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Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record
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IdentificationMission: ISS037 Roll: E Frame: 22990 Mission ID on the Film or image: ISS037
Country or Geographic Name: USA-CALIFORNIA
Features: BORAX MINE, BORON, DESERT LAKE, SETTLING PONDS
Center Point: Latitude: 35.0 Longitude: -117.7 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Stereo: (Yes indicates there is an adjacent picture of the same area)
ONC Map ID: JNC Map ID:
CameraCamera Tilt: 26
Camera Focal Length: 1000mm
Camera: N4: Nikon D3X
Film: 6048E : 6048 x 4032 pixel CMOS sensor, 35.9mm x 24.0mm, total pixels: 25.72 million, Nikon FX format.
Percentage of Cloud Cover: 10 (0-10)
GMT Date: 20131030 (YYYYMMDD) GMT Time: 180627 (HHMMSS)
Nadir Point Latitude: 36.8, Longitude: -118.1 (Negative numbers indicate south for latitude and west for longitude)
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: South
Sun Azimuth: 153 (Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point)
Spacecraft Altitude: 223 nautical miles (413 km)
Sun Elevation Angle: 35 (Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point)
CaptionsRio Tinto Borax Mine, California
Note: This caption refers to the image versions labeled "NASA's Earth Observatory web site".
This detailed astronaut photograph from the International Space Station features the former US Borax mine located to the northwest of Boron, CA. The mine, currently owned by the Rio Tinto Group, is the largest open-pit mine in California (covering approximately 54 km2) and is among the largest borate mines in the world. Borates, chemical compounds that include the element boron (B), are important both as providers of an essential plant micronutrient; for metallurgical applications; and as components of specialized types of glass, anticorrosive coatings, fire retardants, and detergents (among other uses).
Borate minerals such as borax, kernite, and ulexite are found in deposits at the Rio Tinto borax mine. The geologic setting is a structural, nonmarine basin – a permanent shallow lake – fed by thermal springs rich in sodium and boron that existed approximately 16 million years ago. The first mining claim in the area was filed in 1913, following discovery of boron-bearing nodules during well drilling. Much of the mine workings were underground until 1957, when US Borax changed to open-pit mining.
The open pit is clearly visible at image center; concentric benches along the pit wall are accentuated by shadows and mark successive levels of material extraction. Mine tailings are visible as stacked terraces along the northern boundary of the mine. Ore processing facilities occupy a relatively small percentage of the mine area, and are located directly to the west of the open pit. The Rio Tinto mine is one of the Earth’s richest borate deposits; together with mines in Argentina, they produce almost 40 percent of the world’s supply of industrial borate minerals.
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Recommended Citation: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." .