Satellite Imagery Aids Modern Research Efforts
Today there are still unanswered questions about this region. Modern scientists have the advantage of using high altitude aerial photography, manned space photography and satellite imagery to study the deposition pattern of the dunes. The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources makes available several sets of Landsat TM scenes. These are scenes from the Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper which orbits 705 km above the earth every 103 minutes - 14 times daily. It repeats coverage of the same pass every 16 days.
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Landsat Scene Index
This Landsat 5 TM false image was acquired July 14, 1991. The long, dark-colored body of water in the lower left corner is Lake McConaughy on the North Platte River. It is about 25 miles long. The light blue colored spot near the bottom center of the image is the city of North Platte. The bright red color represents irrigated cropland. The heavy concentration of red along the North and South Platte Rivers and on the lower right side of the image delineates the southern and southeastern boundaries of the Sand Hills. The blue-green areas areas are dune covered uplands where warm-season native grasses are drought-stressed by this time in mid-July. The cool-season grasses are dormant. The long bands of red in the upper left quadrant of the image depict the interdunal areas where there are sub-irrigated meadows mixed with cropland and some trees.
It requires more than three Landsat scenes to cover the Nebraska Sand Hills region. Images from row 31 in paths 30, 31 and 32 cover almost all of the Sand Hills. See the following web based satellite images.
path 32 row 31 (western) path 31 row 31 (central) path 30 row 31 (eastern)
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