The two major industries in and around Hobbs, New Mexico, are aptly depicted in this scene. Thousands of oil wells (silver) dot the left half of this scene while numerous agricultural plots (light brown, orange, green) cover the right half. The town of Hobbs (population 30,000) is visible in the upper center part of the photograph. Hobbs, one of the last great oil-boom towns in the United States, exhibits a landscape typical of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas. The high concentration of oil wells here account for more than 80 years of extraction from a deep oil-producing reservoir. Agriculture is visible as a series of square plots and circular plots within square plots. The circular pattern on each field is due to a center pivot irrigation system in which a fixed point in the center of the field pumps water to a long mechanical arm that pivots 360°. Agriculture in the semiarid region around Hobbs is mostly confined to cotton and grains. The two V-shaped features near Hobbs (top center) are airports.
October–November 1988, image STS-61A-41-79.