Image of the Week

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

Urban Growth in Morocco 1985-2011

The Moroccan cities of Agadir, Inezgane, and Tikiouine are situated close to the Atlantic coastline and stretch into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in northwestern Africa. Agadir was nearly destroyed by an earthquake in 1960. Reconstruction efforts have focused on tourism, turning this area into a winter destination. The 1985 image shows the area 25 years into the rebuilding of the urban area. As seen in the 2011 image, the growing urban areas reach into the Atlantic coastal desert ecoregion of the Sahara Desert.

Expanding Oil Production in Mangystau Province, Kazakhstan

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.

Aguascalientes, Mexico - Booming Growth

Landsat images illustrate how urban growth around Aguascalientes, Mexico, has increased over the past 20 years.

Industry has brought significant growth to the city of Aguascalientes, in central Mexico. Noted as one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico, this city is home to many major manufacturers. Over the past 10 years, the urban area of Aguascalientes has surpassed the boundaries into neighborhood municipalities, some of which have been annexed into Aguascalientes as suburbs. 

These Landsat images illustrate the area in October 1993 and October 2011. 

Lake Basaka, Ethiopia

In the past 35 years Lake Basaka, located in the Middle Awash River Basin, Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, has greatly expanded and the expansion has affected regional land use. While the exact cause of the expansion remains under study, a likely cause is the discharging of irrigation excesses directly into the lake. 

The growing lake has caused a rise in the groundwater table and has increased the salinity in water reserves. That salinity has affected regional sugarcane production, a major source of income for the region, and many agricultural fields have been abandoned. 

West Virginia surface mining

More than half of the Nation's electrical power comes from coal burning and a large percentage of the coal comes from West Virginia. 53 of the 55 counties in West Virginia have coal reserves, and underground, surface, and mountain top mining is a major economic factor for the state. Of the nearly 150 million tons of coal extracted each year, an increasing amount (60 million tons in 2009) comes from surface and mountain top production. 

Proctor Lake Affected by Texas Drought

Dry conditions since mid-2010 have caused a large portion of the State of Texas to be in an 'exceptional' state of drought, the worst condition on the Federal government's drought monitor scale. The 12-month period between October 2010 and September 2011 was the driest in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. Not only have crops and farmland been affected, the levels of many lakes in the state have decreased. 

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan Rift Valley and borders Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. It is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, which makes a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish. Minerals from the sea; however, are being extracted and touted as health benefit products. 

Arcadia Lake, Oklahoma

Arcadia Lake is a reservoir located just east of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, Oklahoma. 

The lake was constructed in the 1980s as part of the National Flood Control Act of 1970 and as a cooperative effort between the city of Edmond and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Arcadia Lake was created to control floods in the Deep Fork River Basin, supply water to the city of Edmond, and provide recreational resources to the surrounding communities. 

Rising Water Changes Caspian Shoreline

While water levels of the Caspian Sea have historically fluctuated, the area has seen increasing water volume in the past two decades. The largest inland mass of water (with no outlet) is greatly influenced by the Volga River, which provides more than 80% of the lake.s volume. The Caspian, identified as either an inland sea or the largest lake in the world, is fed by over 120 rivers, but the Volga is the dominant source. Upstream precipitation in the greater Volga Basin contributes to the water levels of the Caspian.

La Cordillera Regrowth

Landsat satellite data are frequently used to monitor conditions during and after natural and anthropogenic changes to the land surface of the planet. 

In 2005, large fires caused extensive damage to forested regions in the Cordillera Central, the mountains in the Dominican Republic. The fires started in the José del Carmen Ramirez National Park, on the lower reaches of Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Dominican Republic. The flames raced up the mountain, consuming the pine, palm, and broadleaf rainforests that grow at higher elevations. 


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