Whirlwinds of crystals called gravel devils spotted in Andes Mountains – SCIENCE NEWS
12 APRIL 2017. Towering, crystal-filled twisters periodically swirl in a valley nestled between two volcanoes in the Andes Mountains, newly reported observations show. The odd weather events are the first record of large pieces of gravel efficiently moving across a landscape by suspension in air.
Geologist Kathleen Benison of West Virginia University in Morgantown spotted the whirlwinds during an expedition in 2007 to an otherworldly region of northern Chile. There, gypsum crystals form from evaporating volcanic pools of salty, acidic water. When the pools dry, exposing the crystals within, whirlwinds as big as half a kilometer across can sweep the crystals aloft, Benison reports online March 15 in Geology. She saw storms of crystals travel as far as five kilometers before dropping their payloads into large, dunelike piles.
Over time the far-flung crystals, some as long as 27 centimeters (which geologists still classify as gravel), meld together into a massive hunk. If found in the rock record, such crystal conglomerations could help geologists identify where strong whirlwinds howled long ago, Benison proposes.
IMAGE: CRYSTAL SWIRL Swirling winds in the Andes Mountains can carry gypsum crystals several kilometers before dumping them in large piles.
23 MARCH 2017. Mount Etna is Europe’s most active volcano, and it’s been spouting off since late February 2017. It spewed lava and gas with a rather big eruption last week, where 10 people were actually injured. The Expedition 50 crew on board the International Space Station have been able to capture both day and nighttime views of the activity from orbit.
The stunning view, above, was taken on March 17, 2017. The original photo, which you can see on NASA’s Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth website is actually a bit hard to make out. But space enthusiast Riccardo Rossi from Modena, Italy enhanced the original with color correction and increased the contrast with Photoshop. You can see the full version of Rossi’s enhancements on Flickr. .
Mount Etna towers above the city of Catania on the island of Sicily. Scientists estimate it has been active for about 500,000 years. The first recorded eruption dates back to 1500 B.C., and it has erupted over 200 times since then.
NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite also spotted nighttime activity from orbit. The image was acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), using its “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, city lights, and reflected moonlight. In this image, it detected the nighttime glow of molten lava.
IMAGE: Mount Etna in Italy, as seen by astronauts on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/ESA, Image editing by Riccardo Rossi.
Gunung Padang is a megalithic site located in Karyamukti village, Cianjur regency, West Java Province of Indonesia, 50 km southwest of the city of Cianjur or 6 kilometers from Lampegan station. It has been called the largest megalithic site in all of Southeastern Asia, and has produced carbon dating results which, if confirmed, suggest it is extraordinarily old The survey believes that Gunung Padang was built in four different eras
The existence of the site was mentioned in Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (ROD, “Report of the Department of Antiquities”) in 1914. The Dutch historian N. J. Krom also mentioned it in 1949. Employees of the National Archeology Research Centre visited the site in 1979 for a study of its archaeology, history, and geology.
Located at 885 metres above sea level, the site covers a hill in a series of terraces bordered by retaining walls of stone that are accessed by about 400 successive andesite steps rising about 95 metres. It is covered with massive rectangular stones of volcanic origin. The Sundanese people consider the site sacred and believe it was the result of King Siliwangi’s attempt to build a palace in one night. The asymmetric Punden Berundak faces northwest, to Mount Gede and was constructed for the purpose of worship. Based on various dating techniques, the site was completed by 5000 BC and quite likely much earlier.
The villages closest to the site are Cimanggu, Ciwangun and Cipanggulakan. Two possible routes to access the site are
From Sukabumi to Cianjur: From Warungkondang to Cipadang, Cibokor, Lampegan Pal Dua, Ciwangin, Cimanggu.
From Cianjur to Sukabumi: From Sukaraja to Cireungas, Cibanteng, Rawabesar, Sukamukti and Cipanggulaan.
At the end of June 2014, the Education and Culture Ministry stated that Gunung Padang Megalithic Site as National Site Area with 29 hectares area.
On October 1, 2014, surveyors halted excavation activities temporarily due to these facts and recommendations:
There is a large structure below the surface
A core zone site area has been confirmed
Many man-made artefacts have been discovered
The construction of the site spans four eras
A recommendation has been made to extend the survey, renovation concept, conservation and management of the site
The 2014 excavation has been criticized for being improperly conducted
- A survey conducted in 2012 showed the following:
- The site was dated 6,500 years BP (before present) by carbon radiometric dating at 3–4 metres below the surface (12,500 years at 8 to 10 metres below the surface), and the artifacts at the surface date to about 4,800 years BP.
