Monday, December 07, 2009
Not traveling a whole right now-- YET. I have promised the kids we'd be out and about sometime this month. :D
In the meantime, I've been "traveling" virtually. I recently came across some photos of amazing natural phenomena and that led me to doing a search for more. Some of this stuff is absolutely AMAZING!!! It's stuff that won't make you brainy or help you with the LSAT prep or anything.. but it's a neat diversion. See how amazing this creation is!
These are ice formations on glaciers, called "penitentes."
They are common on high-altitude glaciers, such as those in the Andes mountains, where the air is dry, and the sun's rays can turn ice directly into water vapor without melting it first--a process called sublimation. An initially smooth snow surface first develops depressions as some regions randomly sublimate faster than others. The curved surfaces then concentrate sunlight and speed up sublimation in the depressions, leaving the higher points behind as forests of towering spikes. At the micro-scale, similar-looking spikes help solar cell surfaces maximize their sunlight absorption.
In the next photo: These are called "mammatocumulus" clouds, meaning "bumpy clouds." They look fierce and as you can guess they usually come with vicious storms.
Goats grow on trees in some countries. HAHA and you thought the stork brought the babies!
OK, I'm kidding. There are goats that actually climb trees, in Morocco. They like the fruits of the trees, argan trees. Farmers follow the goats around as they go from tree to tree. The goats love the fruit, but cannot digest the hard kernel, which has the argan nut inside of it. So the farmers follow the goats around, waiting until the goats barf the nuts back up (or, waiting til the nuts come out the other way, ew) and collect them. The nuts are ground up and used for cooking oil and cosmetics.
The next photo is of the phenomenal called "ice circles." I wrote a post about them here. They look pretty neat!
This is called the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. Wikipedia says it "is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption." The columns continue on deep into the sea, being responsible for a few shipwrecks.
And finally, there's the creepy-looking holes in the ocean. I don't know what they are called-- ocean sinkholes, maybe?--but they occur in various areas of the world. They are hundreds to thousands of feet deep, and have little to no marine life in them. It would be very creepy to go in a boat over them!