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Geosciences Imagery for Humanities Researchers

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center

USGS EROS imagery archive

USGS EROS, Education

USGS EROS, Earthshots

Example, Mining:  

- Mining Operations A Mountaintop Mining, West Virginia, USA story

Mining Operations, imagery from 1975 to 2021

- Yanacocha Mine, Peru: The expanding Yanacocha Mine dominates the land change seen in this series of images. Operated by the Newmont Mining Corporation in Greenwood Village, Colorado, the Yanacocha Mine is the second largest gold mine in the world, and the largest in Latin America.

The Mining Process, imagery from 1987 to 2021

- Bakken Oil Boom, North Dakota, USA: Even though oil is underground, Landsat images can reveal related land changes on the surface. The Bakken oil boom has made North Dakota the second leading oil producing state—behind only Texas. Evidence of this boom is apparent on the landscape.

Land Change A Bakken Oil Boom, North Dakota, USA story, imagery from 2002 to 2017


USGS EROS Earth As Art

Earth As Art 1

Example: Once a vast carpet of healthy vegetation, the Amazon rain forest is changing rapidly. This image of Bolivia shows dramatic deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Loggers have cut long paths into the forest, while ranchers have cleared large blocks for their herds. Fanning out from these clear-cut areas are settlements built in radial arrangements of fields and farms. Healthy vegetation appears bright red in this image.

Earth As Art 2

Example: Between the fertile Euphrates River valley and the cultivated lands of the eastern Mediterranean coast, the Syrian Desert covers parts of modern Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Earth As Art 3

Example: This stretch of Iceland's northern coast resembles a tiger's head complete with stripes of orange, black, and white. The tiger's mouth is the great Eyjafjorour, a deep fjord that juts into the mainland between steep mountains. The name means "island fjord," derived from the tiny, tear-shaped Hrisey Island near its mouth. The ice-free port city of Akureyri lies near the fjord's narrow tip, and is Iceland's second largest population center after the capital, Reykjavik.   

Earth As Art 4

Example: These green and blue swirls in the Bering Sea reveal the bottom of the food chain in the ocean. Microscopic organisms called phytoplankton, which are important to fish populations, may be too small to be seen individually, but in vast numbers they are visible from space. The white clouds in the image look like bubbles in an aquarium.

Earth As Art 5

Example: Extensive farmland in northeastern China shows a predictable pattern of vertical shapes. But on closer inspection, the shapes begin to look more random, with variances everywhere. Look closely to be surprised by patterns and broken patterns.

Earth As Art 6

Example: A vast, open expanse in Namibia is one of the largest salt pans in the world. The pan is within Etosha National Park, protected since 1907. The horizontal line across the image is the national park fence. The wild patterns in this infrared interpretation are from numerous episodes of water evaporation following seasonal rains. The salt from the water is rearranged into new patterns every time the shallow water dries out. The surrounding blue shades are dry bushland savanna.