Image of the Week
Images found during the week that show change from our past that correlate to current events.
The Salmon River Reservoir in central New York state was created in 1914 when a hydroelectric power dam was constructed. The reservoir is a major source for electrical power generation, flood control, and recreation for the region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.