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28-year time lapse shows Earth's drastic changes (pictures)

Google Earth composites with annual Landsat satellite imagery show the changing landscape of our planet.

James Martin
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
James Martin
1 of 7 Google/USGS/Landsat

Brazilian Amazon deforestation

Using annual Landsat satellite imagery captured since 1984, Google has created dramatic composites depicting our changing world, the death and growth of natural lands, and humans' impact on the landscape.

The animated GIFs show development and destruction pulsing like a living being, with forests receding, water evaporating, and cities growing. Las Vegas crawls across the desert and construction is booming, while the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, seen here, and glaciers disappear before your eyes.
2 of 7 Google/USGS/Landsat

Columbia Glacier retreat

The Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound on the coast of Alaska is one of the fastest-moving glaciers in the world, and has been retreating rapidly since the early 1980s.
3 of 7 Google/USGS/Landsat

Dubai coastal expansion

Growth is not limited to just land. Here, in Dubai, we see the pace of coastal development and the expansion of manmade island resorts in the early 2000s.
4 of 7 Google/USGS/Landsat

Lake Urmia drying up

Lake Urmia in northwest Iran, seen as a deep blue oasis in 1984, nearly vanishes, transforming into a dry desert landscape by 2012.
5 of 7 Google/USGS/Landsat

Las Vegas growth

Beginning in 1986, Las Vegas appear tiny compared with the explosive pace of growth which overtakes the city in the late 1990s and 2000s.
6 of 7 Google/USGS/Landsat

Saudia Arabia irrigation

Development in Saudia Arabia over the past 20 years has brought with it complex water and irrigation systems to feed life in the dry desert.
7 of 7 Google/NASA/Landsat

Wyoming coal mining

The coal industry in Wyoming chews slowly across the landscape.

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