ISS014-E-6812

Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
1000 x 656 pixels 540 x 354 pixels 540 x 405 pixels 3032 x 2064 pixels 639 x 435 pixels
Cloud masks available for this image:

Spacecraft nadir point: 38.2° N, 4.7° W

Photo center point: 36.2° N, 5.4° W

Nadir to Photo Center: South

Spacecraft Altitude: 180 nautical miles (333km)
Click for Google map
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
1000 pixels 656 pixels No Yes Earth From Space collection Download Image
540 pixels 354 pixels Yes Yes Earth From Space collection Download Image
540 pixels 405 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
3032 pixels 2064 pixels No No Download Image
639 pixels 435 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Gibraltar Bay, Western Mediterranean Sea:

Gibraltar Bay, located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, is the central feature of this astronaut photograph. The famous Rock of Gibraltar that forms the northeastern border of the bay is formed of Jurassic-era seafloor sediments that solidified into limestone, a rock formed mostly of the mineral calcite, which is found in the shells of sea creatures. The limestone was subsequently lifted above the ocean surface when the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. The cities of La Linea and Algeciras bordering the bay, together with petroleum-processing facilities along the northern shoreline, are part of Spain, whereas the city of Gibraltar itself (to the west of and including the Rock) is under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.

The protected waters of Gibraltar Bay and its location close to Africa and the Strait of Gibraltar (the gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea), contribute to the region's past and current strategic and economic importance. Numerous ships and several ship wakes are visible within the bay; the majority of these are freighters and cargo tankers accessing the petroleum facilities. Ships nearer to the Rock of Gibraltar are more likely cruise ships, as Gibraltar is a popular destination for tourists. Partial sunglint (light reflected directly back to the camera onboard the International Space Station) within the bay highlights surface water roughened by winds funneled into the bay by the surrounding highlands. One such area is visible directly to the west of La Linea.