Earth  ID: 31127

Shale Revolution: As Clear as Night and Day—South Texas

“Play” is a term used by petroleum geologists to describe a geological formation that has been targeted for exploration because it likely contains oil or gas. In nighttime satellite imagery, the light from the Eagle Ford Shale Play competes with the nearby cities of San Antonio and Austin, Texas. The electric glow of drilling equipment, worker camps, and other gas and oil infrastructure combine with flickering gas flares to create an unmistakable arc of light across southern Texas. On February 15, 2016, the VIIRS DNB on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of Eagle Ford. The Eagle Ford Shale, which is about 400 mi (600 km) long and 50 mi (80 km) wide, is a source of both oil and gas. Most of the oil-producing wells are located on the northern part of the play; the gas-producing wells are located along its southern edge. As shown in the two images of Cotulla (outlined in white in the VIIRS DNB image), the view is also stunning during daylight. In the early 2000s, the area east of Cotulla, Texas, was dry, sleepy shrubland. By 2015 a bustling network of roads and rectangular drill pads had completely transformed the landscape. The pair of satellite images shows how much the landscape has changed. Landsat 5 acquired the December 17, 2000, image; Landsat 8 captured the December 18, 2015, image. According to a report from the Texas Observer, a nonprofit news organization based in Austin, Cotulla saw its population swell from about 4,000 to 10,000 people in just a few years due to an influx of oil and gas workers.

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Kevin W. Miller (GST): Lead Graphic Designer
Joshua Stevens (SSAI): Lead Data Visualizer
Adam P. Voiland (SSAI): Lead Writer
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SVS >> Landsat
SVS >> Night lights
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Population
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Environmental Impacts >> Gas Flaring
GCMD >> Location >> Texas
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version