Mountain Top Removal
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Mountain Top Removal

This repository contains SkyTruth's Mountaintop Removal (MTR) Mining related work. We are using Google's Earth Engine to identify active MTR mines on Landsat Satellite Imagery using a Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index (NDVI) threshold. To eliminate locations with NDVI reflectance values similar to mine sites a mask was created to block roads, rivers and streams, and urban areas from the analysis. Earth Engine is a cloud-based geospatial computing platform which we are utilizing to automate the process of mine identification.

This work is the continuation of SkyTruth's 2007 MTR mining project, which you can see on cartoDB or read about here, and relied upon a time-intensive manual classification of spectral imagery. By using Earth Engine we are able to automate the classification of active MTR sites.


  1. To produce a comprehensive map of MTR mining activity in Appalachia
  2. To effectively measure the burden of reclamation
  3. To infill gaps in the 2007 SkyTruth study, as well as update it with data from after 2005
  4. To create an automated method of classifying MTR mining activity, in such a manner that it will be easily updated in the future.


These apply until such a time as our research is published, at which point they shall be removed.

  1. Researcher(s) will not share these data outside of their lab until the results of are published


  1. Researcher(s) will not publish anything that makes use of, or references, these data until our paper is published.


This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.