IMAGES: Eye on the Planet

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1763
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1763a

The fate of a swath of Brazilian rainforest is ominously depicted in these images showing the spread of roads and adjacent logging between 1975 and 1992 in Rondônia. This and other environmental stories are told in Earthshots, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) site featuring articles based on images from the Landsat satellites first launched in 1972 (www.usgs.gov/Earthshots). Landsat has documented, for example, the abandonment of farmland near Chernobyl, Antarctica's Filchner Ice Shelf calving off three huge icebergs, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, and Cambodia's attempts to stem monsoon floods with canals. Earthshots' goal, says USGS's Bruce Quirk, is to demonstrate “what's happening on the face of the Earth over time and how important it is to monitor our environment.”

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