STS070-715-100

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Image Caption: STS070-715-100 Grand Salt Flats, Argentina July 1995
The two large whitish-tan features in this low-oblique photograph are salt flats (salt lakes) approximately 100 miles (170 kilometers) north-northwest of Córdoba, Argentina. Salinas de Ambargasto, the northern salt flat, and Salinas Grande, the southern flat, are collectively called the Salinas Grandes. Most often these salt flats are found in semiarid regions within a series of elongated basins and generally north-south trending mountain ranges that have broad depressions. The flats often occur at the low points of valleys that have no exterior drainage. Despite the lack of abundant rainfall--approximately 12 inches (30 centimeters) annually--large cultivated grain fields are observed east and west of the salt flats. Thin lines delineate roads and railroad rights-of-way, and smaller, lighter areas along transportation arteries are towns and villages.