STS056-077-037 Tularosa Valley, New Mexico, U.S.A. April 1993
A large section of the Tularosa Valley, sandwiched between the north-south-trending San Andres Mountains to the west and the heavily forested Sacramento and Sierra Blanca Mountains to the east, is featured in this northwest-looking, low-oblique photograph of south-central New Mexico. Visible in the valley are White Sands National Monument, the highly reflective gypsum desert; a black, ribbonlike youthful lava flow, which originated from a small volcanic center (Little Black Peak) at the north end of the flow that erupted fewer than 1000 years ago; and snowcapped Sierra Blanca Peak [12 003 feet (3659 meters)]. Visible is a drainage basin created by the Hondo River as it erodes the eastern slopes of the Sacramento Mountains and the southern slopes of the east-west-oriented Capitan Mountains (lower right edge of the photograph). A small section of the Rio Grande is apparent (upper left corner), and an older lava flow is barely discernible to its east.
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