A place for my geography-geek side to let loose.

My regular page is: solipsismnow.tumblr.com

 

ucresearch:

The blood falls of Antarctica

In some remote regions of the antarctic there are glaciers that appear to be bleeding.  This makes for a stunning visual on the bright white snow, but what is going on here?  

The falls are actually the product of a subglacial lake that is seeping out from a rupture in the glacier.  The red color comes from the microbes living in the dark cold lake that use iron to produce energy (think rust).  Scientists think that this population of organisms have been able to evolve separately from the rest of the world for over 1.5 million years.

UC Santa Cruz glaciologist Slawek Tulaczyk studies these types of environments and says they’re great for theorizing life on other planets:

A place like this would be as close of an analog as we can find on this planet for subpermafrost life habitats on Mars.

Tulaczyk and his team drill into Antarctic ice in the hopes of finding these types of ecosystems deep below the surface.  

Read more about Blood Falls here

earthstory:

SUNGLINTThe “wine-dark sea” of Homer’s Aegean can only be understood by those who have immersed themselves in its rich translucence in the dark of night – a translucence like that of fine wine. Certainly in this wondrous photo by NASA, the sea is not “wine-dark” but seems a mix of colors of azure to blue to pearly turquoise. These colors are caused by a process of reflection given the name “sunglint.” Sunglint is created when sunlight reflects off the sea at the same angle that a satellite sensor (or astronaut’s eyes) views it. Because the sea is not a flat surface, but covered by minor waves, crossed by flowing currents, swirled by a mix of upwelling waters, its reflection is not seen as a uniform color to the viewing satellite or astronaut. Sunglint is the sea viewed as an irregular mirror surface, the reflection creating ghostly hues. For scientists, these reflections reveal details of atmospheric circulation and what is, in this photo, atmospheric gravity waves downwind (south in this view) of the Aegean Islands. The large light-areas swirling in the region south of Crete’s high Psiloritis Mountains (reaching 2,456 m) are caused by the irregular flow of wind over the irregular topography, roughening and smoothing the sea surface leeward of the island. Sunglint can obscure other scientific phenomena like areas of phytoplankton and sediment load. But it can also help spot oil floating on the sea surface as the oily film smoothes the reflection locally, and dulls the Sunglint. Now what, one wonders, would this reflection look like if a thin film floating on the sea’s surface was some of Homer’s wine, not oil?Annie RPhoto from NASA Earth Observatory:http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84333&src=fbSpeculations on the Wine-Dark Sea from:http://www.nytimes.com/1983/12/20/science/homer-s-sea-wine-dark.htmlAnd Psiloritis: http://www.psiloritis-natural-park.gr/Home/2/1.html

earthstory:

SUNGLINT

The “wine-dark sea” of Homer’s Aegean can only be understood by those who have immersed themselves in its rich translucence in the dark of night – a translucence like that of fine wine. Certainly in this wondrous photo by NASA, the sea is not “wine-dark” but seems a mix of colors of azure to blue to pearly turquoise. These colors are caused by a process of reflection given the name “sunglint.” 

Sunglint is created when sunlight reflects off the sea at the same angle that a satellite sensor (or astronaut’s eyes) views it. Because the sea is not a flat surface, but covered by minor waves, crossed by flowing currents, swirled by a mix of upwelling waters, its reflection is not seen as a uniform color to the viewing satellite or astronaut. Sunglint is the sea viewed as an irregular mirror surface, the reflection creating ghostly hues. 

For scientists, these reflections reveal details of atmospheric circulation and what is, in this photo, atmospheric gravity waves downwind (south in this view) of the Aegean Islands. The large light-areas swirling in the region south of Crete’s high Psiloritis Mountains (reaching 2,456 m) are caused by the irregular flow of wind over the irregular topography, roughening and smoothing the sea surface leeward of the island. Sunglint can obscure other scientific phenomena like areas of phytoplankton and sediment load. But it can also help spot oil floating on the sea surface as the oily film smoothes the reflection locally, and dulls the Sunglint. 

Now what, one wonders, would this reflection look like if a thin film floating on the sea’s surface was some of Homer’s wine, not oil?

Annie R

Photo from NASA Earth Observatory:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84333&src=fb
Speculations on the Wine-Dark Sea from:http://www.nytimes.com/1983/12/20/science/homer-s-sea-wine-dark.html
And Psiloritis: http://www.psiloritis-natural-park.gr/Home/2/1.html

maptacular:

Demand for agricultural products drives ‘shock’ tree loss in tropical forests
“Around five football fields of tropical forest have been illegally cleared every minute between 2000 and 2012 according to a new report.
The authors say that consumer demand in Europe and the US for beef, leather and timber is driving these losses.
The vast majority of this illegal deforestation for commercial agriculture took place in Brazil and Indonesia.”
Via BBC News

maptacular:

Demand for agricultural products drives ‘shock’ tree loss in tropical forests

Around five football fields of tropical forest have been illegally cleared every minute between 2000 and 2012 according to a new report.

The authors say that consumer demand in Europe and the US for beef, leather and timber is driving these losses.

The vast majority of this illegal deforestation for commercial agriculture took place in Brazil and Indonesia.”

Via BBC News

earthstory:

Migrating lava stream in IcelandThis is the result of the ongoing eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in Iceland as seen from space.At the lower left of the red streak, a fissure has been spouting a constant stream of lava for over a week now. That lava has been migrating downslope as a river, forming the long lens of glowing rock that you see in this image.By some estimates, the amount of lava already erupted from this fissure is greater than that seen in any Icelandic eruption in more than a century. It still, of course, pales in comparison to the largest historic eruption, that at Laki in 1783.The cloud you see emanating from the fissure is made up of gases that were dissolved in the lava and released as it reached the surface. Those gases include things like water and typically a small amount of carbon dioxide and sulfur-based compounds. The plume from this eruption has mostly remained offshore so far, hanging out to the North of most of the European landmass, so its impacts have been limited, but volcanic emissions even at low concentrations can make breathing conditions difficult for people even far downwind.The glowing lava channel is captured here by the Landsat 8 spacecraft, which is capable of measuring infrared light like that given off by glowing lava.-JBBImage credit: NASA/USGShttp://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=84316

earthstory:

Migrating lava stream in Iceland

This is the result of the ongoing eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in Iceland as seen from space.

At the lower left of the red streak, a fissure has been spouting a constant stream of lava for over a week now. That lava has been migrating downslope as a river, forming the long lens of glowing rock that you see in this image.

By some estimates, the amount of lava already erupted from this fissure is greater than that seen in any Icelandic eruption in more than a century. It still, of course, pales in comparison to the largest historic eruption, that at Laki in 1783.

The cloud you see emanating from the fissure is made up of gases that were dissolved in the lava and released as it reached the surface. Those gases include things like water and typically a small amount of carbon dioxide and sulfur-based compounds. The plume from this eruption has mostly remained offshore so far, hanging out to the North of most of the European landmass, so its impacts have been limited, but volcanic emissions even at low concentrations can make breathing conditions difficult for people even far downwind.

The glowing lava channel is captured here by the Landsat 8 spacecraft, which is capable of measuring infrared light like that given off by glowing lava.

-JBB

Image credit: NASA/USGS
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=84316