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Satellite Data and Corn Belt Productivity
April 10, 2014 | NASA

“Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to NASA and university scientists.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Trailing the Canaries
April 7, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

A NASA Earth Observatory image titled: “Trailing the Canaries” has been voted the winner of the Tournament Earth contest.

“The play of light on water can reveal overlooked details and nuances to photographers and artists on Earth. The same thing can happen when looking from space. In June 2013, sunglint revealed wind and wave patterns in the wake of the Canary Islands.” Quoted from the contest results.

USGS Preliminary Report Shows Ancient Landslides Near Oso
March 30, 2014 | USGS

“High-resolution topographic surveys allow fairly precise mapping of landslide deposits and their relative ages. [...] The Tulalip Tribes, in partnership with the Puget Sound Lidar Consortium, acquired a high-resolution lidar survey of the North Fork Stillaguamish River valley in 2013. This report presents a preliminary interpretation of the topography of this area using the lidar data at a scale of 1:24,000.” Quoted from the USGS Preliminary Interpretation.

The Saidmarreh Landslide
March 29, 2014 |

The Saidmarreh Landslide in western Iran is one of the largest landslides in the world. It occurred about 10,000 years ago when about 5 cubic miles of limestone detached along bedding planes and slipped down the north flank of the Kabir Kuh anticline. The slide debris had a run-out distance of over 9 miles. It can be clearly seen on satellite images today.

NASA Landsat Geocover image annotated by

Sinkhole Collapse Warnings from Radar?
March 25, 2014 | NASA

“Radar data, if collected routinely from airborne systems or satellites, could at least in some cases foresee sinkholes before they happen, decreasing danger to people and property.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Measuring a Migrating River Network
March 18, 2014 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Researchers at MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) have developed a mapping technique that measures how much a river network is changing, and in what direction it may be moving.” Quoted from the MIT video release.


Flooding in New Zealand
March 13, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting satellite image pair of a coastline in New Zealand. It shows coastal waters discolored by suspended sediment after heavy rains.

Monitoring Basin Water Storage by Satellite
March 13, 2014 | University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling

In response to drought conditions in California the University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling has published: Water Storage Changes in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins From GRACE. It provides a summary of water conditions based upon data acquired from NASA’s GRACE satellite.

NASA Responds to California Drought
March 4, 2014 | NASA

“The severity of California’s current drought is illustrated in these images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California located 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Sacramento.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Image Credit: California Department of Water Resources

Hunting Landslides in Alaska
March 2, 2014 | Wired Science

“You might think it’d be hard not to notice 68 million tons of rock and debris suddenly crashing down a mountainside. But when one of the biggest landslides of the past four years occurred in a remote region of Alaska, researchers knew almost everything about it except its exact location.” Quoted from Adam Mann’s blog post on Wired Science.

Great Lakes Ice Cover at 85.2 Percent
February 23, 2014 | NOAA

In mid-February the Great Lakes total ice cover was at 85.2% and moving towards the record of 94.7% set in 1979. The maximum 2012 ice cover was 38.4%.

Calderas on the Chiltepe Peninsula
February 18, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

The Chiltepe Peninsula extends into the waters of Lake Managua, Nicaragua. It is part of an ignimbrite shield with two calderas produced from the ejecta of numerous volcanic eruptions.

Underwater Eruption from Space
February 16, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

“Kavachi is an undersea volcano on the southern edge of the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It erupted dozens of times in the 20th century, often breaking the water surface, only to be eroded back below the water line within a few months.” Satellite view from NASA Earth Observatory.

NASA Image
Data for the California Drought from the Grace Satellite
February 11, 2014 | National Geographic

A national geographic article explains how data from NASA’s Grace satellite has been useful for understanding the California drought.

An Effort to Curb Flaring in the Bakken?
February 9, 2014 | New York Times

An effort to curb natural gas flaring at Bakken Shale oil wells could result in a 40% increase in North Dakota natural gas output by the end of 2015.

Related: A collection of NASA satellite images that show natural gas being flaring at locations all over the world.

Evapotranspiration Measured from Space
January 28, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting image that demonstrates how they are able to measure geographic variations in evapotranspiration using satellite data. (Image of irrigated land from Idaho’s Snake River floodplain.

