This image is from the BBC Culture article Striking photos of human scars on Earth. It is accompanied by the text and captions below.
But I still don't understand what I'm looking at at all. Can someone recognize what's happening here? What are the phenomenon (artificial and natural) in play?
Burtynsky categorises himself as an environmentalist, and has dedicated his life to bearing witness to “the indelible marks left by humankind on the geological face of our planet”. In other words, the increasingly ambitious scars and blemishes created by industry and large-scale human habitation, such as the vividly coloured layers from an ancient sea floor exposed by tunnelling machines 350m beneath Berezniki in Russia.
Caption: "Uralkali Potash Mine #4, Berezniki, Russia, 2017 (Credit: Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers Gallery, London/Metivier Gallery, Toronto)" [Source].
Click for full size.
Update: I found another view of this in the BBC's video The photographer capturing mankind's impact on planet Earth
Edward Burtynsky travels the world trying to capture striking images of humanity's impact on the planet, from the fossil-like shapes left behind by drills in a Potash mine to the luminescent colours of lithium ponds.
The Canadian photographic artist has spent 40 years focusing on large-scale human activities such as mining, quarrying, agriculture and deforestation - but he says he doesn't see himself as an environmentalist.
His latest project, Anthropocene, is a collaboration with film-makers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, exploring the idea proposed by some scientists that a geological epoch shaped by human activity has begun.
It includes a travelling exhibition, a book and feature-length documentary, which was premiered last year in Canada and goes on theatrical release in the US next week.
Images: Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto. Video by Heather Sharp and Laura Foster