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USGS Water-Quality Information

USGS Water-Quality Data and Activities for the 2015 Gold King Mine Release


Satellite Imagery

Satellite imagery of the Gold King Mine area is available from the USGS. The imagery includes both pre- and post-event data. The pre-event imagery starts around June 1, 2015. The post-event imagery continues to be collected. All data are being made available on the USGS Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS). To register on the system and request access to the licensed imagery, use these instructions:


Satellite imagery includes the general area downstream from the Gold King Mine to the San Juan Arm of Lake Powell, indicated here in red. Image basemap credit: Google

  1. Go to:
  2. If you have not registered on either EarthExplorer or HDDS, please click the "register" button in the top right corner of the screen and go through the registration process. Once registered, you will have access to EarthExplorer and HDDS download capabilities.
  3. Once registered on HDDS, you will need to sign up for event access (201508_Spill_CO):
    • go to
    • go to the login button in the upper right corner of the screen
    • enter your usercode and password
    • click on "fill out an access request form"
    • select the event you require access for (201508_Spill_CO)
    • complete the justification box and submit

Please note: while it is possible to search for data on by event (201508_Spill_CO) without logging in, the search results only include up to 100 responsive items. To see the complete collection of publicly available data, users must register and log in.

The imagery focuses on the area around and downstream from the Gold King Mine, including:

  • the Animas River and tributaries (including the headwaters of Cement Creek) and
  • the San Juan River and its tributaries down to and including the San Juan Arm of Lake Powell.

Imagery below is being obtained from the following sources:

  • WorldView: 1-4 meter data from the DigitalGlobe WorldView satellites. These data are licensed for response use only. Please contact for more information.
  • GeoEye: 1-4 meter data from the DigitalGlobe GeoEye satellites. These data are licensed for response use only. Please contact for more information
  • ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer): High-resolution (15- to 90-meter) multispectral data from the Terra satellite
  • EO-1: 10- to 30-meter multispectral and hyperspectral data from the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) Extended Mission
  • GeoEye's OrbView-3 satellite
  • Landsat 8: 15- to 30- meter multispectral data from Landsat 8
  • Landsat 7: 15- to 30-meter multispectral data from Landsat 7

For a complete explanation of the data types, refer to the Earth Resources Observation Center's satellite imagery descriptions.

A news feedRSS of the imagery is available.

Please contact for more questions or additional data requests.

Examples of Imagery Available

Note: Click on a column header to sort the table by that column.

Date (mm/dd/yyyy) Source Link
pre-event Landsat 8
08/14/2015 ASTER
08/20/2015 Landsat 8
08/19/2015, 08/21/2015 Landsat 7
08/21/2015 ASTER
08/21/2015 ASTER
08/26/2015 EO-1
08/26/2015 EO-1
08/26/2015 EO-1
08/26/2015 Landsat 7
08/26/2015 Landsat 7
08/26/2015 Landsat 8
08/27/2015 Landsat 8


Disclaimer: Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.



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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 28-Dec-2016 18:55:14 EST