Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia - January 1990
The highest coastal mountain range in the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is visible in this east-southeast-looking view. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta includes several climatic zones across a strip only 25 miles (40 km) from the sea. These zones include a tropical climate at the coast to a perpetual snow line above 16,000 feet (4880 meters) and a cold Alpine climate. The two highest peaks in the Santa Marta Range are Cristobal Colon Peak (named after Christopher Colombus) 19029 feet (5800 meters) and Simon Bolivar Peak (named after the famous South American liberator) 18947 feet (5775 meters). Small glacier fields at the top of the range cover an area of 6 sq. miles (16 sq. km). The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta serves as the source of 36 streams and rivers. To the west of the Santa Marta Range just to the right of the bottom center of the image, is a swamp-like feature, the Cienaga Grande. To the left of the Cienaga Grande swamps near the bottom center of the scene is the city of Santa Marta, the oldest city of European origin in South America.