Nördlinger – The Medieval Town Built of 72,000 Tons of Diamonds

The Nördlinger Ries is a giant impact crater in Southern Germany. An asteroid hit this region 15 million years ago creating a crater with a diameter of 25km. The town is located in the crater depression. The immense pressure and heat created tons of small diamonds Stone from this area was quarried and used to build the stone buildings. Approximately 72,000 tonnes of diamonds are hidden in Nördlinger’s buddings. They are scientifically valuable but economically not of interest.
Aerial scenes at the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory were filmed there.

Wolkenkratzer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hd pano, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

Desert Rose — Rose-like formation of crystal clusters

Desert rose is the colloquial name given to rose-like formations of crystal clusters of gypsum or baryte which include sand grains. The ‘petals’ are crystals fanning open in radiating flattened crystal clusters. The rosette crystal habit tends to occur when the crystals form in arid sandy conditions, such as the evaporation of a shallow salt basin. The crystals form a circular array of flat plates, giving the rock a shape similar to a rose blossom.
info: wikipedia

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Hair Ice – Fungus shapes a strange kind of ice that is found on rotting logs

Hair ice, also known as ice wool or frost beard, is a type of ice that forms on dead wood and takes the shape of fine, silky hair. It is somewhat uncommon, and has been reported mostly at latitudes between 45–55 °N in broad leaf forests. Hair ice forms on moist, rotting wood from broad leaf trees when temperatures are slightly under 0 °C (32 °F) and the air is humid. Each of the smooth, silky hairs has a diameter of about 0.02 mm (0.0008 in) and a length of up to 20 cm (8 in). The hairs are brittle, but take the shape of curls and waves. They can maintain their shape for hours and sometimes days. A piece of wood that produces hair ice once may continue to produce it over several years.
In the year 2015, German and Swiss scientists identified the fungus Exidiopsis effusa as key to the formation of hair ice. The fungus was found on every hair ice sample examined by the researchers, and disabling the fungus with fungicide or hot water prevented hair ice formation.
info: wikipedia

Des Colhoun / A mystery of Nature on Altyre Estate

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Giant Honeybees Use ‘Shimmering’ Waves To Repel Predatory Wasps

Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee, is a honey bee of  South and Southeast Asia, found mainly in forested areas. Since their nests are fairly exposed and accessible to predators, built in exposed places far off the ground, these giant honeybees exhibit strong and aggressive defense strategies. A method that Apis dorsata utilizes against wasps is referred to as “shimmering” behavior or defense waving. Bees in the outer layer thrust their abdomens 90° in an upward direction and shake them in a synchronous way. This may be accompanied by stroking of the wings. The signal is transmitted to nearby workers that also adopt the posture, thus creating a visible — and audible — “ripple” effect across the face of the comb, in an almost identical manner to an audience wave at a crowded stadium. These wave-like patterns repel wasps that get too close to the nests of these bees and serve to confuse the wasp. In turn, the wasp cannot fixate on capturing one bee or getting food from the bees’ nest, so the wasp will seek to find easier prey and leave this nest alone.
info source: wikipedia

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Mind Blowing Cocoons in Rainforest

Incredible examples of art in nature.

Rainforest Expedition’s Troy Alexander spotted the bizarre maypole-in-miniature in the Southern Peruvian Amazon. Alexander posted a photograph of his discovery to /r/whatsthisbug, a subreddit devoted to identifying insects and their handiwork.

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Maly Semyachik: a volcano with a turquoise crater lake

Maly Semyachik is a stratovolcano located in the eastern part of Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. A hot, acidic crater lake fills the historically active Troitsky Crater, which formed during a large explosive eruption  about 400 years ago. The water in the lake has an unusual bright turquoise color. It’s because the waters of the lake are poisonous due to the content of several types of acids and other chemical compounds.The water in the lake never freezes, even when everything is covered with a layer of ice and deep snow.

info source: wikipedia

By zarmel http://www.geodiversite.net/auteur2http://www.geodiversite.net/media191, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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Billow clouds look like ocean waves in the sky

By GRAHAMUK at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds, also known as  ‘billow clouds’, look like rolling ocean waves in the sky. The clouds often form on windy days, when two air currents of varying speeds meet in the atmosphere. It’s believed that this kind of clouds inspired the swirls in van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night‘.

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“Warm blooded” plants

Thermogenic plants have the ability to raise their temperature above that of the surrounding air. They can generate their own heat and flower earlier in the season than almost any other plant.  Botanists are not completely sure why thermogenic plants generate large amounts of excess heat, but most suspect the flowers may be doing this to attract coldblooded insect pollinators. Thermogenic plants are found in a variety of families, but Araceae in particular contains many such species. Here’s some examples.

Symplocarpus foetidus, commonly known as skunk cabbage, is a low growing plant that grows in wetlands and moist hill slopes of eastern North America. Bruised leaves present a fragrance reminiscent of skunk.

Skunk-cabbage in snow – Photo via Ryan Johnson/Flickr

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Virga – rain that doesn’t reach the ground

By Simon Eugster (talk · contribs) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

In meteorology, a virga is rain falling from a cloud that evaporates before reaching the ground. At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating. The phenomenon is very common in deserts, where low humidity and high temperatures can cause rain to evaporate shortly after being released by clouds. You might see virga in the U.S. West and above the Canadian Prairies, in the Middle East, Australia and North Africa.
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The Siberian ‘gateway to hell’ that keeps growing larger with no end in sight

Batagayka crater in Siberia, known as the “gateway to hell” by locals, is almost 1 kilometer in length and 86 meters in depth. The structure is named after the near-flowing Batagayka, a right tributary of the river Yana. The land began to sink due to the thawing permafrost in the 1960s after the surrounding forest was cleared. Flooding also contributed to the enlargement of the crater. Archeologists have found ice age fossils buried in the mud around the rim of the crater. The rim is extremely unstable as there are regular landslides into the crater and the permafrost is constantly thawing. The Batagayka crater is making noises too as it consumes large chunks of the area. The crater is currently growing in size and it will likely eat through the entire hill slope before it slows down. Frank Günther of the  Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany, showed that over the past decade crater grew by an average of 10 meters per year.

By NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. – https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=90104&src=eoa-iotd, Public Domain, Link