Tag Archives: science

Oregon’s ‘Lost Lake’ disappearing through lava tubes

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Oregon is home to the towering Cascades, a range of mountains and active volcanoes. The Lost Lake likely formed about 3,000 years ago, when lava flowing from a volcanic vent blocked a river channel and created the lake. The lakebed begins to fill in the late fall, when the amount of rain coming in starts exceeding the ability of the lava tubes to drain off the water.  But during the dry months, the  lake vanishes and turns into meadow. The reason? Two hollow lava tubes at the bottom of the lake are constantly draining the lake dry, much like a bathtub left unplugged. It’s not entirely clear where the water goes, but it possibly seeps into the porous subsurface underground.  There have been numerous attempts to plug the leak, those endeavors, however, would only result in the lake flooding.

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The colorful sea slugs

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Image credits: Jim Lynn

The sea slug is also commonly referred to as a sea cucumber, mainly because of the of the sea slug’s shape and the fact that it is normally found on coral or rocks usually being very still, making it look like a type of aquatic vegetable.
Sea slugs are herbivores and feed on plankton and decaying matter on the ocean floor. When they eat algae, they suck out the chloroplasts and incorporate them into their own bodies in a process called kleptoplasty. Some of them  use algae to photosynthesize.

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Fascinating natural phenomena

There are some surprising phenomena that occur in nature but often times these brilliant phenomena happen so rarely. Colorful formations and startling optical illusions that produce strange weather appearances and catch our attention.

Colorful rock formations

The unusual colours of the rocks are the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits being laid down over 24 million years.

Colorful rock formations Danxia Landforms, China

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Flower Nanostructures created in a beaker

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These false-color SEM images reveal microscopic flower structures created by manipulating a chemical gradient to control crystalline self-assembly.

To create the flower structures, Noorduin and his colleagues dissolve barium chloride (a salt) and sodium silicate (also known as water glass) into a beaker of water. Carbon dioxide from air naturally dissolves in the water, setting off a reaction which precipitates barium carbonate crystals. As a byproduct, it also lowers the pH of the solution immediately surrounding the crystals, which then triggers a reaction with the dissolved waterglass. This second reaction adds a layer of silica to the growing structures, uses up the acid from the solution, and allows the formation of barium carbonate crystals to continue.

Images courtesy of Wim L. Noorduin
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Scientific Illustrations by Noel Badges Pugh

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Noel Badges Pugh creates scientific illustrations as well as artwork with a more psychedelic perspective. Inspired by nature and dreams, all’s created with an utmost appreciation for the details and structure of each subject. One of his more recent series is a field guide on different kinds of bees and wild flowers.

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Light pillars over Ontario

Light pillars form when a bright light (from the sun, the moon or man-made light sources) reflects off the surfaces of millions of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds. The pillars, which are often mistaken for UFO sightings, are typically seen in polar regions and they might lengthen or brighten as you gaze at them.
Photographer Jay Callaghan shot the beautiful photo below, on his back deck in 25 February at 1:45 am , as he was looking northeast toward Chemong Road in Peterborough, Ontario.

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