Steam Fog Streaming from the Great Lakes
January 9, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

“A swirling mass of Arctic air moved south into the continental United States in early January 2014. On January 3, the air mass began breaking off from the polar vortex, a semi-permanent low-pressure system with a center around Canada’s Baffin Island. The frigid air was pushed south into the Great Lakes region by the jet stream, bringing abnormally cold temperatures to many parts of Canada and the central and eastern United States.

When the cold air passed over the relatively warm waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, the contrast in temperatures created a visual spectacle. As cold, dry air moved over the lakes, it mixed with warmer, moister air rising off the lake surfaces, transforming the water vapor into fog—a phenomenon known as steam fog.” Quoted from NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Ash Plume at San Miguel
January 1, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

Sunday’s explosive eruption at San Miguel Volcano in El Salvador produced a plume of ash captured by NASA in this satellite image.

NASA Hazard Warning Systems
December 12, 2013 | NASA

“Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have enhanced existing GPS technologies to develop new systems for California and elsewhere to warn of hazards from earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather events.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Who Uses Landsat Images and Why
December 4, 2013 | USGS

“To learn more about who uses Landsat imagery and the value these users see in Landsat imagery, the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed responses to a survey of more than 40,000 individuals who accessed free Landsat images from the archive at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. Quoted from the USGS press release.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden explores
NASA's new Images of Change iPad application.
Image credit: NASA/JPL
NASA Launches Changing Earth iPad App
December 3, 2013 | NASA

“Human activities, a changing climate and natural disasters are rapidly altering the face of our planet. Now, with NASA’s Images of Change iPad application, users can get an interactive before-and-after view of these changes.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Understanding Galapagos Volcanoes
November 25, 2013 | USGS

“The chance transit of a satellite over the April 2009 eruption of Fernandina volcano — the most active in South America’s famed Galápagos archipelago — has revealed for the first time the mechanism behind the characteristic pattern of eruptive fissures on the island chain’s volcanoes.” Quoted from the USGS Newsroom.

Mapping Global Forest Losses and Gains
November 20, 2013 | NASA

“The ravages of deforestation, wildfires, windstorms and insects on global forests during this century are revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study based on data from the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat 7 satellite.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Typhoon Haiyan Before and After Satellite Images
November 18, 2013 | The Telegraph

The Telegraph has a collection of before and after slider images of sites in the Philippines that show damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Understanding Galapagos Volcanoes
October 31, 2013 | USGS

“The chance transit of a satellite over the April 2009 eruption of Fernandina volcano — the most active in South America’s famed Galápagos archipelago — has revealed for the first time the mechanism behind the characteristic pattern of eruptive fissures on the island chain’s volcanoes.”

Natural Gas Flaring from Space
October 30, 2013 |

We have posted views of Earth from NASA’s Suomi satellite that show night illumination and natural gas flaring for oil industry sites in the Bakken Formation, Eagle Ford Shale, Alaska North Slope, United States Gulf, Mexican Gulf, Venezuela Orinoco Field, Brazil offshore basins, North Sea, North Africa onshore, west Africa offshore, and Persian Gulf.

NASA image.
NASA Satellites Image Mud Volcano
September 29, 2013 | NASA

“On September 26, 2013, the Advanced Land Imager captured an image of a new island off the coast of Pakistan. The “mud island” rose from the seafloor near Gwadar on September 24, shortly after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake rattled the Balochistan province of northwestern Pakistan.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

See the NBC News report with a ground photo here.

Satellite Image of Colorado Flooding
September 19, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“Though water levels on the South Platte River near Greeley, Colorado, were receding, muddy brown floods still spread along the river’s path on September 17, 2013, when [...] the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this image. At the time, the river was more than six feet above flood stage, down from more than eight feet above flood stage.” Quoted from the NASA Earth Observatory image release.

Satellite Image of Two Storms Hitting Mexico
September 18, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“With 5,800 miles of coastline surrounded by warm tropical and subtropical waters, Mexico is no stranger to tropical storms. But on September 15-16, 2013, the country experienced a rare double strike as two storms moved ashore simultaneously, one from the Pacific and one from the Atlantic.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory image release.

Wildfires and Dust Storm in Argentina
September 18, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA Earth Observatory has satellite images of forest fire smoke and dust from a dry saline lake bed being carried by the wind.

Huge Crater in Antarctic Ice
September 16, 2013 | European Space Agency

“ESA’s CryoSat satellite has found a vast crater in Antarctica’s icy surface. Scientists believe the crater was left behind when a lake lying under about 3 km of ice suddenly drained.” Quoted from the ESA press release.

