THE BEST PICTURES OF EARTH: Reader Picks of NASA Shots

THE BEST PICTURES OF EARTH: Reader Picks of NASA Shots
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8. Agricultural Patterns (May 30, 2006)

Like patchwork quilts, satellite views of farming patterns around the world form the above montage of images taken by the Terra satellite.

At top-left, a regular grid pattern suggests that agriculture was shaped by 19th-century surveying in Minnesota. Meanwhile, center-pivot irrigation in Kansas is responsible for the circles visible in the second image. A well in the middle of each field serves as a pivot point for wheeled, spraying watering machines.

In the top-right image of northwest Germany, small and disorganized fields can be traced back to the less-planned farming of the Middle Ages.

Curious pie-shaped fields in the lower-left image are the result of a planned settlement near Santa Cruz, Bolivia. At the center of each field is a village, while a buffer of rain forest separates each community.

In Thailand, at bottom-center, rice paddies just outside Bangkok form skinny slices. The purple fields are flooded, a normal part of rice's life cycle.

At bottom-right, Brazil's woodland-savanna cerrado contains massive farms, a by-product of the flat land's inexpensive price.
—Image by NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team, courtesy Earth Observatory
 
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