- Based on geoelectric, georadar, and geomagnetic testing, at least up to 15 metres from the surface there is construction with large chambers.
- Unlike the south side with its 5 stone terraces, the east side has 100 stone terraces with width and height of 2×2 metres. The west side also has stone terraces but is still covered by soil and bush, and the north side has, in addition to a 1.5 metre-wide stair, terraces also.
- The site area is approximately 25 hectares, in contrast for example to Borobudur Temple, which occupies only 1.5 hectares.
- Wall-side construction of the terraces is similar to that of Machu Picchu in Peru.
Adapted from: wikipedia.org
As a first time traveller to Ambrym I was curious about the islands reputation for spiritualism and strong custom practices. I was met by my host Sam and we got talking, he reassured me that I needn’t worry, and that I should consider doing Ambrym’s biggest draw card – a trek to the active churning lava filled volcanos. Treks, ranging from one day hikes to three day treks are challenging but ultimately very rewarding. The treks are being touted as soft adventure with local guides and porters to carry your gear and set up campsite on the volcano for those brave enough to visit. The local guides are absolutely superb, experienced guides who know their island inside out! So I asked them – Why should people visit Ambrym? Here’s what they say you will discover on Ambrym:
Hands down, the number one highlight are the majestic twin volcanoes!
Mount Benbow, which last erupted in 1913, and the active Mount Marum at 1,334 m (4,377 ft), are becoming popular with adventures who can usually get very close to the crater top and become mesmerized but the deep cavern of molten lava pools. The old lava flows and ash surrounding the neighbouring volcanoes creates a moon-like landscape and the surrounding scenery is simply breath-taking! You will see why they call this the ‘black island’.
Experiencing authentic, unique custom and culture will cast an enchanting spell on you.
The most significant cultural event for the people of Ambrym is the Rom dance which is an annual event usually held in the northern and western parts of the island around the harvest of the yam. The Rom dance (meaning ‘Masked’) is an ancient, secret ceremony where the dancer’s extraordinary masks are a piece of art. The Rom dance is so taboo that traditionally it is an all-male affair whereby the dancer’s natural pandanus costumes and intricate masks are burnt immediately after the dance to keep the dancers protected from the spirits. There is a lot of custom magic associated with the Rom dance and other dances hosted around Ambrym.
Hospitable, friendly people will make your visit unforgettable.
The Ambrym people are positively proud of their island and culture. They are happy to share their culture and lifestyle which can be experienced through authentic cultural tours and spending a few nights in a locally owned bungalow. Melanesian culture, food and lifestyle, while a bit more modern these days is very community centred and they are genuinely friendly when they see a visitor. You never know, you may find yourself taken with their locally carved, beautiful tam-tams or having to drag yourself away from the natural hot spring pools. I was fortunate to spend time with some bungalow owners and the tour guides – each and every one of them were engaging and openly ready to help make sure that I was being taken care of. So next time you decide if Ambrym is worth the visit, think about what you might miss by not visiting. And if you are lucky enough you may get to meet these fabulous people.
By Mereana Mills
Satellite observations of some of the world’s most remote volcanoes may allow researchers to better predict levels of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere.
A number of volcanoes worldwide continuously discharge water vapor laced with heavy metals, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide. Of these sulfur dioxide is easiest to detect from space.
A team from Michigan Technological University has discovered that each year volcanoes collectively emit 20 to 25 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. This is more than previous estimates from the late 1990s, but still less than human activities, which generate about two times as much sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, according to study co-author Vitali Fioletov, an atmospheric scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada in Toronto.
However, with human emissions on the decline in many countries, the importance of persistent volcanic emissions rises. Volcanoes provide natural background levels of sulfur dioxide that need to be taken into account when studying global atmosphere and regional effects.
Atmospheric processes convert the gas into sulfate aerosols—small-suspended particles in the atmosphere—that reflect sunlight back into space, causing a cooling effect on climate.
Sulfate aerosols near the land surface are harmful to breath and sulfur dioxide is the primary source of acid rain while also being a skin and lung irritant.
