Petroleum Infrastructure, Denver City, Texas
Astronaut photograph ISS005-E-9984
was taken on 17 August 2002 using a digital camera onboard the International
Space Station. It was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis
Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and
cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of
Agriculture and the petroleum industry compete for land use near Denver City, Texas, southwest of Lubbock near the New Mexico border. The economy of this region is almost completely dependent on its underground resources of petroleum and water. Both resources result in distinctive land use patterns visible from space. Historically this area has produced vast quantities of oil and gas since development began in the 1930’s. Note the fine, light-colored grid of roads and pipelines connecting well sites over this portion of the Wasson Oil Field, one of the state’s most productive. Since the 1940s, agricultural land use has shifted from grazing to irrigated cultivation of cotton, sorghum, wheat, hay, and corn. The water supply is drawn from wells tapping the vast, but failing, Ogallala Aquifer. Note the large, circular center-pivot irrigation systems in the lower corners of the image. The largest is nearly a mile in diameter.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.