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The Ouachita Mountains in west central USA are more than 300 million years old. Today, they are weather-beaten and noticeably  eroded. The remains that you can see in this image were once a part of a much more extensive mountain range that is believed to have spanned from Texas to Southeast Canada. The image combined information from the wavelength ranges of infrared, red and green. The complex shape of the mountains is characterised by a pattern of longish, folded formations. Between the mountain slopes, you can see water, vegetation, cities and streets.

 

Location: USA
Picture taken on November 13, 2002
Sensor: Terra ASTER
Band combination: R/G/IR

NASA/GSFC (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.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 this image you can see the Alpine region below a wintry blanket of snow. The Alps are the highest European mountain range system spanning more than 1,200 km from east to west and reaching a maximum height of 4,810 m above sea level (Mont Blanc, France). The mountains developed during the Alpine orogeny, the most recent and youngest mountain formation in the history of the earth (approximately 100 million to 5 million years ago). The Alps as we know them today developed during the last ice ages in the Pleistocene period when massive glaciers covered big parts of the mountains and their foothills.

 

Location: Europe, the Alps
Picture taken on January 17, 2011
Sensor: MODIS Terra
Band composition: R/G/B

NASA/GSFC, Link: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov

These images show the hills in the north of Teresópolis, Brazil, on May 24, 2010 and on February 2, 2011. In January 2011, a series of devastating landslides occurred, claiming the lives of 860 people. In the image on the right-hand side, the light brown stripes indicate the mudslides. This natural disaster was caused by the construction of favelas in steep terrain: In order to build the settlements, many trees were cut down whose roots had been ensuring the stability of the ground. What is more, the ground could not absorb enough water to prevent the heavy rainfall from resulting in mudslides.

 

Location: Teresópolis, Brazil
Pictures taken on May 24, 2010 and February 2, 2011
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI

 

 

 

 

NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

The geological history of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, USA, goes back more than 275 million years. This image shows a central part of the basin. The dendritic relief reveals a myriad of canyons. The erosions was caused by rivers millions of years ago. In the past, precipitation in this region was considerably heavier than it is today. Due to tectonic uplift, the area has dried out more and more.

 

Location: Utah, USA

Picture taken on May 15, 2005

Sensor: EO-1 - ALI

 

 

NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This image shows Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European mainland. Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 and buried its surrounding areas under a blanket of ashes that was approximately 30m thick. The excavation finds from the city of Pompeii constitute a snapshot of Roman life 2000 years ago: Perfectly intact wooden items, groceries and traces of hundreds of victims of the catastrophe. Mount Vesuvius has never rested and is constantly monitored for potential signs of a new eruption. This impressive image gives an idea of what an impact an eruption of Mount Vesuvius would have on the city of Naples.

 

Location: Italy, Pompeii
Sensor: Terra ASTER
Picture taken on September 26, 2000
Band combination: Vis/ NIR

NASA/GSFC/METI/Japan Space Systems; U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team; Link: http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.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 city of Gandoman is located south of Isfahan in the arid area of mountainous Iran. At the foot of the mountain, there is a lot of irrigation farming alongside a river in the flat plains. Green areas are covered with vegetation, and shades of earthly brown indicate uncultivated land. The dark brown triangle in the middle of the picture signals wetland. The fan-shaped structure of the cultivated land spreading out at the bottom of the steep hills on fertile alluvial fans clearly sticks out

 

Location: Gandoman, Iran
Picture taken on September 30, 2010
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI.

 

NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov