Earth from Space – Kazakh treasure

This Kompsat-2 image was acquired over southwestern Kazakhstan’s Mangistau region east of the Caspian Sea.

Along the top of the image we can see water and wetlands, with eroded areas at the top and on the right. The majority of the image is dominated by flatland covered with low-lying vegetation.

The bright web of roads in the lower left section of the image is the Karakuduk oil field. Soviet geologists discovered oil there in the early 1970s, and commercial production began in the 1990s.

The white squares in this ‘web’ indicate where wells are located. We can also see buildings and other structures related to oil production.

Kazakhstan – and in particular, the Mangistau oblast – has large fossil fuel reserves and an abundant supply of other minerals and metals. Because of this, Mangistau is sometimes called the ‘treasure peninsula’ of Kazakhstan.

Earth-observing satellites – and in particular, high-resolution multispectral imagery – are useful for finding and monitoring natural resources like minerals and also for supporting the oil and gas industry. Satellites can directly identify different minerals and recognise large-scale geological structures related to mineral deposits that ground-based surveys may have difficulty detecting.

This image was acquired on 24 November 2012 by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute’s Kompsat-2 satellite and it is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

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