However, daily observations tracking sulfur dioxide emissions can also help with eruption forecasting.
“It’s complementary to ground-based monitoring,” co-author Simon Carn said in a statement. “Ground-based measurements of volcanic gases that are more difficult to measure from space, such as carbon dioxide, are crucial.
“But the satellite data could allow us to target new ground-based measurements at unmonitored volcanoes more effectively, leading to better estimates of volcanic carbon dioxide emissions.”
Ground-based data can better distinguish which specific volcano gas plumes come from but while field measurements of sulfur dioxide emissions are increasing, they still remain too sparse to piece together a cohesive global picture.
The new inventory can help researchers observe data from remote volcanoes and provide consistent measurements over time from the world’s biggest emitters.
“Satellites provide us with a unique ‘big picture’ view of volcanic emissions that is difficult to obtain using other techniques,” Carn said. “We can use this to look at trends in sulfur dioxide emissions on the scale of an entire volcanic arc.”
The beautiful country of Indonesia is located on the Equator and lies in between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Boasting of about 18110 islands out of which about 6000 are inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the fourth most populous country of the world.
The Borobudur is located 40 kms to the northwest of Yogyakarta and is amongst the most popular Buddhist temples of the world. The grand temple was built way back in the 8th and the 9th centuries and required about 2 million blocks of stone in its construction. However, it was abandoned around the 14th century for unknown reasons and lay hidden in the jungle until it was rediscovered and turned into the top tourist attractions of Indonesia.
Bali is another Indonesian destination which is extremely popular all over the world. The rugged landscapes, exotic beaches, wild nightlife, super luxurious hotels and spas along with a picturesque backdrop ensure that it remains a paradise for tourists. Further, friendly locals, a magnificent culture and great adventure sports have also played a huge role in enhancing its appeal.
The Mount. Bromo is located at a height of 7641 ft. and is also an active volcano. The top of this volcano has been completely blown off and the craters belch out white smoke continuously. The volcano is surrounded by fine volcanic sand which further adds to its eerie feel. The entire setup seems to be out of a Harry Potter movie and tourists love the place for the unusual and unearthly sights that are on display
Komodo National Park
The Komodo National Park is situated in the Lesser Sunda Islands and is named after one of its inhabitants, the Komodo dragon. The park also boasts of numerous camping and trekking opportunities and extremely exotic flora and fauna.
The Gili Islands is an archipelago of the smaller islands of GiliMeno, Gili Air and the GiliTrawangan. These islands allow tourists to escape the hustle bustle of the city and live in pollution free environments since there are no cars or bikes on the islands. Tourists can enjoy themselves in one of its mesmerizing beaches or simply stroll around the islands.
Torajaland is one of the highland regions of Indonesia and is located in South Sulawesi. The place is very popular for its peaked roof houses and spectacular funeral rites.
The Bunaken is one of the most popular diving and snorkeling sites of Indonesia and is located to the north of the island of Sulawesi. These islands are the part of the Bunaken Marine Park which boasts having more than 70% of the fish varieties that are found in the western Pacific Ocean.
The Baliem Valley offers tourists a glimpse of the stone age world of yesteryears. Most tourists come here to revel the mountain views, gawk at the roaring rivers and experience a traditional tribal village life.
The Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo and includes exotic wildlife such as sun bears, clouded leopards, pythons and orangutans.
Finally, the Lake Toba is another sight which draws visitors from all over the world due to its mesmerizing beauty and marvelous sights. Located on the island of Sumatra, tourists come here to relax and swim in its volcanic waters.
*Author : Sarah, a professional blogger Manchester. UK
The unique and delightful island of Peucang lies in clear blue waters off the north western coastline of Ujung Kulon Peninsula. It iswhite sandy beaches and coral reef shores hold a fascinating world of marine life while Peucang’s impressive forest shelters an abundance of wildlife, some of which graze and play around the lodges. Opposite Peucang Island across a 800 meters cannel is the Ujng Kulon Peninsula with a wide variety of attractions.
SWIMMING AND SNORKELING
Peucang Island’s beach is superb for swimming and shallow snorkeling reefs are also found all along the shore, for deeper snorkeling there are coral reefs to the east, midway between the island and mainland. Scuba diving areas are also found to the west and at several other locations off Peucang Island.