Things that are visible from space, the Garzweiler Surface Mine

I was looking at arial photos of north-western Europe in Google Maps when I noticed a big white dot on the map!

I thought, what the hell? To satisfy my curiosity I decided to zoom in for further investigation.

It turns out that the big white dot is a giant surface mine. The 48 km² mine is operated by RWE and used for mining lignite, also known as brown coal.

Fun fact: 50% of Greece’s power supply and 27% of Germany’s comes from burning lignite. Lignite also has innovative uses in farming and drilling.

Isn’t the geometric juxtaposition of farmland, urban area and surface mine quite enchanting? To get a sense of the scale, take a look at the size of cars next to the big heavy machine; then try to find the big heavy machine on the zoomed out image.

Here is a video that displays the grotesque beauty of the place…

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