Image of the Week - Oil Fires in Iraq

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Detailed Description

Satellite images of the Hamrin Mountains in Iraq show burning oil wells. As ISIS is driven from the area, they are setting these wells on fire.

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: 00:00:58

Location Taken: Hamrin Mountains, IQ


In the Hamrin Mountains,
in northern Iraq, fires are

visible in Landsat and
Sentinel images from fall

compared to the 2014 image.

Over the past few years
black smoke has been seen

in satellite images billowing
from various locations in Iraq.

As Iraqi forces drive ISIS away,
the terrorist group has been

setting oil wells on fire
as it retreats. 

An oil spill can be seen in
the most recent images.

The spill flows from hills into
a valley over agricultural

land for about 11 kilometers.

The January image shows
this with a darkened landscape

along with the fires, indicated
by red spots. Earth observing

satellites continue to detect
and monitor the effect of

oil fires throughout
the country.