Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

For some, coal mining conjures images of quaint Appalachian towns. In parts of Germany, where some of the world's largest open-pit coal mines exist, the resemblance is more of an apocalyptic wasteland.

Photographer Bernhard Lang's stunning overhead documentation of the Hambach Mine depicts the massive scale of the mining operation. The pit is 961 feet below sea level at its deepest point, producing about 40 million tons of lignite coal per year. The machines you see, some of the world's largest excavators, are an intimidating presence scattered across the flattened earth. It's a stark reminder of the extent to which humans can dominate the environment to fulfill our boundless need for energy.

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Aerial Photos of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime and Terrifying

Lang is no stranger to seeing the land from above. He has spent years drifting through the skies in ultralight aircraft, photographing scenes from parking lots to soccer pitches. The coal mines of Germany present a different kind of subject, with the beautiful patterns and colors confronting the environmental impact of what is taking place. [Behance]