Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
5011 x 3341 pixels 720 x 480 pixels 5568 x 3712 pixels 640 x 427 pixels
Cloud masks available for this image:

Spacecraft nadir point: 28.3° S, 150.2° E

Photo center point: 27.1° S, 150.9° E

Photo center point by machine learning:

Nadir to Photo Center: Northeast

Spacecraft Altitude: 222 nautical miles (411km)
Click for Google map
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
5011 pixels 3341 pixels No No NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
720 pixels 480 pixels Yes No NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
5568 pixels 3712 pixels No No Download Image
640 pixels 427 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Download a GeoTIFF for this photo
Image Caption: Coal and Cattle in Southern Queensland

An astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph of a mining town in the Surat Basin of Queensland, Australia. The basin is made up of 150 million-year-old sediments and contains more than four billion tons of proven thermal coal resources.

The Wilkie Creek surface mine used to produce low-emission thermal coal. Thermal or "steam" coal is burned to create steam for electricity generation. The deposits in the region contain methane gas, which can present safety risks during mining operations. As a safety precaution, boreholes were drilled from the surface into the deposits to create gas wells, allowing the methane to vent before mining. These gas wells are sprinkled throughout the darker forested areas in the image, where bare squares of land are connected by a grid-like pattern of roads.

Due to the decreased demand for coal, mining operations at Wilkie Creek Mine were suspended starting in 2013 after 18 years of coal production. While the man-made surface changes are still visible from space, land rehabilitation efforts are now underway. According to information from Peabody Energy, the project site is being transformed into grazing land for cattle.