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.
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 220.127.116.11.0