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Thousands of well pads are scattered across northwestern North Dakota. This series of images shows an example of a location with several of them. These rectangular shaped areas of land cover 4–7 acres each. The small bright shapes in the images are much smaller than agricultural fields. Cropland is larger blocks of land in varying shades of green or tan.

The parcel of land dedicated to oil pumping is cleared for setting up drilling equipment. Once drilling is completed at a location, it can then pump oil. Each pad seen in the images is a well pad with either drilling or pumping in progress.

In the entire Williston Basin, 12,990 hectares of land have been converted to well pads. The previous land cover of this area was almost entirely agriculture and prairie.

Imagery

Every picture has a story to tell
July 25, 2002, Landsat 7 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
July 1, 2008, Landsat 5 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
Aug. 8, 2010, Landsat 5 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
Aug. 27, 2011, Landsat 5 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
Aug. 16, 2013, Landsat 8 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
Aug. 19, 2014, Landsat 8 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
July 26, 2017, Landsat 8 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
July 16, 2022, Landsat 9 (path/row 34/26) — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
July 20, 2022, Sentinel-2B — Well pads, North Dakota, USA
July 26, 2020, National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP)

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