Under the rug (6) Large harbours

Rotterdam is well known as one of the largest harbours in the world. It is expanding over the North Sea with ever increasing jetties in a sandy coastline (read

Less known is the new Yangshan deepwater port area, south of Shanghai, on Xiaoyang island. Linked to the mainland by a system of bridges that reach that location more than 15 km into the sea, it has a large pier over 4 km long aimed at container traffic.

Again, images taken from

Under the rug (4) Huang He

The Yellow River, in northern China, has a quite active delta. These images have been obtained on , quite a treat if you like spatial imagery. You can compare images from 1999 on, and they are updated quite frequently, although they are low-res (30 m pixel). Google Earth has a higher definition in some areas, and is more agile in software terms, but this is a clearly precise time machine.

Usually satellites are configured to hoover over the same spot at fixed intervals (return intervals), at the same sun hour. But the same hour doesn’t mean the same tide position, so I’m not sure whether these images are taken at equal water levels; besides, chances are the satellite in 1999 was not still active in 2013. Anyway, there are substantial changes in that “receding rug”. Artificial ponds appear (salt flats?), on some areas the sea advances and in others it loses the battle (more often that)


Some 200 km west from Shanghai, I have not chosen this village due to direct knowledge (I have visited Shanghai, but for a very short stay), but rather as it seems to illustrate a trend which is global, only faster in China these days. An interesting network of traditional hamlets seem to progressively leave the place for residential subdivisions or other things that seem oddly far from any logical location. Can a feasible and modern agriculture exist, producing money enough not to lose in an irreversible way the landscape and the environment?