STS039-151-184 Los Angeles Basin, California, U.S.A. May 1991 The Los Angeles metropolitan area includes five counties and covers 34 000 square miles (88 060 square kilometers). Nearly 10 million people live and work in this dynamic region. Los Angeles is important economically because of shipping, industrial facilities, distribution centers, and financial institutions. Not many individual highways are clearly visible in this photograph; however, the alignment of some major thoroughfares can be observed by looking at the clustered light areas. These clustered, highly reflective areas show concentrations of industrial and commercial activities within the urban area. Several major physical features are seen in this photograph, including the Santa Monica Mountains (northwest), the San Gabriel Mountains (northeast), the Puente Hills (east), and the Santa Ana Mountains (southeast). Along the coast, Palos Verdes is a rolling, hilly promontory in the Pacific Ocean. Even on this scale, there is evidence that a large harbor and port exist in the San Pedro and Long Beach areas southeast of Palos Verdes. The three large lakes east-southeast of the heavily populated area are reservoirs. Also in the photograph is the resort island of Santa Catalina, which is approximately 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of the California coast. (Refer to STS-039-089-062 for a color infrared photograph that shows the same general area.)
This rare cloud and smog free view of Los Angeles, CA (34.0N, 118.5W) is a result of strong Santa Ana winds blowing from the east. Both cultural and natural features are well displayed and all of the major streets, highways and freeways can be traced in their entirety throughout the city as well as the major business and commercial sections. On the eastern edge of the scene, the San Andreas fault cuts across from southeast to northwest.