STS108-711-25
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Spacecraft nadir point: 25.6° N, 10.1° W

Photo center point: 29.0° N, 9.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: North

Spacecraft Altitude: 207 nautical miles (383km)
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Image Caption: The Anti-Atlas Mountains of northern Africa and the nearby Atlas mountains were created by the prolonged collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, beginning about 80 million years ago. Massive sandstone and limestone layers have been crumpled and uplifted more than 4,000 meters in the High Atlas and to lower elevations in the Anti-Atlas. Between more continuous major fold structures, such as the Jbel Ouarkziz in the southwestern Anti-Atlas, tighter secondary folds (arrow) have developed.

Earlier, the supercontinent of Pangea rifted apart to form precursors to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean (Beauchamp and others, 1996). In those seas sands, clays, limey sediments, and evaporite layers (gypsum, rock salt) were deposited. Later, during the mountain-building plate collision, the gypsum layers flowed under the pressure and provided a slippery surface on which overlying rigid rocks could glide (Burkhard, 2001). The broad, open style of folds seen in this view is common where evaporites are involved in the deformation. Other examples can be found in the Southern Zagros of Iran and the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico.