Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Earth as art: Incredible image of Desolation Canyon, Utah

Our planet offers some spectacular landscapes from our own earthly perspective. Now, we can see how they look from space. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) along with the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has collected several amazing shots of the Earth that look like art. Pictured here is Desolation Canyon, located in eastern Utah, United States.

This image brings to mind an abstract painting, exposing the colorful landscape blending from red to greenish blue. Taken by NASA’s Landstat 7 satellite on December 31, 2000, we see what the USGS describes as “Utah’s Green River flows south across the Tavaputs Plateau (top) before entering Desolation Canyon (center). The Canyon slices through the Roan and Book Cliff – two long, staircase-like escarpments.” 

As the Green River snakes through Desolation Canyon in eastern Utah, it cuts deep through the landscape like a vein in search of an outlet. It is one of the largest unprotected wild areas in the western United States. A National Historic Landmark, the canyon was first explored by naturalist John Wesley Powell in 1869. After Powell’s exploration, ranchers would use it for livestock grazing. However, it was not a popular site with farmers in the 19th century, as many found its terrain too wild to cultivate.  

Today, Desolation Canyon is noted for its rock art sites and Native American ruins. River-rafters also make it a popular spot for their sport.

Image courtesy of the USGS