Minimize Alberta, Canada

This Landsat-8 image from 13 April 2014 covers a distance of over 350 km from top to bottom, all within Canada's Alberta province.

To the north, blue lake waters are visible, interspersed with rivers and creeks. This area makes up the world's largest freshwater inland river delta, where the Peace and Athabasca rivers converge on the Slave River and Lake Athabasca (the water body in the upper right).

Lake Claire to the left is also part of this delta system, and lies within the Wood Buffalo National Park - Canada's largest.

The lower half of the image is part of a wider area known as the Athabasca oil sands, which has the world's largest known reservoir of crude bitumen, which can be upgraded to crude oil using technology that extracts the oil from the soil using chemicals.

Boreal forests and peat bogs in this area are being destroyed by open-pit mining.

Boreal forests cover nearly half of the province, but about .2% has been disturbed by open-pit mining, some of which are visible in the lower-right. In addition to deforestation, these activities cause pollution and push wildlife from their preferred habitats.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: United States Geological Survey (USGS) / European Space Agency (ESA)


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