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Approximately 290 billion years ago, two big asteroids collided with the Earth. The craters are still visible - to astronauts in the orbit, the lakes inside the craters are popular subjects for photographs. The crater lakes' diameter is 26 resp. 36 kilometres.

 

At the time of collision, the area had been at the equator, but plate tectonics lead to a northward shift. Nowadays, the crater lakes are in Qebec, Canada. During the ice ages, the landscape was grounded by glaciers. By the time they had melted, much of the cracks in the bare rocks filled with the left-over water. Thus the network of linear rivers and lakes was formed.

 

Location: Quebec, Kanada

Picture taken on June 29, 2013

Sensor: Landsat 8 - OLI

NASA Earth Observatory, Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

The salt desert Dasht-e Kavir is located in Iran in the east of the Zagros Mountains. Being the largest Iranian desert, it is a gigantic salt pan whose crusts of salt protect the ground against total dehydration. On the left-hand side of the picture, you can see one of the few streets crossing the largely uninhabited wasteland.

 

Location: Iran
Picture taken on May 10, 2003
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+

USGS/EROS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

The indigenous peoples of Latin America are facing serious problems caused by the large-scale deforestation of the rain forests. The false-colour image of Bolivia is representative of this issue. Losing their living environment, which was once used sustainably, indigenous peoples are increasingly marginalised and forced to live in poverty. Tropical rain forests are particularly sensitive to outside influences because they are drawing all of their potential from the natural cycles of materials because their ground is lacking nutrient stores. The exploitation of the grounds is followed by the abandonment of the fields leaving huge scars in the landscape. Sadly, the once so rich diversity of species will probably be lost forever.

 

Location: Bolivia
Picture taken on August 9, 2002
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: IR/G/B

USGS; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

The delta of the Paraná River is a huge arboreous wetland 30 km northeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This area is a popular destination for guided boat tours. Moreover, the delta is one of the biggest birdwatching sites worldwide. This false-colour image shows the striking contrast between dense woods, wet swamps and the blue Paraná. It combines information from the short-wavelength and near infrared as well as from the green wavelength range.

 

Location: Argentina
Picture taken on May 26, 2000
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: G/SIR/NIR

USGS/EROS; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

In this image you can see a glacier (blue) in Greenland calving into the sea (black). The glacier is surrounded by landmass, indicated by the red colour in the upper and the lower part of the picture. In recent years, hardly any place on earth has been more affected by climate warming than the Arctic: The ice along the edge of the giant ice cap is getting thinner and thinner, and glaciers are calving more and more rapidly. It remains to be seen if increasing snowfalls on the inner landmass can make up for the loss of frozen material at the edge of the ice cap.

 

Location: Greenland
Picture taken on September 30, 2002
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: R/NIR/SWIR

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

This image shows a part of the Zagros Mountains stretching across 1500 km from West to Southwest Iran where the Eurasian Plate and the Arabian Plate meet. This mountain range developed during the Alpine orogeny, the most recent and youngest mountain formation in the history of the earth. To this day, the Zagros Mountains have been growing continually.

 

Location: Iran
Picture taken on February 2, 2000
Sensor: Landsat 5, Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: G/SWIR/IR

USGS/EROS ; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

In comparing these two images, you get an idea of the rapid growth of Las Vegas, Nevada, between 1973 and 2002. Las Vegas is one of the fastest-growing US cities. Its high immigration rate and its areal extent have a negative effect on the water budget of this arid region. In order to solve this problem, politicians intervened: It is now forbidden to build new swimming pools, fountains must be operated using wastewater and the lawn can only be watered at certain days of the week.

 

Location: Las Vegas, USA
Pictures taken on June 10, 1973 and June 10, 2002
Sensors: Landsat 5 and Landsat 7

 

 

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

The Lena delta in Russia is one of the largest river deltas in the world. This image detail shows some lakes and their tributaries. Flowing through Russia from the south, the Lena empties into the Arctic Ocean far north of the Arctic Circle. The tundra wetland is changing constantly and dynamically. The delta already started to develop 1,6 million years ago during the Pleistocene period, the glacial period of the ice age. During this time, large parts of Germany were buried by massive glaciers as well. The shape of the fan delta as we know it today developed approximately 7,000 years ago.

