Image of the Month - January
Fire and Sandstone
Fire and Sandstone, Central Highlands, Queensland
A fire burning in Central Queensland is captured by this Landsat image from early December 2012. The main fire can be seen in the upper central part of the image, while smaller fires are visible towards the right edge of the image. Smoke spreads to the south from the main fire, while haze from other distant fires can be seen as a blue tinge in the top centre of the image. The darker area to the south of the main fire front is an area of burned vegetation known as a fire scar. Scientists analyse satellite imagery across Queensland to detect these dark areas and map fire scars.
The spectral bands used in this false-colour image were selected to highlight the fire activity – 7 (mid infrared), 4 (infrared) and 1 (visible blue). The mid infrared band is useful for highlighting relatively hot areas, including active fires. The visible blue band is useful for identifying smoke haze and shows that the wind is blowing towards the south.
As well as the fire, this image shows a number of features of this rugged landscape approximately 60km north-west of Injune. On the left side of the image, the Dawson River can be seen as a snaking white line as it cuts through the thick Precipice Sandstone. This sandstone in Expedition National Park is the same rock formation found in the high white cliffs of nearby Carnarvon Gorge. A more easily eroded rock formation is present in the lower right part of the image, where the river flows through a broader valley. In the lower left part of the image, there are several small, bright rectangular areas connected by a network of tracks in Beilba State Forest. These characteristic clearings are for coal seam gas wells.
This Landsat 7 image from 2 December 2012 was supplied by the United States Geological Survey and processed by the Queensland Government Remote Sensing Centre. The Centre maps the bushfire history of Queensland using Landsat satellite imagery. Scientists and fire practitioners use fire scar mapping to help assess the likely pattern of future bushfires.
Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (2011) Expedition National Park http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/expedition/index.html
Willmott, W. (2006) ‘Rocks and Landscapes of the National Parks of Central Queensland’ Geological Society of Australia, Queensland Division: Brisbane
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Last updated 9 January 2013