Views of the News
December 14, 2011 - The alluvial fans of the Mississippi River Delta Basin
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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.
August 2, 2011 - The Untamed River
The untamed Missouri River continues to alter the landscape of the Missouri River Basin, as shown in the Landsat satellite imagery above of the river near Decatur, NE, and Onawa, IA. Available evidence from the flood zone indicates that as new channels and deep cuts through the valley lowlands are likely being gouged, the rich farmland and countless human constructs are being destroyed or washed away in the months-long flood. In both images, vegetation is green.