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Site Philosophy

The Earth Science World Image Bank is a community service provided by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI). The Image Bank is designed to provide quality geoscience images to the public, educators, and the geoscience community. Most imagery is available online at a higher-resolution suitable for on-screen display. We invite you to browse the Image Bank and use the images contributed by leading geoscientists and photographers for use in your non-commerical efforts, such as educational slideshows or in personal materials.

All images available to the public have been indexed using the standards of GeoRef, AGI's premier bibliographic information system. Though we have many thousands of images in the system, only those we have fully cataloged are available online to the public. Please check back often as we are rapidly increasing the number of indexed images every day!

Credit Lines

Copyright notice by the Author of the image shall be given on all uses of Image Bank images. If an author is not given, but an organization or agency is credited for the photo, copyright shall be given to the organization. Additionally, we ask that you please credit: Image courtesy Earth Science World Image Bank - An example of a credit line would be: Image Courtesy United States Geological Survey; Image source: Earth Science World Image Bank

Please note: If a photographer's name is listed above the credit line on the web site, please be sure to include his or her name along with the credit line. For example, for image ID h0x8st: the credit line should include both Lyn Topinka and Courtesy USGS Cascade Volcano Observatory. This text should be followed by a reference to the Earth Science World Image Bank.

Non-Commerical Use

AGI has arranged with the contributing photographers to allow their images to be used for non-commercial purposes, including personal and educational uses. By definition, non-commercial uses refer to any use that does not generate income or is not used to promote the generation of income. This usage includes:

  • Educational or research use
  • Personal use either digitally or printed, including computer screensavers and wallpaper
  • Personal posters or personal prints
  • Use in a presentation (digital or print)
  • Use in publications that are not sold, and are distributed to a limited audience (less that 2,000 copies per publication)
  • Use on a personal/educational website that does not charge for access, is not password secured, and does not use advertising
  • Use in software that has a limited distribution, is educational in nature, and not profit-generating

Most of the images are available at a higher resolution on the website, and are perfect for slide shows and most typical non-commercial uses via the website. In all cases, the Image Bank will provide to you the highest resolution non-commercial image allowed.

E-Mail Photo Option

If you would like to have a photo e-mailed to your address, simply click on the image thumbnail (for medium sized photos) or on the 'Large' link under the thumbnail (for larger sized photos) and fill out the information under the image. Within a few minutes a medium or large sized image will be sent to you along with the image information.

Photo Quality Images

If you need a very high resolution image (higher than available on-line), you can click on the 'Photo Quality' link under the image to find out if photo quality copies of the image are available for non-commercial and/or commercial purposes. If the photo is available, instructions are provided for you. If you have any questions e-mail us for more information. Please note that all Photo Quality Images have a fee associated with them, as each order is processed on an individual basis. As of January, 2005, we require all fees to be pre-paid in order to process requests.

Commercial Use

Many images in the ESWIB are available for commercial applications with a nominal fee for one-time use. AGI works with photographers on a case-by-case basis to establish appropriate permissions for use and any fees that may be charged. AGI now offers an online process for ordering commercial-use photo quality images. If an image has the link 'Available for Commercial Use' under the image, it is available for commercial use. If this link does not appear, the image is not available for commercial uses. Users can find out details by simply clicking on the link under the image, which will generate an e-mail in which you should describe how you would like to use the image in commercial applications. You will receive a response within 24 business hours detailing pricing for the image following your request. *Pre-payment is now required for distribution of images, so please plan accordingly!*

By definition, commercial uses pertain to any use that is connected with or engaged in commerce or commercial enterprises. This includes all uses not explicitly listed as non-commercial, including:

  • Works that are intended for a mass audience or market
  • Works having profit as a cheif aim
  • Works sponsored by an advertiser or supported by advertising
  • For-profit publications (published or electronic) *This includes textbooks, trade-books, reference books, supplemental course readers, and curriculum materials for K-12 and universities
  • Motion pictures, commercial television and video productions
  • Paid or requested magazines
  • Printed or televised advertisements
  • Large-format art books and facsimile editions printed primarily in full color and for international distribution
  • Any works published in press runs of more than 2,000 copies
  • Calendars, posters, museum reproductions, postcards, and note cards
  • Websites that generate revenue and/or advertise products or services
  • Any other items made available to a relatively wide audience

Commercial vendors are required to submit a description of the intended use of the image(s), along with the ID number of the image(s), to the contact address given with the photo for verification of appropriate use.

Commercial Accounts

Pre-payment of images for commercial purposes is now required. If you would like to set up an account with the Image Bank to pay for images, please read our letter explaining this option here, and download the set-up form here (both open with Adobe Acrobat).

