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Lava, floods and fire: The most unforgettable satellite photos of 2018

From Russian war games to lava flows on Hawaii to raging fires in California, images gathered from high above Earth by satellites in 2018 delivered a unique perspective on humanity, geopolitics, and the forces of nature that have upended lives and landscape.


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Best photos of 2018

Here’s a look at eight of the most striking news images captured by satellite imagery company Digital Globe — and photos made by Associated Press photographers who were on the ground.

Back to Danang

In this Monday, March 5, 2018 file photo, people stand on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier as it docks in Danang bay, Vietnam.

In this Monday, March 5, 2018 file photo, people stand on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier as it docks in Danang bay, Vietnam.

AP Photo/Hau Dinh

In a message to China, the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked at Danang bay in Vietnam on March 5. In the first visit to a Vietnamese port by a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier since the Vietnam War, the Vinson and its crew of more than 6,000 sent a signal from the two countries to China, which has stepped up its challenges to U.S. supremacy in the region. From space, the message was clear in the dozens of fighter jets on deck.

This March 6, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows The USS Carl Vinson off the coast of Danang, Vietnam.

This March 6, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows The USS Carl Vinson off the coast of Danang, Vietnam.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

March for Our Lives

In this Saturday, March 24, 2018 file photo, members of the audience react as Edna Chavez of Manual Arts High, south of downtown Los Angeles, speaks during the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, in support of gun control.

In this Saturday, March 24, 2018 file photo, members of the audience react as Edna Chavez of Manual Arts High, south of downtown Los Angeles, speaks during the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, in support of gun control.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

When survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, called for action, hundreds of thousands marched in cities across America on March 24.


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March for Our Lives protests take place around the globe

The “March for Our Lives” rallies demonstrated a new level of activism for the majority of Americans who want stricter gun control laws. The satellites showed the scale of the activism in the biggest of the demonstrations at the nation’s capital.

This March 24, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows crowds at the “March for Our Lives” demonstration in Washington.

This March 24, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows crowds at the “March for Our Lives” demonstration in Washington.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

Lava and ash

In this Monday, May 21, 2018 file photo,m Doug Ralston plays golf in Volcano, Hawaii, as a huge ash plume rises from the summit of Kiluaea volcano.

In this Monday, May 21, 2018 file photo,m Doug Ralston plays golf in Volcano, Hawaii, as a huge ash plume rises from the summit of Kiluaea volcano.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii on May 3 wrecked more than 700 homes while captivating the world with its destructive force.


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Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano summit

Using infrared technology, a satellite captured the range of heat from a river of lava in vivid colors on May 13. At a safe distance from the eruption, life — even golf — went on in Hawaii.

This June 26, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows lava flows from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii

This June 26, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows lava flows from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

Kerala, India under water

In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2018 file photo, a bicycle is hung from a tree branch to avoid being washed away in flood waters as a man rows past with his dog in a boat at Kuttanad in Alappuzha in the southern state of Kerala, India.

In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2018 file photo, a bicycle is hung from a tree branch to avoid being washed away in flood waters as a man rows past with his dog in a boat at Kuttanad in Alappuzha in the southern state of Kerala, India.

AP Photo/Tibin Augustine

Storms in August battered the southern Indian state of Kerala. The flooding killed hundreds and left hundreds of thousands homeless.


READ MORE:
Why India is refusing foreign aid for flooded Kerala

A satellite image on Aug. 22 revealed how the landscape had been turned into a temporary lake, while AP journalists on the ground captured the human toll, including a man in a canoe with his dog and rowing past a tree from which a bicycle hung above the flood waters.

This Aug. 22, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows flooded fields and villages in Kerala, India.

This Aug. 22, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows flooded fields and villages in Kerala, India.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

Russia shows its might

In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 file photo, military helicopters fire weapons about 250 kilometres north of the city of Chita during the Vostok military exercises in Eastern Siberia, Russia.

In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 file photo, military helicopters fire weapons about 250 kilometres north of the city of Chita during the Vostok military exercises in Eastern Siberia, Russia.

AP Photo/Sergei Grits

In September, Russia put on its biggest show of force since the height of the Cold War.


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Russia hosts its biggest-ever war games, includes Chinese military

Russian officials said the military exercises in Siberia and the Far East, involved 300,000 Russian troops, 1,000 aircraft and 36,000 tanks. But for Western analysts the biggest message was the participation of Chinese troops in joint military exercises. Digital Globe satellites captured some of the drama as parachutes dropped military equipment on Sept. 15.

This Sept. 13, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows an airborne paradrop during the Vostok military exercises in the Eastern Siberia area of Russia.

This Sept. 13, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows an airborne paradrop during the Vostok military exercises in the Eastern Siberia area of Russia.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

North Carolina drowns under Hurricane Florence

In this Sept. 17, 2018 file photo, Bob Richling carries Iris Darden, 84, out of her flooded home as her daughter-in-law, Pam Darden, gathers her belongings in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Spring Lake, N.C.

In this Sept. 17, 2018 file photo, Bob Richling carries Iris Darden, 84, out of her flooded home as her daughter-in-law, Pam Darden, gathers her belongings in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Spring Lake, N.C.

AP Photo/David Goldman

In mid-September, Hurricane Florence dumped over 0.76 metres of rain in parts of eastern North Carolina.


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Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

More than a dozen people were killed in the storm and floods. The view from space reveals the inundation.

This Sept 20, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows roads, farms and homes flooded from Hurricane Florence, northeast of Wallace, N.C.

This Sept 20, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows roads, farms and homes flooded from Hurricane Florence, northeast of Wallace, N.C.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

A city swath, liquefied

In this Oct. 6, 2018 file photo, a soldier stands near a toppled mosque as recovery efforts continue at the earthquake-hit Balaroa neighborhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

In this Oct. 6, 2018 file photo, a soldier stands near a toppled mosque as recovery efforts continue at the earthquake-hit Balaroa neighborhood in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

A massive earthquake wiped out whole neighbourhoods of the Indonesian city of Palau on Sept. 28 when 4.3 square kilometres of land were liquefied into deadly mudslides.


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At least 420 dead after 7.5 magnitude earthquake sends tsunami sweeping through Indonesian island

It was clear from above how vast the destruction was and from the ground how complete.

This Oct. 1, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia after tsunami struck the area.

This Oct. 1, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia after tsunami struck the area.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

Paradise in flames

In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 file photo, a firefighter searches for human remains in a trailer park destroyed in the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. This town of 27,000 was destroyed in the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history.

In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 file photo, a firefighter searches for human remains in a trailer park destroyed in the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. This town of 27,000 was destroyed in the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history.

AP Photo/John Locher

The deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century sparked off in Northern California in November killing dozens and causing billions of dollars of damage.


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Paradise, California ‘destroyed’ by out-of-control Camp Fire

The satellites showed the complete destruction of the town of Paradise, CA, where 27,000 people had lived. An AP photo at ground-level showed the toll of the destruction.

This Nov. 9, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows fires consuming Paradise, Calif.

This Nov. 9, 2018 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows fires consuming Paradise, Calif.

DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP

 

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