One regular dose of Earth from above
Vessel is a structure and visitor attraction in Manhattan, New York City, constructed between 2017 and 2019. It is part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, a series of new structures built on a platform over a storage yard for Long Island Rail Road trains. Vessel’s honeycomb-like design rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings.
Sand stretches off the elbow of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, shifting over the years with the currents of the Atlantic Ocean. This particular area lies within the Monomoy Island National Wildlife Refuge, a migratory bird sanctuary with varied habitats including salt and freshwater marshes, sand dunes, and ponds.
Little Island is a public park in Manhattan, New York City that was constructed between 2018 and 2021. The 2.4-acre (9,712-square-meter) space is perched above the Hudson River on 132 concrete “tulip” pillars. It contains more than 350 species of plants, a 687-seat amphitheater, and ample lawn space for visitors.
The Yarlung Tsangpo River changes course over the years as it flows across the Tibetan Plateau. Stretching 1,760 miles (2,840 kilometers) across China, India, and Bangladesh, the river is the 11th longest in Asia. The section of river seen here is located south of the city of Lhasa, Tibet.
The world’s largest solar panel image - a horse - was constructed in the Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia, China starting in 2017. This massive pattern was built with 196,320 solar panels and covers nearly 1.4 square kilometers (0.54 square miles). It is part of a larger photovoltaic generation base with an annual output of 4 billion kilowatt hours.
Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze River in central China, was constructed between 1994 and 2012 to produce electricity and increase river shipping capacity. Since opening, it has been the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacit with 22,500 megawatts. Its construction also caused a massive relocation upstream — 1.24 million people were forced to move and 13 cities, 140 towns, and 1350 villages were at least partially flooded.
The Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada now cover roughly 100 square miles (258 square kilometers). The facility has expanded as its production of oil increased since the 1990s - an average of 3.1 million barrels were extracted each day in 2018, which is four times as much as in 2005. Athabasca contains Earth’s largest known deposit of bitumen, a semi-solid form of crude oil that occurs as a mixture of sand, clay, and water. The additional energy required to mine and then remove the sand from the bitumen releases more emissions than in any other form of oil production. The entire Athabasca area contains enough oil to produce 2.5 million barrels per day for the next 185 years.
Until the early 1990s, Tulum was a quiet village on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Known for its beaches and well-preserved Mayan ruins, the community has swelled in recent years to accommodate a rapid increase in tourism. It’s population grew from 3,000 in 1995 to over 46,000 in 2020, and its infrastructure now includes hotels, restaurants and bars, boutiques, and gyms.
Construction of Istanbul Airport began in 2014 and took four years to complete. Most of its 19,000-acre (7,600-hectare) footprint was previously state-owned forest and some 658,000 trees were cleared to make way for its construction. The facility has an annual passenger capacity of 90 million people.
Man-made salt ponds dot the Saloum River Delta in Senegal, West Africa. Solar evaporation turns the water into a salty brine and, due to variable algal concentrations, creates vivid colors ranging from pale green to bright orange. In summer months, the brines turn dense enough to crystallize and salt crystals sink to the bottom, where they can be scooped out.
10th of Ramadan is a master-planned community in Greater Cairo, Egypt. Founded in 1977 and developed heavily over the last few decades, the city is now home to about half a million people. More than $2.5 Million USD (47 million Egyptian pounds) has been spent to develop agriculture that surrounds the city and supports its growing population.
Mozambique's southern coastline has shifted over the years, affected by cyclones, flooding, and erosion. This section of shore, located just south of where the Save River empties into the Indian Ocean, is also shaped as sediment is discharged from the river.
Lake Urmia was once the sixth-largest saltwater lake on the planet with a surface area of 2,000 square miles (5,200 square km), but by 2017 had shrunk to 10% of its original size due to drought and damming of inflow rivers. Located in northwestern Iran, water levels rose once again in 2019 and continued in 2020 due to above average precipitation and the efforts of a restoration program.
The Lop Nur Potash Ponds are located in the Taklamakan Desert of northern China. Built and expanded over the last 20 years, the ponds occupy the basin of a dried up salt lake that once spanned 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) and left behind salt crusts as thick as 100 centimeters (39 inches). The variety of color seen here illustrates the stages of production—water is first dyed blue to absorb more sunlight and heat, and it gradually fades in color as it evaporates and potash crystallizes, ready for extraction.
Guangzhou is one of China’s fastest growing cities, it’s population tripling from 5 million in 1980 to 18.6 million in 2020. The city has seen a huge influx of migrants in recent years, spurred by its fast-growing economy and high labor demands. Guangzhou is at the heart of the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macau Greater Bay Area, the most-populous built-up metropolitan area in the world with approximately 65.5 million residents.
Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland has retreated rapidly in recent years. As the ice has melted, a lagoon known as Jökulsarlón has formed and grown. This area is now a popular tourist attraction, with large chunks of glacial ice melting before entering the Atlantic Ocean. Sixty years ago, when the glacier reached all the way to the shore, Jökulsárlón did not exist and since the 1970’s it has more than quadrupled in size.
The Bone Valley in central Florida contains some of the largest known deposits of phosphate in the United States. Mining has taken place here since the late 1800s, but in recent decades has expanded to cover more than 450,000 acres (182,000 hectares). Phosphate is used to create fertilizers and animal feed supplements, while phosphoric acid is an ingredient in food and beverage products, as well as metal treatment compounds.
Phoenix, Arizona is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States, gaining over 3 million residents between 1980 and 2020. Laid out along a regular grid of blocks and avenues, it was designed to sprawl outward, and it has doubled in size in 40 years. The Phoenix metro area spans 14,600 square miles (37,800 square kilometers), an area 1.25 times the size of Belgium. This Overview features the southeastern part of the city, including the communities of Gilbert, Mesa and Chandler.
The Westmont Rooftop Solar Project in San Pedro, California, comprises 2 million square feet of solar panels on the roof of a distribution center. The panels have a bifacial design, meaning they collect reflected light from the surface of the roof in addition to direct sunlight. This enables the panels to generate up to 45% more power than traditional rooftop solar panels and power 5,000 nearby homes.
Oil pump jacks checker the landscape of southeastern New Mexico and western Texas, a region known as the Permian Basin. This area contains one of the world’s thickest deposits of rock from the Permian geologic period and consequently is the largest petroleum-producing area in the United States. Increased drilling and pumping in recent decades has meant increased production—the Permian Basin accounted for roughly 43% of U.S. oil in 2022, up from 18% in 2013.