See time-lapse animated GIFs of environmental changes over 28 years

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Courtesy of Google Earth
The Saudi Arabian desert in 2012

Using annual photos from space, Google has compiled animated images that provide an overhead look at some major environmental changes over 28 years.

The animated, time-lapse images show coal mining in Wyoming as it happens. Roads can be seen advancing into the countryside. Even more noticeable, images from the Amazon rainforest illustrate massive deforestation, and photos above Saudi Arabia show a vast desert in 1984 converted into an irrigated farmland by 2012.

Google took the images from the Landsat satellite, which is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey and has been taking photos of Earth since 1972.

See the images via Google.