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Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

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File NameFile Size (bytes)WidthHeightAnnotatedCroppedPurposeComments
View ISS030-E-30265.JPG 69936640425 No No
View ISS030-E-30265.JPG 249210540372 Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS030-E-30265.JPG 8143841000688 No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site
View ISS030-E-30265.JPG 125693642882848 No No

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Mission: ISS030 Roll: E Frame: 30265 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS030
Country or Geographic Name: ARGENTINA
Center Point: Latitude: -36.5 Longitude: -69.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)


Camera Tilt: High Oblique
Camera Focal Length: 70mm
Camera: N2: Nikon D2Xs
Film: 4288E : 4288 x 2848 pixel CMOS sensor, RGBG imager color filter.


Film Exposure:
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)


GMT Date: 20111231 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 115922 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: -41.4, Longitude: -75.0 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)

Nadir to Photo Center Direction: Northeast
Sun Azimuth: 99 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 211 nautical miles (391 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 25 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
Orbit Number:


Note: This caption refers to the image versions labeled "NASA's Earth Observatory web site".

The Payśn Matru (3680 m asl) and Payśn Liso (3715 meters asl) stratovolcanoes are the highest points of the Payśn Matru Volcanic Field located in west-central Argentina, approximately 140 kilometers to the east of the Andes mountain chain. This astronaut photograph from the International Space Station illustrates some of the striking geological features of the field visible from space. The summit of Payśn Matru is dominated by a roughly 15 kilometer in diameter caldera (image center), formed by an explosive eruption sometime after approximately 168,000 years ago.

Several dark lava flows, erupted from smaller vents and fissures, are visible in the northwestern part of the volcanic field. One distinct flow, erupted from Volcan Santa Marķa located to the northwest of Payśn Matru, is approximately 15 kilometers long. A number of small cinder cones, appearing as brown dots due to the short lens used, are built on older lava flows (grey) to the northeast of Payśn Matru. While there is no recorded historical observation of the most recent volcanic activity in the field, oral histories suggest that activity was witnessed by indigenous peoples.

Most Andean volcanoes—and earthquakes—follow the trend of the greater Andes chain of mountains, and are aligned roughly N-S above the tectonic boundary between the subducting (descending) Nazca Plate and the overriding South American Plate as is predicted from plate tectonic theory. Other major volcanic centers located some distance away from the major trend typically result from more complex geological processes associated with the subduction zone, and can provide additional insight into the subduction process.

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