Dhaulagiri, seventh-highest peak in the world (26,794 ft/8167 m), dominates the skyline in this image taken by the Expedition 1 crew from the International Space Station using a high-magnification lens. Although it looks like a view from a high-altitude airplane, the photograph was taken out of the window of the Space Station from an orbital altitude of 200 nautical miles (370 km). The view is southeastward across the southern Tibetan Plateau of China, to the Dhaulagiri Range of the Himalayas in central Nepal. The upper reaches of the more than 1,500-mile-long Brahmaputra River, which enters the Indian Ocean near Calcutta, are within the broad, high (about 17,000 ft) valley in the foreground. Uplift of the Himalayas continues today, at a rate of several millimeters per year, in response to the continuing collision of India with Eurasia that began about 70 million years ago.
The region is home to hundreds of species of rare plants and animals, including the snow leopard and blue or Tibetan sheep. Dhaulagiri is a significant destination for trekkers and climbers the clear, dry days of autumn bring about half the yearly total of visitors. Expedition support, tourism, and agriculture employ much of the populace.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.