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

Punch hole clouds

A fallstreak hole is a large circular gap, that can appear in  clouds. Such  holes are formed when the water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but the water has not frozen yet due to the failure of ice nucleation. When ice crystals do form they will set off a chain reaction causing the water droplets around the ice crystals to evaporate leaving a large usually circular or elliptical hole.

H. Raab (User:Vesta), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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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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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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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

Illusion of a ‘breathing forest’ in Canada

“The ground looks like it’s breathing in this Quebec forest,” wrote user Daniel Holland on twitter. According to the Forbes report, air is involved in this illusion, as strong wind plays a role in moving the trees and the topsoil. During a storm the ground becomes saturated with water, loosening the soil’s cohesion. As strong winds move the top of the tree, the force is transferred by the stem, acting as a lever, to the roots and the ground begins to move.

The wind caused the trees to sway, roots and all. In fact, the whole floor seems to rise and fall as if the earth itself was breathing. The phenomenon works best with spruce trees with their almost disc-shaped root system growing in the uppermost layers of the soil.