Andes Mountains and Salinas Grandes Salt Desert – May 26th, 200929.9S 64.7W
The Andes are the world’s longest exposed mountain range. They lie as a continuous chain of highland along the western coast of South America.
Here, a portion of the Andes in Chile (left) and Argentina (right) can be observed. This area is part of the South Volcanic Zone, a volcanic arc that is one of the four volcanic zones of the Andes.
The South Volcanic Zone extends roughly from Central Chile’s Andes at the latitude of Santiago to Mount Hudson in Aysén Region, a distance of well over 870 mi (1,400 km). The arc has formed due to subduction of Nazca Plate under the South American Plate along the Peru-Chile Trench.
An interesting feature visible here is the Salinas Grandes, a salt desert in the Córdoba and Santiago del Estero provinces of the Sierras de Córdoba in Argentina. It covers an area of 3,200 mi² (8,290 km²), identifiable here as a large white patch on the right side of the image. The Salinas Grandes are of industrial importance for their sodium and potassium mines.