Gems of the ocean: Glass fishing floats

By User:Jgrimmer – Photo taken by original uploader, Public Domain, Link

Glass fishing floats were once used by fishermen in many parts of the world to keep the nets from sinking. Though the floats are often associated with Japan, they were invented in Norway in 1842. Christopher Faye, a Norwegian merchant from Bergen, is credited with their invention and many of them can still be found in local boathouses. From the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, floats were made of colorful blown glass. These glass floats are no longer used by fishermen, but many of them are still afloat in the world’s oceans, primarily the Pacific.
Although the number of glass floats is decreasing steadily, occasional storms or certain tidal conditions can bring them ashore. They most often end up on the beaches of Alaska, Washington or Oregon in the United States, Taiwan or Canada.
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The Petrifying Well of Knaresborough

By chris 論 [GFDL or CC BY 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

A petrifying well  gives objects a stone-like appearance. If an object is left into such a well  for a period of weeks or months the object acquires a stony exterior. Notable example of petrifying well in England is the spring at Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough where objects left suspended in the calcium-rich water are gradually turned to stone. For many centuries, locals believed that this petrifying well was cursed by the devil . The fact that the side of the well looked like a giant’s skull fueled their fears that they too would be turned to stone.The Knaresborough petrifying well was first opened to the public in 1630 and still amazes visitors to this day.
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The odd looking stones of Vottovaara

Vottovaara is a mountain in Karelia, Eastern Europe. It is over 400 meters high. The mystery surrounding the Vottovaara mountain area are the odd looking boulders found there. Due to their specific looks old Saami people of this area started to see them as magical stones and believed that spirits lived in these stones. The most unusual structures are the balancing stones and another one that looks like a precisely cut pool. The stones are known as seids.

By Maximaximax [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

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The Cross Sea – When Two Waves Meet

Photo taken from Phares des Baleines (Lighthouse of the Whales) on Île de Ré off the west coast of France.
By Michel GriffonOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Cross sea is a marine state with two wave systems traveling at oblique angles.
Waves generated by the new wind run at an angle to the old, creating a shifting, dangerous pattern.  Two weather systems that are far from each other may create a cross sea when the waves from the systems meet, usually at a place far from either weather system. Until the older waves have dissipated, they create a sea hazard.

Although these waves are mesmerizing to look at, a larger percentage of ship accidents were found to have occurred in this state.

The Kalaloch Tree of Life appears to defy the laws of gravity

Photo credit

Along the beach located near Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park, Washington, thrives a tree with its root system exposed to the coastal elements. The tree that has been referred to as The Tree of Life aka Root Tree Cave,
wins its battle with gravity hanging on by it roots over a slowly eroding cave along the bluffs of the Pacific Coast.
The tree has entirely exposed roots that aren’t anchored to the ground cliff slowly eroding over time. The cave under the tree was caused by a small stream that empties into the ocean.

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A Plant That Resurrects Itself

By Nicole-Koehler [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Selaginella lepidophylla, also known as (false) rose of Jericho and resurrection plant, is a species of desert plant, native to the Chihuahuan Desert of the United States and Mexico, noted for its ability to survive almost complete dehydration. During dry weather, its stems curl into a tight ball and uncurl only when exposed to moisture. The plant is sold as a novelty item as a bare root in its dry state. It can be revived with only a little water. After wetting, the plant turns green.
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The Root Bridges of Cherrapunji, India

(Flickr: A double decker living bridge) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cherrapunji in northeastern India, is famous for its living bridges. The people of these villages (Nongriat, Laitkynshew and others) are isolated from the rest of the world as they live in deep valleys which can only be reached by arduous trek. Over hundreds of years the people in Cherrapunji have developed techniques for growing roots of trees into bridges. They plant the strangler fig trees on both sides of the river and once they grow they use guides such as bamboo poles or string for the roots to grow around them. The process takes 10 to 15 years and the bridges typically last hundreds of years, the oldest ones in use being over 500 years old.
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