Image of the Week

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

Mundra Port

Located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Kutch on the west coast of India, Mundra Port is India.s largest private port. Its location provides a convenient international trade gateway to Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East.

Since operations began in 1999, the Port has developed into a major economic and transportation center for the region and for India. The port hosts extensive docks and warehouses and boasts significant modern technologies for inventory and navigation requirements.

Wildfires in Alberta, Canada

Landsat satellite data are being used to monitor a series of large fires in northeastern Alberta, Canada.

The Richardson backcounty fires started in mid-May, 2011. Within days they combined to create the largest wildfire in Alberta since 1919, a fire still not under control. Over 700 fire fighters are working to control the fire, which have burned over 1,400,000 acres. Fire fighters are currently focusing on the southern fire areas near Fort McMurray and the oilsands mines (the mines show in light tones in the lower central portion of the imagery.)

Shrinking Lake Meredith, Texas

Lake Meredith is an artificial reservoir formed by the Sanford Dam on the Canadian River in the panhandle of Texas. The lake was originally created as a major source of water for area communities and for developing recreational opportunities. Due to continuous drought, water levels have declined significantly in the past few years, leading to the record low in 2011.

Puyehue Volcano

The Puyehue volcano in Chile erupted on June 4, 2011, after being dormant for over 50 years. Thousands of residents were evacuated and airlines in Chile, Argentina and New Zealand cancelled flights after the ash plume rose over 10 km and drifted across the western southern hemisphere.

Las Conchas, New Mexico, fires

Landsat satellite imagery illustrate the extensive damage caused by the Las Conchas fires in New Mexico. The major fire started on June 26, probably caused by a downed power line, and has burned over 125,000 acres, destroying sites sacred to American Indian tribes and threatening the Los Alamos National Nuclear Laboratory.

The June 24 image shows the area before the fires. The dark green represents the tree stands in the Santa Fe National Forest. Nearby are the Bandelier National Monument and the ancestral home of pueblo communities and historic sites.

Honey Prairie Fires

On April 30, 2011, lightning caused wildfires near the Okefenokee National Wildlife refuge in the Honey Prairie region of Georgia. Dry conditions in the region helped fuel the fires, and by July 7 over 290,000 acres have burned. Continued lightning strikes have started additional fires, though Forest Service personnel have been successful in containing many of them. The largest fire unit is burning 1,000 acres a day and is approximately 70% contained.

Oroumeih Lake

Lake Oroumeih (also spelled as Lake Urmia) is a major water body in northwest Iran. At the present time it is the largest lake in the Middle East and the third largest salt water lake on the planet. It is 140 km long, 55 km wide, and as deep as 16 m. However, dams on feeder streams, expanded use of ground water in the region, and a decades long major drought have caused the lake to diminish. The result is a major change in the region's ecosystem and a significant change in the area's economy.

Changing conditions in Kuwait

In February, 1991, hundreds of oil wells in Kuwait were set ablaze during the early stages of the Desert Storm conflict. The fires burned out of control and caused widespread pollution to the air and surrounding soils. Approximately six million barrels of oil were lost each day. The last fire was extinguished in November of that year.

Landsat satellite images from the Sabriyah Oil field in February and December of 1991 show the effects of the fires. Surrounding soils are normally light toned, but residue from the fires darkened the soils.

Goksu River Dam Project

In 1990 a series of seven dams was started in the Goksu River basin in southeastern Turkey. The goal of the dams was to provide long-term hydroelectric power to the region. Landsat satellite data have been used by government officials and by others to study the growth and impact of the dams as the Goksu River is one of the few remaining free flowing rivers in Turkey and the presence of the dams has impacted the aquatic species and wildlife in the area.

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