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STS079-835-068
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STS079-835-068

June 2, 2011
In this west-looking view, the snow-covered Southern Alps of central South Island, New Zealand can be seen. Running southwest to northeast along the western coast of South Island, the Southern Alps are rugged mountains made up of numerous peaks in excess of 9842 feet (3000 meters). Within the Southern Alps, there are over 3100 active glaciers. Evergreen woodlands dot the western coast and many glacial lakes are visible on the eastern slopes of the mountains. Just below the center of the image, the Canterbury Plain, the largest area of fertile, flat land in New Zealand, is visible. Braided rivers up to 16 miles (25 km) wide are discernible crossing the plain. The Banks Peninsula, formed following a violent eruption of two volcanoes, extends outward from the east coast into the Pacific Ocean. The peninsula is 35 miles (56 km) long and 25 miles (40 km) wide. The bright area off the west coast of the island is caused by sun glint off the waters of the Tasman Sea.