NASA Satellite Photos Show Coal Mining Destroy a Mountain Range Over 25 Years


All images: NASA Earth Observatory

Does anyone out there still need convincing that mountaintop removal mining is in the running for mankind's worst idea? The reckless, greed-driven hubris that allows us to justify blowing up age-old mountains to get cheaper coal isn't surprising, however -- it's pretty much right in tune with plenty of our exploits over the last few centuries. Yet we also possess the innate ability to subsequently feel really bad about what we've done -- so maybe looking at these NASA satellite photos, which document, year by year, the destruction of a mountain for coal-mining, will cause coal barons the nation over to change their ways. Fat chance. Still, if you can look at these breathtaking photos of a mountain literally being demolished over the course of 25 years without feeling any sense of despair, you may be a robot. The image above shows the West Virginia Hobet coal mine in 1984, after mining had already begun. But that was before they seriously started blowing up the surrounding mountainside in order to expose the coal seams and extract the stuff more cheaply. Here's the mine two years later, in 1986:


And in 1988:












And, finally, 2010:


As part of the Appalachians, this mountain began forming some 480 million years ago. It took us just over 25 years to blow it to bits.

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