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Best Earth Images of the Week - Jan. 20, 2012

Anniversaries, Art and Creatures

Ocean algal bloom in the shape of a figure 8

An algae bloom in the shape of a figure 8 in the south Atlantic Ocean. (Image credit: ESA)

Explorer anniversaries, Earth as art and rare creatures top our choices. Check these out!

100 Years Ago

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Happier times in Antarctica: British explorer Robert Falcon Scott stands alone in the glittering white wilderness, months before he began his final push to the South Pole, in an image taken by expedition photographer Herbert Ponting. (Image credit: © 2011 Richard Kossow.)

Jan. 17, 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and four associates reached the South Pole. After nearly three months trekking through the freezing cold, the men reached their goal after realizing they had been beat by their Norwegian counterparts.

Despite all their struggles, the team was found several months later.

[Full Story: Doomed Explorer Reached South Pole 100 Years Ago Today]

A Salt-Encrusted Lake Dundas

salt-encrusted, salt lake

A salt-encrusted lake presents a complex view. (Image credit: NASA.)

Near Esperance, Australia, Lake Dundas presents a complex view. Many islands poke above the water line and agricultural fields bear a striking contrast.

The dry climate with little rainfall contributes to the salty shallow lake.

[Full Story: Earth as Art: A Salt-Encrusted Lake]

Crazy Eight

Ocean algal bloom in the shape of a figure 8

An algae bloom in the shape of a figure 8 in the south Atlantic Ocean. (Image credit: ESA)

This figure eight in the south Atlantic Ocean was created by microscopic algae called phytoplankton.

Spring and Summer commonly have these algal blooms. The colors of the blooms are determined by the type and quantity of the algae involved. The shapes are created by the currents in the area.

[Full Story: Ocean's 8: Satellite Snaps Stunning Photo of Bloom]

Dando Attacks

Tropical Depression Dando makes landfall over Mozambique.

Tropical Depression Dando makes landfall over Mozambique. (Image credit: Naval Research Laboratory)

Tropical Depression Dando pelted southern Africa's Mozambique this week. In one day the storm drenched the coast with 4 to 6 inches of rain.

[Full Story:Tropical Storm Dando Hits Mozambique]

Man-Eating Sharks Not the Issue

midway atoll images, papahanaumokuakea

(Image credit: Wyland)

Sylvia Earle's expedition to Hawaii's Midway Atoll Nation Wildlife Refuge spreads awareness for the area's fragile ecosystem.

Pictured here, a shark circles above. The worry now, Earle stated, is man eating this declining species.

[In Images: Sylvia Earle's 'Searching for Wisdom' Expedition]

One Great Step for Turtle-Kind

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Run (Image credit: Eleanor Briggs.)

A Southern River terrapin, one of the rarest turtles on Earth, has been released back into the wild. The turtle was outfitted with a tracking device in order to plan the best ways to save the endangered species.

Just around 200 of the species exist and researchers estimate that fewer than 10 reproducing females are living.

[Full Story:

Endangered Turtle Returns to the Wild]

Wrong Turn

ribbon seal, ribbon seal sighting, ribbon seal seattle, arctic species, seal in seattle, arctic seals, duwamish river seal, arctic wildlife

Hey, stranger! This guy must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. (Image credit: LDA.)

A big surprise greeted a Seattle resident one morning this week. A rare ribbon seal was lounging outside her home when she awoke.

Ribbon seals do not typically travel so far south, but being good travelers it is not completely unbelievable.

[Full Story: Rare Sea Creature Climbs onto Seattle Woman's Dock]

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.