Why do some Landsat browse images appear pixelated?

Pixelation is an artifact of the browse generation process and is common for scenes that are located over flat, low-contrast areas, such as water, sand and snow. The actual data will not appear this way.

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Satellite image showing mining in North Dakota.
August 17, 2016

Mining has been part of Center's history for more than a century. In August 1984, the Landsat 5 image shows significant surface mining of lignite coal just to the southeast of town, during a summer when drought had browned the countryside. Thirty-two years later, the mining activity moved to the southwest of Center. An additional mining operation also began near the Milton R. Young Power Plant just southwest of Nelson Lake. At the power plant, lignite is used to heat water and create steam to drive electricity-producing turbines.