North Dakota’s Bakken oil boom in one image

The drilling boom in the Bakken oil fields is remaking the landscape of western North Dakota. If you need more convincing, take a look at this image from space.


It’s a composite of satellite pictures taken in 1992, 2000 and 2010 that show a big, red blob over the Bakken. The SkyTruth blog posted the image, writing:

1992 is shown in blue, 2000 in green, and 2010 in red.

Places that had lots of light in all three years show up bright white (equal amounts of blue, green and red) — that basically shows established cities and towns that haven’t changed much over that time period.

But whoa, check out that big patch of red in the northwest corner of North Dakota. That indicates an area of bright lights in 2010 that was dark in 2000 and 1992.

Back in November, Midwest Energy News did a great job identifying the bright lights of the Bakken from some Space Station video.


The 20-year time lapsed image, though, helps us understand how dramatically things have changed in western North Dakota. Expect the red blob to grow until the oil runs out.

— Paul Tosto

  • Tim Agen

    Wow. It’s like a real life infographic*. Very cool.