Sunday, June 8, 2008

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The Black Triangle

Germany, Czech Republic
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The so-called Black Triangle is an area bordered by Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic and is the site of extensive surface coal mining operations. In the 1975 satellite image, the gray areas are surface mines located primarily in the Czech Republic. Airborne pollutants from coal extraction activities tended to become trapped by the mountainous terrain to the northeast and were concentrated in the area around the mines, eventually causing severe deforestation along the border between the Czech Republic and Germany. In the 2000 image, this deforestation is very obvious, appearing as large brownish patches. Interestingly, the 2000 image also reveals somewhat improved vegetation cover - a slight "greening" of the landscape - as compared to conditions in 1975. Some of this improvement may be attributable to actions taken by the three countries bordering the Black Triangle to reduce pollutants produced by the mining operations. The implementation of anti-pollution technologies, including circulating fluidized bed-boilers, clean coal technology, and nitrous oxide emission burners, appears to have reversed some, albeit not all, of the environmental damage experienced by the region as a result of the mines. View detailed information

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