Significant oil and gas deposits in the area just east of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan, explored heavily only since the early 1990s, have allowed for the creation of production facilities that have changed the landscape of the Mangystau Province.
Landsat images show a small area of the Mangystau Province in 1987 and 2011. Many derricks and other production facilities have been constructed in the desert, with settlements being built around them.
Increased fossil fuels production introduces concerns of the quality and availability of fresh water, which is necessary for rural development and public health. With no outlet, the Caspian Sea is the repository of all that is transported and discharged, including pollutants, into its waters by the rivers.
Areas of the world that are rich in resources are confronted with the challenges of managing them. Landsat imagery can be useful in monitoring land change that may affect the human population and regional environments.