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Cuajone Mine

The Cuajone Mine is located near the district of Torata, in the southern range of the Peruvian Andes. The mine is best known for its copper deposits, but other materials such as silver, zinc, and molybdenum have been extracted from it as well. Operations began in 1970, and by 2009 accounted for 16% of the country's copper production.


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Shelter Cove

Shelter Cove is a small, remote community located along the “Lost Coast” of northern California, where the King Range meets the Pacific Ocean. Due to its rugged terrain, the Lost Coast region has no major highways and is mostly natural and undeveloped. The one-runway Shelter Cove Airport, seen at the bottom of this Overview, helps visitors access the area when weather permits.



Hvar Soccer Pitch

A football (soccer) pitch is nestled along the waterfront of Križna Luka, a neighborhood on the Croatian island of Hvar. Located in the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is about 115 square miles (298 square km) in size and has slightly more than 11,000 residents. The pitch shown in this Overview is the home ground for the NK Hvar football club and has the capacity to seat 1,000 fans.


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Athabasca Oil Sands

Waste ponds can be seen at the Athabasca oil sands in Canada. The area contains the largest known deposits of bitumen on Earth. Bitumen is a semi-solid form of crude oil that naturally occurs as a mixture of sand, clay, and water. The additional energy required to mine and then remove the sand from the bitumen leads to the release of more carbon emissions than in any other form of oil production. Extraction takes place by injecting hot water into deep wells so the sands liquefy and can be pumped up to the surface. This waste pond is roughly four square miles (10 square kilometers).


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Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort

The Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort is an eighteenth century fort in the village of Alcáçova, Portugal. Its prominent position atop Monte da Graça (Hill of Grace) made it an important stronghold during the Seven Years’ War, War of the Oranges and the Peninsular War. The fort is part of the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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The City of Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the largest municipality in the greater Brussels Capital Region. The city proper has a population of roughly 176,000, while more than 1.2 million people live in the Capital Region. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union and a hub for rail, road and air traffic, earning it the nickname “Crossroads of Europe.”


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Marree Man

The Marree Man, also known as Stuart’s Giant, is a modern geoglyph atop a plateau at Finnis Springs, 37 miles (60 km) west of Marree, South Australia. It depicts an indigenous Australian man hunting with a boomerang or stick and is 1.7 miles (2.7 km) tall with a perimeter of 17 miles (28 km). Although it is one of the largest geoglyphs in the world, its origin remains a mystery, with no one claiming responsibility for its creation.


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Angas Inlet Trees

Trees grow inside the hull of a sunken ship in the Angas Inlet, an arm of the Gulf St. Vincent in Adelaide, Southern Australia. In this inlet and others nearby can be found the remains of more than 30 iron and wooden ships abandoned up until 1945. They serve as canoeing attractions and bird roosts for upwards of 200 species of local and migratory birds.



Glacial Melt

Glacial melting and flooding occurs every year by the Skafta River in Iceland. As the water travels down towards the North Atlantic Ocean, incredible patterns are created on the hillsides. Rising lava, steam vents, or newly opened hot springs can all cause this rapid ice melt, leading to a sizable release of water that picks up sediment as it flows down from the glaciers.


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Labirinto della Masone

Labirinto della Masone, located just outside of Parma, Italy, is the world’s largest bamboo labyrinth. Taking the shape of an eight-pointed star, the labyrinth is made up of 200,000 bamboo plants, some as much as 49 feet (15 m) tall. For a sense of scale, this entire complex covers about 17 acres (6.87 hectares).



Uluru / Ayers Rock

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone formation in the Northern Territory of Australia. The monolith — rising to a height of 2,831 feet (863 m) with a perimeter of 5.8 miles (9.4 km) — is a sacred site to the Aboriginal people who settled there 10,000 years ago. While the first Australian tourists arrived at Uluru in 1936, annual visitor numbers rose to more than 400,000 by the year 2000. Increased tourism at the site provides regional and national economic benefits, but also creates an ongoing challenge to balance conservation, cultural values, and visitor needs.


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Bern is the capital of Switzerland, referred to by the Swiss as their “federal city” because it is the seat of the nation’s parliament. The Old City of Bern, seen here, is situated on a crook of the Aare River and more modern neighborhoods have sprouted up in surrounding areas. Bern has a population of about 140,000, making it the fifth most populous city in Switzerland.



Schwetzingen Palace

Schwetzingen Palace is located in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Built in stages from 1700 until 1750, the grounds of the palace feature ornate gardens that were designed in the styles of the the "French formal garden" and the "English landscape garden."


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Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte is the sixth largest city in Brazil with a population of roughly 2.5 million people. The city was constructed at the end of the 19th century with a planned, symmetrical array of perpendicular and diagonal streets in its downtown area. The roads are named after the Brazilian states and the indigenous tribes of Brazil.


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West Java Aquaculture

Aquaculture operations are seen along much of the shoreline of the Saguling Dam Reservoir in West Java, Indonesia. Located at the headwater of the Citarum River, the reservoir’s primary purpose is hydroelectric power generation, but it also provides water for net-cage fish farming and rice paddy irrigation. The Citarum River is listed as one of the most polluted rivers in the world, primarily due to contamination from the Indonesian textile industry.


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Beni River

The Beni River flows for roughly 680 miles (1,100 km) through northern Bolivia. Scattered along the river are numerous oxbow lakes, which are curved bodies of water that form when a meander from the main stem of a river is cut off, creating a freestanding body of water. Dark green colors in the image indicate forest and lighter green shades indicate grassland or sparse forest.


United States Geological Survey


Iōjima — not to be confused with Iwo Jima — is an island located 59 miles (110 km) south of Kagoshima, Japan. Iōjima experiences frequent volcanic activity, which results in massive amounts of sulfur dioxide flowing into the sea. This causes the surrounding waters to turn yellow, green, and teal as seen here. The island has a total area of 4.5 miles (11.65 sq km) and a population of 142 people.


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Maiella Massif

This Overview, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, shows an oblique view of the Maiella Massif in Italy’s Central Apennine Mountains. A massif is a compact group of connected mountains, usually isolated from other mountains in a range. Located about 25 miles (40 km) from the coastline of the Adriatic Sea, the Maiella Massif abruptly rises to more than 9,000 feet (2,700 m) above sea level.



Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station

Waste ponds are seen at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station near Tonopah, Arizona. As the most powerful nuclear power plant in the United States, the facility produces an average of 3.3 gigawatts, or enough power to serve roughly 4 million people. Additionally, since it is the only major nuclear power plant that is not located near a large body of water, this facility evaporates water from the treated sewage of several nearby cities to provide cooling for the steam that it produces. This image was featured in our story "Rethinking Nuclear Power."Read the full story →


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Sfax, Tunisia

The large, circular earth work seen here is part of a major redevelopment project in Taparura, a district on the northern coast of Sfax, Tunisia. The project plans to restore the city’s beaches and create more than 1,000 acres (420 hectares) of land to accommodate new housing, hotels, recreational areas, green spaces and public facilities for about 50,000 residents. Taparura draws its name from the Roman Taparura, a fifth century town that Sfax was founded atop of in AD 849.


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