Looking more like an alien landscape than an Earthly landscape, the Morenci open-pit copper mine in southeast Arizona is North America’s leading producer of copper.
In the 1860s, prospectors arrived looking for gold; instead they found copper. Underground mining began in the 1870s, and the first pit was opened in 1939. Phelps Dodge employs over 200 people in the mining and refining operations. Around-the-clock removal of 700,000 tons of rock per day results in production of 382,000 tons of copper per year.
This ASTER image uses shortwavelength infrared bands to highlight in bright pink the altered rocks in the Morenci pit associated with copper mineralization.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team