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December 24, 2011 - The Dead Sea

Dead Sea Before
Landsat 5
November 9, 1984
Dead Sea After
Landsat 7
November 28, 2011
Dead Sea Before
Dead Sea After
November 9, 1984 November 28, 2011
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The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan Rift Valley and borders Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. These Landsat images show the change in the Dead Sea from 1984 to 2011. In recent decades, diversion of water from the Jordan River, the sea's main tributary, has caused the Dead Sea to shrink. Mineral evaporation ponds that have replaced open water in the southern part of the sea can be seen in the 2011 image. For more information, visit the Image of the Week section of the EROS Image Gallery.

December 14, 2011 - The alluvial fans of the Mississippi River Delta Basin

Alluvial Fans of the Mississippi River
Landsat 5 Mosaic
October 3 and November 11, 2011
Alluvial Fans of the Mississippi River
October 3 and November 11, 2011
 

The Mississippi River drains over two-thirds of the conterminous United States, sending an enormous amount of water through the Mississippi River Delta Basin in southern Louisiana. The river's velocity slows upon reaching the Gulf, reducing its capacity to carry suspended mud and sand, depositing the sediment in vast alluvial fans as shown in the Landsat 5 mosaic above. The fan deposits are major sources of petroleum, natural gas, and sulfur. This image was created using four Landsat 5 scenes acquired October 3 and November 11.

November 30, 2011 - West Virginia surface mining

Surface Mining Before
Landsat 5
June 6, 1987
Surface Mining After
Landsat 5
June 8, 2011
Surface Mining Before
Surface Mining After
June 6, 1987 June 8, 2011
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Nearly half of the Nation's electrical power comes from coal burning; much of that coal comes from West Virginia. An increasing amount of coal extracted each year in West Virginal comes from surface and mountain top mining. The 1987 and 2011 Landsat satellite images above illustrate the expansion of surface mining in west central West Virginia. For more information, visit the EROS Image Gallery.

October 4, 2011 - Fires in the Savannah Grasslands of Australia's Northern Territory

Savannah Grassland Fires Before
Landsat 5
September 7, 2011
Savannah Grassland Fires After
Landsat 5
September 23, 2011
Savannah Grassland Fires Before
Savannah Grassland Fires After
September 7, 2011 September 23, 2011
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Australia's normally dry interior was covered in thick grass that, after drying over the winter months, turned into an abundant source of fuel for the large fires burning throughout Australia's Northern Territory. The 2011 fire season is considered one of the most extreme in recent years. An example of the recent burn damage can be seen in the comparison of the September 7 and September 23 Landsat 5 images above.

September 23, 2011 - Rain helps suppress Pagami Creek Fire, Minnesota

Pagami Creek Fire Before
Landsat 5
July 18, 2011
Pagami Creek Fire After
Landsat 7
September 19, 2011
Pagami Creek Fire Before
Pagami Creek Fire After
July 18, 2011 September 19, 2011
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Wet and cold weather is helping firefighters strengthen their grip on the Pagami Creek fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. Started by a lightning strike on August 18, the fire grew slowly and exploded into a major blaze September 11-12. Drawn from 28 states, firefighters continue to make steady progress against the fire. The September 19 Landsat 7 image above shows the nearly 94,000 acres burned.

September 16, 2011 - Pagami Creek fire, Minnesota

Pagami Creek Fire Before
Landsat 5
July 18, 2011
Pagami Creek Fire After
Landsat 7
September 12, 2011
Pagami Creek Fire Before
Pagami Creek Fire After
July 18, 2011 September 12, 2011
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Hundreds of campers were evacuated from the 1.1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota as the Pagami Creek fire continued to spread. Started by a lightning strike on August 18 about 14 miles east of Ely, Minnesota, the fire is the largest forest fire in Minnesota since 1918. The fire can be seen burning brightly in the September 12 Landsat 7 image above. Smoke from the fire has affected air quality as far away as Chicago.

September 14, 2011 - Bastrop County Complex Fire (Texas)

Bastrop Country Fire Before
Landsat 5
August 26, 2011
Bastrop Country Fire After
Landsat 5
September 11, 2011
Bastrop Country Fire Before
Bastrop Country Fire After
August 26, 2011 September 11, 2011
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The Bastrop County Complex Fire, southeast of Austin, Texas, has consumed homes, agricultural land, and a state park. The distance from the northernmost part of the fire to the southernmost is more than 15 miles. The Landsat 5 images above show the area as it was on August 26 and the damage as of September 11. These images use mid-infrared and near-infrared bands in order to display burned vegetation clearly.

The "LUECKE" name that appears in the eastern portion of the image is a local man who left his name in trees for pilots to see as they come and go from the local airport (seen on the south edge of the image).

September 13, 2011 - Wildfires of Oregon

Oregon Wildfires Before
Landsat 5
July 23, 2011
Oregon Wildfires After
September 9, 2011
Landsat 5
Oregon Wildfires Before
Oregon Wildfires After
July 23, 2011 Landsat 5
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Multiple wildfires on the Warm Springs Reservation in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon can be seen in the Landsat 5 image acquired on September 9 (above). Started by a lightning storm on August 24, the freshly burned land appears as red, and vegetation is green.

September 2, 2011 - New York State's drowned lands

New York State's Drowned Lands Before
Landsat 5
July 30, 2011
New York State's Drowned Lands After
Landsat 5
August 31, 2011
New York State's Drowned Lands Before
New York State's Drowned Lands After
July 30, 2011 August 31, 2011
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The aftermath of Hurricane Irene, shown in the August 31 Landsat 5 image above, reveals the intense flooding in the black dirt region surrounding the hamlet of Pine Island in the town of Warwick, New York. Originally called "the drowned lands" the region is the remains of a great shallow lake which was formed by receding glaciers. Crops grown in the 5500 acres of the black dirt area include onions, lettuce, radishes, cabbage, carrots, corn, pumpkin, squash; extensive sod farms are also in the low lands.

August 11, 2011 - The Drought that Wouldn't Leave

Texas Drought Before
Landsat 5
June 18, 2010
Texas Drought After
Landsat 5
August 8, 2011
Texas Drought Before
Texas Drought After
June 18, 2010 August 8, 2011
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Declared as the most severe one-year drought in Texas history, the drought has turned Texas and parts of the Plains into a parched moonscape of cracked earth. Texas had less than an inch of rain statewide in July, and more than 90% of the state is in the two most extreme stages of drought. The Landsat 5 images above show San Angelo's O.C. Fisher Lake, a 5,440-acre lake, filled with water on June 18, 2010, and as a dry, cracked lake bed on August 8, 2011.

For more information on this story, please go to the USGS Newsroom.

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