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For more information contact:

Rani D.Chohan
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Phone: (301) 286-2483

For information on the Kuwait Oil Fires

To study the images in greater detail click here

LANDSAT 7 website

Viewable Images

High resolution of August 31, 1990

High resolution of Feb. 23, 1991

High resolution of Nov. 14, 1991

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March 21, 2003 - (date of web publication)



kuwait oil fields Aug. 1990

Kuwait Oil Fields -

First image - August 31, 1990
Second image - February 23, 1991
Third image - November 14, 1991

Click on this link to get an animation of the oil fields.

To see individual images and to enlarge images, scroll to the bottom of the page.

These Landsat- 5 images show Kuwait before, during and after the 1991 oil fires. During the air and ground war of January-February 1991, 700 oil wells were damaged, of which more than 600 were set on fire.

The August 1990 image shows the capital city Kuwait in the upper part of the image. In the February 1991 image the Kuwaiti coastline south of the city is obscured by smoke plumes from burning oil wells. The November 1991 image was acquired after the fires had been extinguished.

Besides affecting the oceans and atmosphere, this oil had a severe impact on Kuwait's environment. The sand and gravel on the land's surface combined with oil and soot to form a layer of hardened "tarcrete" over almost 5 percent of the country's area. Over 300 oil lakes also formed; though covering only about 0.1 percent of Kuwait's area. The Kuwaiti Oil Minister estimated these lakes to hold 25 to 50 million barrels of oil. They are visible in the images as black pools within the dark gray tarcrete.

These image are courtesy of the USGS and NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.



Kuwait oil fields in August 1990

Kuwait Oil Fields - August 31, 1990

Click on image to enlarge.



kuwait oil field Feb. 1991

Kuwait Oil Fields - February 23, 1991

Click on image to enlarge.



kuwait oil fields Nov. 1991

Kuwait Oil Fields - November 14, 1991

Click on image to enlarge.


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