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Andrew Alden

Geologists' New Pastime: Google Earth Engine

By May 10, 2013

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The people at Google Earth have unveiled a new feature of Earth Engine: time-lapse views of anywhere on Earth using satellite imagery back to 1984. My colleagues on Twitter have been exclaiming all morning:

@rschott: "The Evolving Earth: Meanders & Dunes & Shorelines Oh my!"

@kwinkunks: "Witness Alberta's oil sands development in Google's 100% awesome time-lapse Earth Engine"

@highlyanne: "Watch Oregon Inlet move sediment on the NC Outer Banks on Google Earth Engine

@davidmpyle: "Here's the whole #eruption of #Montserrat in Google Earth Engine"

@Allochthonous: "Mount Etna timelapse. Clearest new lava flows in NE around the 1999/2000 mark bit.ly/179ybKN"

@dukeofhazards: Wax Lake delta buildup

And it just goes on. These visualizations are wonderful ways to get us closer to the geologist's deep present by compressing time. As geo-tweeter @kwinkunks put it, "Just imagine how useful this will be in 10 million years. Can't wait... Oh, damn."

For my part, I've picked a few things for you to visit:

Movement of Malaspina Glacier, Alaska's largest piedmont glacier

The notorious Lusi mud volcano, Indonesia

Western Sumatra before and after the 2004 tsunami

Mouth of the Yellow River, world's largest sediment input to the ocean (corrected)

Feel free to post your own worthy spectacles.


May 13, 2013 at 1:18 am
(1) Simon says:

As for meandering rivers, watch Amazon leave the town of Iquitos.

May 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm
(2) Eric Logan says:

Very big open pit mines:
Chuquicamata mine, Chile: -22.291281 -68.902035
Minera Escondida, Chile: -24.271828 -69.067407
Bingham Canyon, Utah: 40.522949 -112.151011
Berkley Pit, Butte, MT: 46.017187 -112.509904

Canadian diamond mines
Diavik diamond mine, NW Territories, Canada: 64.498439 -110.284359
Ekati diamond mine, NW Territories, Canada: 64.725996 -110.587799
Snap Lake, NW Territories, Canada (DeBeers) : 63.575 -110.866667

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