Tag Archives: science

Oregon’s ‘Lost Lake’ disappearing through lava tubes

lost-lake-1Image source

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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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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That’s how crows build their nests in Tokyo

crow-nest-tokyo-hangers-kashiwakuraPhoto by Yosuke Kashiwakura

The crows that live in Tokyo build their nests out of metal clothes-hangers. In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows steal hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them into nests. The completed nests almost look like works of art based on the theme of recycling.
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Lake in Tanzania turns animals into statues

Nick-Brandt-Calcified-Flamingo-Lake-Natron

Lake Natron takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.
Photographer Nick Brandt, while in Tanzania, discovered perfectly preserved birds and bats on the shoreline. “I could not help but photograph them,” he says. “No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”

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