Earth  ID: 30059

Mountaintop Mining, West Virginia

These images illustrate the growth of the Hobet mine in Boone County, WV as it moves from ridge to ridge between 1984 and 2015. The natural forested landscape appears dark green, creased by steams and indented by hollows. Active mining areas, however, appear off-white and areas being reclaimed with vegetation appear light green. The law requires coal operators to restore the land to its approximate original shape, but the rock debris generally can’t be securely piled as high or graded as steeply as the original mountaintop. There is always too much rock left over, and coal companies dispose of it by building valley fills in hollows, gullies, and streams. While the image from 2015 shows apparent green-up of restored lands, it also shows expanded operations in the west. The resulting impacts to stream biodiversity, forest health, and ground-water quality are high, and may be irreversible.

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Marit Jentoft-Nilsen (GST): Lead Animator
Mark Malanoski (GST): Project Support
Amy Moran (GST): Animator
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LDCM: Landsat Data Continuity Mission

Data Used:
Landsat-8/OLI/Band Combination 2,3,4 also referred to as: True Color
Observed Data
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:
World of Change

DLESE >> Human geography
DLESE >> Physical geography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Land Use/Land Cover
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Land Use/Land Cover >> Land Management
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Land Surface >> Land Use/Land Cover >> Land Resources
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Presentation

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version