Model Permissions

If a recognizable person appears in an image, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity and permission shall be separately obtained from the recognizable person by the photographer. AGI does not provide a model release for this purpose, so it is the job of the photographer to obtain a model permission if a commercial request is received.

Hard Copy Services

The American Geosciences Institute is also adding the ability to provide hard copy output of images on the Image Bank for a nominal fee. Both regular photo-sized as well as oversized prints will be available. If you have immediate needs, please email us and we will be happy to arrange an output for you.

Allowed Photo Manipulations:

  • Enlarging or reducing an image size
  • Straight-line cropping
  • Lightening or darkening an image
  • Lightening or darkening an area of an image
  • Adjusting contrast or color to accomodate technologies and mediums

Not Allowed Photo Manipulations:

  • All activities not explicitly allowed, including
  • Transferring information from one photo to another
  • Transferring information from one part of a photo to another part of the photo
  • Adding elements to the photograph

So welcome to the Earth Science World Image Bank! If you are at all uncertain about a certain photo and its use, please contact us so that we can assist you. We only ask that you follow some basic usage guidelines to ensure the materials are used safely and legally, without harm to AGI or contributors of this database. Please read through the following agreement, and if you have any questions e-mail us.

Site Usage Agreement


This agreement applies to you, and if you are using this website on your employer's behalf, to you and your employer. AGI reserves the right to change this Agreement from time to time at its sole discretion, and your use of the site will be subject to the most current version posted on the site at the time of your use. If you do not wish to be bound by this Image Agreement - do not accept this Image Agreement and do not use this ESWIB site or download or use any images we have here. Your acceptance of these terms is an absolute condition of your use of this product.


This site is owned and operated by the American Geosciences Institute. All Images and related informational materials in any medium furnished by AGI hereunder, including related text, captions, or information (collectively referred to as "Images") are owned by AGI or our Image providers. All Images are protected by US and International copyright laws. Without limitation, Images may not be used as a trademark or service mark, or for any pornographic use, unlawful purpose or use, or to defame any person, or to violate any person's right of privacy or publicity, or to infringe upon any copyright, trade name, trademark, or service mark of any person/entity. You may not transfer Image rights, decompile or dissemble any parts of the Images, remove the trademark or copyright from any place it appears in the Image or accompanying text, display the Image in a resolution greater than 1024x1024 pixels, re-sell the Images, sub-license the Images, or re-distribute the Images in any way. Unauthorized use of these Images constitutes copyright infringement and shall entitle AGI or the Photographer to exercise all rights and remedies under applicable copyright law, including an injunction preventing further use and monetary damages against all users and beneficiaries of the use of such Images. Photographers who have submitted images to ESWIB acknowledge that the photos displayed here are acceptable for use in non-commercial venues. Some Images are available at a higher-resolution free of charge for non-commercial purposes, as well. Click on the 'Large' link for the Image you are interested in for this possible usage. Commercial usage rights vary depending on the photographer's wishes. If you would like more information regarding a particular Image for use in a commercial (for profit) manner contact for specific details.


AGI may immediately terminate all licenses granted to you without notice if you fail to comply with any provision of this agreement or with AGI's Terms and Conditions which apply to your use. If a license is terminated, you agree to immediately (i) stop using this site and the Images, (ii) delete all Images and all copies from all magnetic and optical media and destroy all other copies, or at AGI's request return all such copies to AGI. Your use of this site and any Images shall comply with all applicable law. AGI may restrict or remove your access to this site at any time, or restrict or remove the use of any Image for any reason, and may replace the Image with another Image, and you agree to immediately discontinue all use of the Image upon notification from AGI.


The rights AGI grants to you do not include a license to any persons, places, property, or subject matter depicted in an Image, which may be subject to copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity, moral rights, property rights or other rights belonging to third persons. You shall assume that no model or property releases, or other releases or licenses exist in connection with any of the Images, unless specifically stated in a separate writing by AGI or the Photographer. AGI makes no representations or warranties that it owns or licenses any rights nor does AGI grant you any rights including copyright, trademarks, or rights of publicity belonging to any person, place, property, or subject matter depicted in any Image. Further, AGI makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of any information provided with the Images. You are solely responsible for determining whether your use of any Image requires the consent of any third party or the license of any additional rights, and you should not rely solely on the information provided by AGI. If you are unsure whether additional rights are needed for your use, you are responsible for consulting with competent legal counsel. You acknowledge that you have read this Agreement and understand it, and agree to be bound by all its terms and conditions. This document constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and merges all prior and contemporaneous communications.

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