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Photo-iss012e11144
International Space Station Imagery
Sierra Nevada, Spain
high res (1.6 M) low res (116 K)
ISS012-E-11144 (11 Dec. 2005) --- Sierra Nevada, Spain is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 12 crew member on the International Space Station. According to scientists, the Sierra Nevada, part of the Betic Cordillera of southern Spain, was formed during the Alpine Orogeny (or mountain-building event) that also formed the European Alps to the east and the Atlas Mountains of northern Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Sierra as observed today formed during the Tertiary Period (65 to 1.8 million years ago) during collision of the African and Eurasian continental plates. The former Tethys Sea also closed during this time period, the scientists say, and the Mediterranean Sea is the largest surviving remnant basin of the ancient Tethys. The Sierra Nevada in the Granada province of Spain is perhaps the southernmost skiing location in all of Europe. Veleta Peak, at an elevation of 3,398 meters above sea level, is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. The rapid transition from lofty ski runs to Mediterranean beaches within a few hours’ drive has made the Sierra Nevada region popular for both outdoor and urban tourism. This photograph depicts the Veleta Peak region of the range and illustrates the sharp contrast between the snow capped mountains, adjacent dry lowlands to the west and north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 10/30/2012
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