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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

With its ice tongue pointing towards Australia and New Zealand, the Mertz Glacier in East Antarctica extends into the Southern Ocean. A glacier can “calve”, which means that pieces of ice break off and start to float in the open sea as icebergs. Often comprising an area of several square kilometres, sea currents make these giants cross the Antarctic for months or even years. However, as soon as they reach northern and warmer areas, they begin to melt.

 

Location: Mertz Glacier, East Antarctica
Picture taken on January 1, 2010
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI

 

 

NASA (Jesse Allen); 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

In Central Australia, a large area of “ephemeral lakes” stretches across the borders of several states. Due to an average precipitation of 149 to 216 millimetres p.a., the lake basins are only occasionally filled with water and remain dry-as-dust salines most of the year. This image shows the easternmost periphery of Lake Frome in South Australia. When the picture was taken, Lake Frome was a dry salt lake filled with white sediment. The surface of the lake is uneven and characterised by drop-shaped hills.

 

Location: Australia
Picture taken on March 7, 2009
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI

 

 

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

In this image, you can see one of the largest iron ore mines worldwide: the Carajás Mine. In the Carajás Mine, minerals are being removed from the surface layer by layer. In 2007, 296 million tons of iron ore were extracted. The Carajás Mine is estimated to hold approximately 18 billion tons of iron ore, gold, manganese, copper and nickel. In this image, the contrast between the red earth of the surface mining and the surrounding rain forest is striking. On the periphery of the image, you can see that rain forest has been cleared in favour of cultivated land.

 

Location: Para, Brazil
Picture taken on July 26, 2009
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI

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

Along highway 20 from Idaho Falls heading toward Yellowstone National Park, green and golden fields dominate the fertile plain of the Snake River. The circular areas indicate extensively irrigated farmland. The white dunes developed towards the end of the last ice age approximately 10 000 years ago when the global climate started to become warmer and drier. Lakes and rivers dried up leaving fine sand behind. Continuous winds from the south west blew the sand in northeasterly direction, passing lava fields which are quite dark in the picture.

 

Location: Idaho, USA
Picture taken on September 9, 2010
Sensor: EO-1 – ALI
Band combination: R/ G/ B

 

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

The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa. Along its way, it turns into the 110m deep waterfall Victoria Falls, flows through canyons and spreads out across wide wetlands. In this picture, you can see Zambezi River (at the top) and Chobe River (at the bottom) during the annually recurring floods. The green part of the picture indicates tidewater while the brown and yellow part signals relative aridity. These two landscape areas deviate from each other due to the Mambova fault: The dry area is located higher than the flooded area in the valley.

 

Location: Kasane, Namibia
Picture taken on May 8, 2010
Sensor: EO-1 - ALI
Band combination: R/ G/ B

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

The Matusevich Glacier in the Antarctic streams towards the east coast while pushing its way through a valley in the mountains. Its ice tongue has been constrained so far but once it reaches the end of the mountains, the ice spreads out and calves into the ocean. Afterwards, the undulations of the sea break the ice into small pieces that begin to flow into the open sea as icebergs.

 

Location: Antarctic

Picture taken on September 6, 2010

Sensor: EO-1 – ALI

 

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