Best Earth Images of the Week - Apr. 6, 2012

Spring's Contradictions, Devastating and Beautiful

Two flowers that have bloomed along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are (left) Fendler's pennycress or wild candytuft and (right) dwarf lousewort or wood-betony.

(Image credit: NPS, Michael Quinn)

Spring's arrival, both beautiful and terrifying, begin our choices this week.

Pictured here, the first flowers are beginning to appear along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.Two of the first flowers are Fendler's pennycress or wild candytuft (Noccaea montana) and dwarf lousewort or wood-betony (Pedicularis centranthera), seen in the image above at left and right, respectively.

[Full Story: First Spring Flowers Arrive at Grand Canyon]

Terrifying Twisters

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(Image credit: NOAA.)

Tornadoes tore through northeast Texas yesterday (April 3), in an outbreak of severe weather that was captured by a fleet of satellites designed to monitor the situation from space.

At least six tornadoes were reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from mid-afternoon to early evening on April 3, according to officials at the National Weather Service.

[Full Story: Devastating Texas Tornadoes Seen by Satellite]

A Magnificent Display

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(Image credit: Boris Behncke.)

Sicily's Mount Etna unleashed the latest in a year-long series of fiery shows this last weekend. It was the Italian peak's 23rd such display since January 2011, according to a scientist who faithfully documents the peak's regular paroxysms.

The volcano's latest episode, which reached its peak in the wee hours Sunday (April 1), lit up the night, spouting molten rock many hundreds of feet into the air for about an hour and a half.

[Full Story: Mount Etna Erupts in Fiery Glory]

Ancient Interior Exposed

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(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon.)

The rugged mountains of northeastern Oman, on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, are bone dry, yet these peaks once lay beneath the bottom of the sea.

The rocks exposed in the Oman Mountains used to lie in Earth's interior, at the boundary between crust and the mantle, but when an ancient ocean narrowed and closed, the colossal geological forces at work also thrust the ancient seafloor skyward, according to a NASA statement.

[Full Story: Earth's Interior Exposed in Oman]

Bongo Calves Welcomed

Belfast Zoological Gardens is celebrating the birth of two bongo calves, who have been named Bert and Bo.

(Image credit: Belfast Zoo)

In recent weeks, the Belfast Zoo has welcomed two new baby Eastern bongos, a critfically endangered antelope species.

Eastern bongos are native to the mountain forests of Kenya, and are endangered by hunting and increasing rates of deforestation. The Bongo Surveillance Programme estimates that there could be as few as 75 to140 individuals left in the wild.

[Full Story: Bouncing Baby Bongos Born at Belfast Zoo]

This Storm is No Joke

Tropical Storm Daphne as seen by NASA Terra satellite

(Image credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team )

It may have formed on April Fool's Day, but this storm is no joke.

Low pressure System 95P became Tropical Storm Daphne in the southwestern Pacific Ocean on April 1, after it had already caused severe flooding in areas of Fiji, according to a NASA statement.

[Full Story: Tropical Storm Born on April Fool's Day]

A Match Made ... at Edinburgh

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(Image credit: Edinburgh Zoo. )

Love (might) be in the air for a pair of giant pandas at the Edinburgh Zoo.

Keepers allowed the zoo's young female panda and young male panda to meet for the first time today (April 3), on five separate occasions.

[Full Story: Pandas Meet for Love Match at Zoo]

Seafloor Scene

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(Image credit: Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic.)

James Cameron's deep-diving team has been keeping busy.

Just days after the filmmaker plunged more than 35,756 feet (10,890 meters) into the Pacific Ocean to the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth, his team piloted Cameron's innovative submersible to yet another deep-sea spot.

This time, members of the expedition took Cameron's lime-green Deepsea Challenger to a depth of 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) off the coast of the tiny island of Ulithi, part of Micronesia.

[Full Story: James Cameron's Team Unveils New Seafloor Image]

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.