Image of the Week - Irma Churns Up Sediment in the Florida Keys

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Detailed Description

Hurricane Irma churned up sediment around the Florida keys as shown by these Landsat images.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (


Date Taken:

Length: 00:00:54

Location Taken: Florida Keys, FL, US


Hurricane Irma crossed the
Florida Keys the morning

of September 10, as a
Category 4 hurricane.

Besides damage done to
structures on the islands,

the storm also stirred
the waters.

A natural color Landsat
image four days after the

storm contrasts with an image
acquired in March.

The murky green-blue color
is near-surface sediment

churned up by strong winds.

The line south of the Keys
where the sediment ends is

a steep drop-off, the edge
of the continental shelf.

The dark color is
deeper water.

In the close-up image from
March, sand ripples are

visible just under the
clear water. After the

storm, those ripples are
clouded by sediment

in the turbid water.

The Florida Keys National
Marine Sanctuary is still

assessing any damage that
might have been done to

marine habitats.