Deadly Pyroclastic Flow at Paluweh
September 5, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

Paluweh Volcano in Indonesia has been erupting since late 2012 with most of the debris and ash flowing to the south side of the volcano. In August a pyroclastic flow went down the north side of the volcano, killing five people. NASA’s Earth Observatory has before and after satellite images of the island.

Plankton Bloom in Lake Ontario
September 2, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“This photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station highlights a late summer plankton bloom across much of Lake Ontario, one of North America’s Great Lakes. Microscopic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can reach such large concentrations and color the water to such an extent that the change is visible from orbit.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory website.

Vog from Ambrym Volcano
August 16, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an image of vog (volcanic smog) flowing from the craters of Ambrym Volcano in the Vanatu Islands of the South Pacific.

Five Eruptions on the Kamchatka Peninsula
July 9, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

There are currently five erupting volcanoes on the Kamchatkan Peninsula: Shiveluch, Bezymianny, Tolbachik, Kizimen, and Karymsky. NASA’s MODIS spectroradiometer detected heat signatures from over 400 miles above the Earth.

Lava Flows on Tolbachik
June 14, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has interesting satellite images of lava flows on Tolbachik, a volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The images use visible light and shortwave infrared and near-infrared to enhance the visibility of volcanic features.

Understory Fires in the Amazon
June 9, 2013 | NASA

“Using an innovative satellite technique, NASA scientists have determined that a previously unmapped type of wildfire in the Amazon rainforest is responsible for destroying several times more forest than has been lost through deforestation in recent years.”

Ash on Snow at Karymsky
June 7, 2013 | NASA

“Ash covers the western slopes of Karymsky Volcano in this natural-color satellite image. The image was collected on May 20, 2013. [...] Late-season snow remained on the surrounding Kamchatkan landscape.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Impact of Eyjafjallajokull On Ocean Biology
May 17, 2013 | University of Southampton

Research at the University of Southampton determined that the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull supplied dissolved iron to a large area of the North Atlantic. This stimulated photoplankton growth but the abundance of iron caused the rapid removal of biological nitrate which applied a throttle on the phytoplankton.

Namibian Dust Over the Atlantic
May 15, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

Strong winds carry plumes of dust from parts of Namibia where dry soil and a lack of vegetation allow the wind to pick up dust from the gravel-covered plains.

Ablation in Argentina
May 14, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a satellite image showing how strong winds in Argentina are removing dust from inland lake beds and streaming it out over the Atlantic.

Google Earth Engine
May 12, 2013 | Google Earth Engine

Google now has a website that uses satellite images to document landscape changes over time. With it you can see lakes shrinking, cities expanding, glaciers retreating and mining activities advancing.

Flooding Around Fargo
May 2, 2013 | NASA

NASA’s Earth Observatory has satellite images that display flooding in the area around Fargo, North Dakota from early and late April 2013. They show waters of the Red River covering farmland around the city.

The First Satellite Images of Polar Ice Coverage
April 26, 2013 | BBC has an article about the first satellite maps of the Arctic and Antarctic, produced in the 1960s and now providing useful information about polar ice change.

Dust Storm over the Nile
March 27, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“A dust storm blew through Egypt on March 22, 2013, obscuring parts of the Nile River and the Gulf of Suez.” Quoted from the NASA Earth Observatory image release.

First Images from the New Landsat Mission
March 24, 2013 | NASA

“On March 18, 2013, the newly launched Landsat Data Continuity Mission began to send back images of Earth from both of its instruments — the Operational Land Imager and the Thermal Infrared Sensor. This view of Fort Collins, Colorado, is among the satellite’s first images.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Spectacular Eruption Photos
March 20, 2013 |

A collection of some of the most interesting photos of volcanic eruptions that we have seen from USGS, NASA and NOAA.

Activity at Popocatepetl Volcano
March 12, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano released a plume in early March 2013. On March 8, Volcano Discovery reported an ash plume reaching roughly 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above the volcano crater, or about 7 kilometers (4 miles) above sea level.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Hot Rocks on Tolbachik Volcano
February 21, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“Nearly three months after Tolbachik began erupting, lava continues to flow from the Kamchatkan volcano. Over time, the lava flows change location and shift across the landscape. In this image, infrared data is superimposed on a natural-color image to highlight active flows.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory image release.

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.

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