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Where is the Rio Tinto river in Spain?

The Río Tinto (red river) is a river in southwestern Spain that originates in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andalusia. It flows generally south-southwest, r... The Río Tinto (red river) is a river in southwestern Spain that originates in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andalusia.

What color is the Rio Tinto?

For tens of kilometers in southwestern Spain, the Rio Tinto runs a remarkable shade of red. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of one colorful section of the river on February 2, 2020.

Why is the Rio Tinto river so acidic?

The Rio Tinto, which means “stained river” in Spanish, flows through an area unusually rich with sulfide ore deposits, which formed hundreds of millions of years ago when volcanoes were active in the area. When the metals in these buried deposits are exposed to water and oxygen, they produce acidic runoff that flows into streams and rivers.

Why study the Rio Tinto region?

Astrobiologists have a keen interest in the Rio Tinto and its surrounding area because the region’s soils have similarities to those on Mars. Notably, the iron- and potassium-rich sulfate mineral jarosite is common around the river and on the Red Planet.


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