 

Location: North Russia
Picture taken on July 27, 2000
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band composition: R/G/B

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

The city of Brasilia was planned from scratch by architect Oscar Niemeyer and urban planner Lucio Costa. It formally became the federal capital of Brazil on April 21, 1960. Since that day, Brasilia has been growing continually. Initially planned for only 500,000 residents, a number exceeded in 1970, about 2.6 million people were living in Brasilia in 2009. In this satellite image from 2002, you can see the satellite suburbs that developed almost arbitrarily in the surroundings of Brasilia.

 

Location: Brasilia, Brazil
Picture taken on July 23, 2002
Sensor: Landsat ETM+

 

 

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

In the middle of this false-colour image, you can see the tongue of the Malaspina glacier. The glacier makes its way from the mountains in the north and is separated from the sea by its terminal moraine as can be seen in the lower part of the picture. Without the moraine or in the case of a sea-level rise, the glacier would come in contact with the warmer sea water and it would retreat more quickly than it does now. Satellite images and measurements on the ground show that most glaciers in Alaska are getting thinner and that only a few dozen are gaining in ice mass.

 

Location: Alaska
Picture taken on April 27, 2003
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+
Band combination: B/ G/ NIR

USGS; Link: http://www.usgs.gov

North of the Iraqi city of Al-Basrah bordering on Iran, a former swamp has been drained. Today, this area is used for military training.

 

Location: Iraq, Al-Basrah
Picture taken on January 24, 2001
Sensor: Landsat ETM+
Band combination: IR/ G/ B

USGS/EROS; Link: http://eros.usgs.gov/

This image shows the two twin islands in the southern part of Hudson Bay (North and South Twin Island). In spring, the ice of Hudson Bay clears, usually leaving the south-western part, in which the two islands are located, as the last area with a closed ice sheet. Climatologists are worried about Arctic melting processes: In recent years, there have been more and more ice-free phases, signalling an increase in climate warming.

 

Location: Hudson Bay, Canada
Picture taken on February 20, 2002
Sensor: Landsat ETM+
Band combination: MIR/NIR

USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

Since the first space missions, the circular “Richat Structure” in the northwest of Africa has ranked among the most striking points of orientation for astronauts. The “Eye of the Sahara” is 45 km in diameter and was initially interpreted as the result of a meteorite impact. Meanwhile, it is assumed to be a circular uplift of several layers of earth. Rocks of different solidness had been eroding to a greater or lesser extent over time, which led to the distinct looks of the “Richat Structure” as we know it today. However, the reason for the almost circular shape has remained unclear to this day.

 

Location: Mauretania, North Africa
Picture taken on March 31, 2003
Sensor: Landsat ETM+ 

 

 

USGS; Link: http://www.usgs.gov

The Antarctica emperor penguins are endangered. Due to the global temperature increase, the ice in the south will melt quickly and the birds will lose their natural habitat. Scientists use satellite images in order to investigate the number of penguins in the Antarctic. Since the penguins are hard to detect due to their black and white feathering, scientists look for their excrements. In the middle of the picture, you can see brown lines that cannot originate from the ice and thus must be organic: This so-called seabird guano clearly indicates the presence of a penguin colony.

 

Location: Antarctic
Picture taken on December 4, 2002
Sensor: Landsat 7 ETM+ 

 

NASA/GSFC; Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This false colour image shows farms alongside the Buffalo River in the US state Minnesota. Among other things, the term “precision farming” refers to the monitoring of plant health with the help of satellite images. Due to the depiction in the infrared spectrum, the farmers are provided with a lot of information about their fields.
Yellow areas indicate cultures that have been attacked by vermin, shades of red stand for healthy vegetation and black signals that there is too much water in the ground. What is more, weeds and hail damage can be detected by means of remote sensing as well.

 

Location: Minnesota, USA

Picture taken on September 10, 2009

Sensor: Landsat 5 – TM

Band combination: G/ R/ NIR

 

 

NASA (Jesse Allen); USGS; Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov