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Best Earth Images of the Week - Apr. 13, 2012

Deep-Sea Life, Florida's WildFire and Swirling Ice Floes

An active 11-month-old Amur leopard explores its new exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

(Image credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo)

Deep-sea images, a wildfire in Florida and swirling ice floes, just the beginning of our photo picks this week.

Above, an Amur leopard explores his new exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, looking for something to climb while one of its two siblings relaxes in the background.

[Full Story: Amur Leopards Explore New Zoo Home]

Hello! How are You?

crab, deep sea footage, deep sea animals, deep sea news, deep sea expedition, rov research, okeanos explorer research

(Image credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.)

This month, you can take a ride to a mysterious world of tube worms, strange fish and impressive crustaceans that dwell deep in the Gulf of Mexico, all without ever leaving your desk.

A live feed from a camera affixed to the remotely operated vehicle Little Hercules is available on the Web, complete with the commentary of the scientists who are directing the ROV from the research vessel Okeanos Explorer.

[Full Story: Watch Live: Robot Sends Back Footage of Deep-Sea Sights]

Smoke Plumes

florida wildfire images, wildfire photos, county line fire, where fires are happening, where fires are burning, current wildfires

(Image credit: NASA.)

A satellite snapped an image this week of a massive plume of smoke hovering over a Florida forest. The smoke is coming from a large wildfire that has raged in the region since it was sparked by a lightning strike in the early hours of April 5.

Known as the County Line Wildfire, it has burned approximately 18 square miles (47 square kilometers) of the Osceola National Forest in the far northern part of the Sunshine State.

[Full Story: Florida Wildfire Spied from Space]

Ribbon Seal Census

ribbon seal, seal survey, seal population survey, endangered species news, seal news, arctic seal species, arctic news

(Image credit: NOAA.)

A joint team of U.S. and Russian scientists is slated to spend mid-April through May flying nearly 35,000 miles (56,000 kilometers) over Arctic waters that border the two countries aboard small aircraft.

The planes are scheduled to fly at altitudes between 800 and 1,000 feet (240 and 300 meters) to avoid disturbing the animals, and researchers will use high-resolution digital cameras and thermal sensors to spot the seals. The images will be analyzed later in the lab.

[Full Story: Scientists Take to Skies to Count Threatened Seals]

Intriguing Ice off Russia's Coast

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station snapped this image of swirling ice floes off Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

(Image credit: NASA)

During the winter, the peninsula, and its numerous volcanoes, are blanketed in snows, while sea ice forms on the Pacific coastline. As these ice floes grind against each other, they produce smaller floes that can be moved by wind and currents, according to a NASA statement.

The irregular southeastern coastline of Kamchatka provokes large, circular eddy currents to spin off from the main southwestward-flowing Kamchatka current. Ice floes in the astronaut image highlight three such eddies.

[Full Story: Earth As Art: Swirling Ice Floes]

Splendid Sea Life

deep sea life, Oceans, Seabeds, Sponges, Underwater shots

(Image credit: © Greenpeace / John Hocevar)

Footage from an expedition to some of the deepest seafloor canyons on Earth has revealed that life thrives in the darkness, as well as the toll that industrial-scale fishing is likely taking there.

A Greenpeace-sponsored expedition sent a manned submersible and remotely operated deep-diving robots to areas of the Zhemchug and Pribilof canyons, in the middle of the Bering Sea, after concerns over large-scale trawling and fisheries action in the region prompted calls for greater U.S. government protections for local marine life.

[Full Story: Deep-Sea Expedition Reveals Stunning Sea Life, Damage]

Fog Clouds

A thick fog covers an area the size of the Korean Peninsula over the Yellow Sea

(Image credit: NASA)

The large white patch covering the Yellow Sea in this satellite image on March 28 is a thick layer of fog, a not uncommon site in this area.

The low-lying cloud formation covered an area roughly the size of the Korean Peninsula, stretching nearly 400 miles (900 kilometers) from Korea Bay to the Chinese city of Shanghai.

[Full Story: Fog Clouds Yellow Sea in Satellite 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.