Credit: Image courtesy Matt Hansen, University of Maryland
A new global map of deforestation reveals that 888,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometers) of forest has vanished since 2000.
The interactive…Read More »
map (viewable online) is based on satellite data and is the first of its kind. The calculations are accurate down to about 100 feet (30 meters), enough detail to provide useful local information while still covering the whole globe.
Cats may bite, and geese may have barbed penises, but one newly described hermaphroditic sea slug has taken violent animal sex to a new level by stabbing…Read More »
its mates in the head.
The perpetrator of this bizarre act, Siphopteron sp. 1, is a small sea slug found off the northeast coast of Australia. A simultaneous hermaphrodite, it has both male and female reproductive organs that it uses simultaneously during sex.
Colorado residents will likely be familiar with this pristine, sunrise view of the famous Maroon Bells, two peaks in the rugged …Read More »
Elk Mountains of west-central Colorado. Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak — collectively known as the Maroon Bells — are located about 12 miles southwest of Aspen, in the White River National Forest.
The two mountains, which are separated by roughly a third of a mile, are composed of Paleozoic Era-mudstone and sandstone that hardened into rock over the course of millions of years. Both Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak have summit elevations over 14,000 feet (4,200 meters), and represent the 27th and 50th highest peaks in Colorado, respectively.
This southwest view of the Maroon Bells, looking across an unbelievably still Maroon Lake, is touted as one of the most photographed spots in Colorado. Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey captured this scene in January 2010. [Related: One-of-a-Kind Places on Earth] Less «
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Super typhoon Haiyan
Credit: Japan Meteorological Agency/NOAA
Just how strong was Super Typhoon Haiyan? There's been a lot of talk about that question, and rightfully so, since it was one of the most intense storms…Read More »
in the last generation. Many people (in the United States) have compared it to Hurricane Katrina — one of the most powerful storms to make an American landfall in recent years — often floating numbers as to the relative intensity of the two.
What looks like a vivid, prickly broom is actually an adhesive pad on a foreleg of Coccinella septempunctata, or ladybird beetle (also called a ladybug).…Read More »
Dr. Jan Michels of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel in Germany, captured the image of the beetle's foreleg at 20x magnification using autofluorescence and the optical imaging technique confocal microscopy. ("The key to the confocal approach is the use of spatial filtering to eliminate out-of-focus light or flare in specimens that are thicker than the plane of focus," according to the Nikon microscopy website.)
These beetles have distinctive spots and bright coloring to make them unappealing to predators. The coloring reminds possible threats that ladybird beetles would taste awful if preyed upon. Creatures not deterred by the ladybird's coloring will taste a foul fluid secreted by its leg.
When scientists drilled deep into the center of a huge crater beneath the Chesapeake Bay, they discovered ancient seawater that had been locked up in…Read More »
sediments since the early Cretaceous Period. The water, which is also twice as salty as the water in today's oceans, is thought to be more than 100 million years old.
Researchers examined the saltiness, or salinity, of water retrieved from drilled cores deep under Chesapeake Bay— a sprawling estuary bordered by Maryland and Virginia — and determined that the briny samples dated back to when the North Atlantic was transitioning from being a closed basin to the wide, open ocean we see today.
Credit: Gary Davenport/US Department of the Interior.
Of course, the early bird gets the worm, but in the above photo that worm turned out to be a snake.
Photographer Gary Davenport’s stunning close-up photo…Read More »
of a great blue heron and a hapless garter snake took honorable mention in the 2013 Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge photo contest. First place was awarded to a photograph of a pair of camouflaged raccoons. Photographs of coyotes and a stunning array of birds, including others with food on their minds, were also honored in the contest. To see more photos from the contest click here.
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge was established in Oregon's Willamette Valley in 1965 to protect a habitat for wintering waterfowl. The refuge spans some 5,300 acres of marshes, grasslands and woodlands.
Thousands of ducks, geese and swans winter on the Refuge. The all-star of the refuge is the dusky Canada goose, whose nesting areas in Alaska were harmed by an earthquake in 1964.
European settlers transformed America's Northeastern forests. From historic records and fossils, researchers know the landscape and plants are radically…Read More »
different today than they were 400 years ago.
But little direct evidence exists to prove which tree species filled the forests before they were cleared for fields and fuel. Swamp-loving plants, like sedges and tussocks, are the fossil survivors, not delicate leaves from hardwood trees.
NASA has revealed a stunning natural-color panoramic mosaic of Saturn, along with its rings and moons, as they'd look to human eyes. The majestic image,…Read More »
which also shows Earth, Venus and Mars, was snapped by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and unveiled at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12, 2013.
"In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels," Carolyn Porco, Cassini's imaging team lead at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said in a NASA statement. "And it did so on a day people all over the world, in unison, smiled in celebration at the sheer joy of being alive on a pale blue dot."
Porco and colleagues processed 141 wide-angle images to create this space-scape, which sweeps 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across Saturn and its inner ring system out to the planet's second-outermost ring (the E ring). According to NASA, the distance between Earth and its moon would fit easily inside the span of Saturn's E ring. Less «