Agriculture and the petroleum industry compete for land use near Denver City, Texas, southwest of Lubbock near the New Mexico border. The economy of this region is almost completely dependent on its underground resources of petroleum and water. Both resources result in distinctive land use patterns visible from space. Historically this area has produced vast quantities of oil and gas since development began in the 1930s. Note the fine, light-colored grid of roads and pipelines connecting well sites over this portion of the Wasson Oil Field, one of the state’s most productive. Since the 1940s, agricultural land use has shifted from grazing to irrigated cultivation of cotton, sorghum, wheat, hay, and corn. The water supply is drawn from wells tapping the vast, but failing, Ogallala Aquifer. Note the large, circular center-pivot irrigation systems in the lower corners of the image. The largest is nearly a mile in diameter.
Published Sep 8, 2002
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