Return to Earth From Space Home
Earth from Space logo Image Information Earth from Space logo

Display a Screen Layout for Printing

IMAGE: gray corner       IMAGE: gray corner
  Image: Geographic Location Direction Photo #: ISS011-E-8410 Date: Jun. 2005
Geographic Region: USA-NEW MEXICO

Ordering information for space photography
IMAGE: gray corner     IMAGE: gray corner

Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner
  View Low-Resolution Image  
  Las Cruces, New Mexico

The city of Las Cruces is located within the Rio Grande Rift, a large geological feature that extends from Colorado southwards into Mexico. The Rio Grande Rift is marked by a series of depressions (known as graben) punctuated with uplifted mountains. The grabens form when blocks of the Earth's crust sink as geologic forces pull the crust apart along fault lines. Sinking in one place is often accompanied by uplift along boundaries of the grabens--the striking Organ Mountains to the east of Las Cruces are one such uplifted fault block.

Rifting--pulling apart--usually heralds the breakup of continental landmasses, such as the separation of South America and Africa to form the southern Atlantic Ocean during the Mesozoic Era. While separation of the continental crust is no longer occurring in the Rio Grande Rift, it is still considered active as evidenced by frequent low-intensity earthquakes and hot springs to the north of Las Cruces.

The human history of Las Cruces is no less interesting than its geologic setting. Evidence of human habitation of the area extends back more than 10,000 years. The 16th through 19th centuries saw numerous clashes between native peoples (Pueblo and Apache), Spanish settlers, and later Mexican revolutionaries. One such clash resulted in the original name of the city, La Placita de Las Cruces (Place of the Crosses), where survivors of the encounter erected crosses in honor of their fallen comrades. The location of the crosses became the frontier town site in 1849.

The modern city of Las Cruces-- the seat of Dona Ana County and home to New Mexico State University-- is undergoing rapid urban expansion due to influx of new residents attracted to the climate and landscape. The current urban area (gray to white region at image center) contrasts sharply with agricultural lands (dark green and grey brown) located along the Rio Grande River and the surrounding desert valley floor to the northeast and southwest (brown, blue gray, and tan areas).

Image: gray corner     Image: gray corner

Images: All Available Images Low-Resolution 281k
Mission: ISS011  
Roll - Frame: E - 8410
Geographical Name: USA-NEW MEXICO  
Center Lat x Lon: 32.5N x 106.5W
Film Exposure:   N=Normal exposure, U=Under exposed, O=Over exposed, F=out of Focus
Percentage of Cloud Cover-CLDP: 10
Camera: E4
Camera Tilt: 21   LO=Low Oblique, HO=High Oblique, NV=Near Vertical
Camera Focal Length: 180  
Nadir to Photo Center Direction: SW   The direction from the nadir to the center point, N=North, S=South, E=East, W=West
Stereo?:   Y=Yes there is an adjacent picture of the same area, N=No there isn't
Orbit Number: 1452  
Date: 20050609   YYYYMMDD
Time: 193928   GMT HHMMSS
Nadir Lat: 33.4N  
Latitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Nadir Lon: 105.7W  
Longitude of suborbital point of spacecraft
Sun Azimuth: 221   Clockwise angle in degrees from north to the sun measured at the nadir point
Space Craft Altitude: 187   nautical miles
Sun Elevation: 77   Angle in degrees between the horizon and the sun, measured at the nadir point
Water Views: OCEAN, RIVER  
Atmosphere Views:  
City Views: LAS CRUCES  
Photo is not associated with any sequences

Home Page
Home Page
JSC Digital
Image Collection
Earth Science &
Remote Sensing

NASA meatball logo
This service is provided by the International Space Station program and the JSC Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ARES Division, Exploration Integration Science Directorate.
ESRS logo