Best Earth Images of the Week Sept. 21, 2012

A new monument

Colorado's Chimney Rock. Today (Sept. 21, 2012) President Barack Obama declared it a national monument.

(Image credit: Department of the Interior)

Today (Sept. 21) President Barack Obama declared Chimney Rock, in Colorado's San Juan National Forest, a national monument, according to a release from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The designation was made under the Antiquities Act, and was supported by state politicians of both parties.

[Full Story: Colorado's Chimney Rock Declared National Monument]

Underwater community

A silvertip shark caught on camera, Chagos Archipelago.

(Image credit: © University of Western Australia.)

A recent expedition to an isolated archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean came back with footage of thriving sea life swarming the slopes of a newfound seafloor mountain.

Videos captured by baited cameras revealed a rich underwater community of hammerhead sharks, silvertip sharks, large groupers, rays and a variety of other fish near the Chagos Archipelago, a string of 55 islands designated as a marine protected area by the British government in 2010.

[Full Story: Expedition Uncovers Seafloor Mountain, Dazzling Sea Life]

Tiny feet

meerkats, cute baby animals

(Image credit: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.)

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is alive with the pitter patter of really teeny tiny feet! The zoo's resident meerkat mom recently gave birth to several kits (what baby meerkats are called).

The kits are estimated to have been born out on exhibit Aug. 26, and mom has been keeping them hidden in a tunnel den, mostly out of view of staff members and the public.

[Full Story: Meerkat Kits Pitter-Pattering Around Cleveland Zoo]

Precious moment

Giant panda with newborn cub.

(Image credit: Smithsonian National Zoo.)

A giant panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. has given birth to a teeny cub, and the happy occasion has panda lovers glued to the Internet in hopes of catching a glimpse of the little bundle of joy.

Yet that is easier said than done. Second-time mom Mei Xiang, a giant panda on loan from China, is diligently caring for the three-day-old cub, and keeping it tucked close which means the tiny bear is rarely visible.

[Full Story: Cameras Reveal First Glimpse of Newborn Panda]

Smokey images

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of several large fires burning in the Northwest on Sept. 17, 2012.

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

It's been a bad summer for wildfires, and even with autumn's cooler temperatures approaching, the fires still burn.

NASA's Aqua satellite captured images of several large fires burning in the Northwest on Sept. 17. Smoke can be seen billowing from the blazes in the image and red outlines show where the fires burn the hottest.

[Full Story: Northwestern Wildfires Spotted from Space]

East Coast weather

The GOES satellite captured this image of a large system of rain and thunderstorms over the East Coast on Sept. 18, 2012, that is unusual for this time of year, and is likely to produce much rain and strong winds.

(Image credit: NOAA)

Parts of the East Coast have experienced strong storms today and other parts of it are in for more extreme weather tonight (Sept. 18) the GOES satellite caught a snapshot of the system bringing the winds and rain.

The weather system is unusual for this time of year, National Weather Service meteorologist John Koch told OurAmazingPlanet.

[Full Story: Satellite Spies Dangerous East Coast Weather System]

Double trouble

Tropical Depression Kristy and Hurricane Lane

(Image credit: NASA)

Hurricane season is still in full force in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins, as can be seen in a NASA satellite photo that shows two storms churning over the eastern Pacific.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite took the above image of Tropical Depression Kristy and Tropical Storm Lane at 11:45 a.m. PDT on Sept. 16.

[Full Story: Arresting Image: Two Storms Swirl Over Pacific]

Hazards ahead

This iceberg, named PII-2012, is beginning to go to pieces off the coast of northwest Greenland after breaking from the Petermann Glacier in mid-July.

(Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Off the coast of northwest Greenland, an enormous iceberg is beginning to go to pieces.

The huge ice chunk, named PII-2012, was originally part of the Petermann Glacier, but broke away from the glacier in mid-July in a process called calving.

[Full Story: Huge Greenland Iceberg Starting to Break Apart]

Twice the beauty

A double rainbow photographed on Sep. 1., 2012.

(Image credit: Jonmikel Pardo)

Wyoming resident Jonmikel Pardo took this spectacular photograph of a double rainbow on Sep. 1. from his backyard in Lander, Wyo.

"It was just after a fast-moving thunderstorm passed through," he told OurAmazingPlanet. "There was a break in the clouds just as the sun was about to set behind the mountains. The break was large enough to allow the full sunlight through and the rainbow was incredibly bright, even more so with the dark storm surrounding us."

[Full Story: Amazing Photo: Double Rainbow Over Wyoming]

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