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Earth from Space

Toquepala Copper Mine, Peru

IMAGE: Toquepala copper mine, Peru

High-resolution image (1.2 Mb)

The rugged, mineral-rich Andes Mountains support some of the world's biggest mines -- gold, silver, copper and more. This image looks down the bull's-eye of Peru's Toquepala copper mine, a steep-sided and stepped open-pit mine. Mid-afternoon sunlight of the arid slopes of the central Andes Mountains provides an accent to the mine contours. At the surface, the open pit is 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) across and it descends more than 3,000 meters (2 miles) into the Earth. A dark line on the wall of the pit is the main access road to the bottom. Spoil dumps of material mined from the pit are arranged in tiers along the northwest lip of the pit. Numerous angular leaching fields appear lower right, and the railroad to the coast is a line that exits the image center left. The railroad was built to export Toquepala's copper and connects the coastal port of Ilo, 95 kilometers (59 miles) to the southwest.

Astronaut photograph ISS007-E-15222 was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty

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