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Spacecraft nadir point: 46.9° N, 105.9° W

Photo center point: 46.0° N, 107.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: Southwest

Spacecraft Altitude: 169 nautical miles (313km)
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Image Caption: STS047-094-035 Colstrip, Montana, U.S.A. September 1992
Mining operations in Colstrip are featured in this south-looking, low-oblique photograph. Rosebud Creek lies east of the strip mining operations where subbituminous coal is produced. Strip mining for coal, which flourished here during the 1920s, faded because of competition from cheap oil and natural gas. With new laws for land reclamation increasing the demand for power and diminishing reserves of oil and gas, a revival of strip mining occurred during the late 1960s. Highly developed Montana laws and state-of-the-art mine reclamation procedures make recently worked sites visible only to a trained eye; however, landscapes devastated by early strip mining operations remain scattered throughout Montana and other states.