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July 14, 2011
The high spine of the Pyrenees Mountains at the French and Spanish border is snow covered in this 70mm frame, photographed from the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The highest point of the Pyrenees is 3404 meters, though outside the area pictured. Snow-free foothills of the Pyrenees in Aquitaine (France) appear at the bottom (north is to the bottom of the view). According to geologists studying the STS-108 photo collection, the Pyrenees range began forming about 320 million years ago and was strongly uplifted again during early stages of Eurasian-African plate collision. Complex folded strata on the Spanish side (near Pamplona) appear as bends and waves in foothill rock across the top of the view. Tin, tungsten, talc, fluorite, barium and gold have been mined from the mountains, and petroleum is produced from the adjacent Aquitaine sedimentary basin.

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