182 posts tagged Nature
182 posts tagged Nature
The speckled egg in this hypnotic gif is demonstrating an amazing evolutionary advancement. It’s a strangely pointy egg and it belongs to a Common Murre or Guillemot, a seabird that congregates in large colonies on rocky cliff shores and does not make nests. Instead the birds lay their eggs directly on bare rock ledges. And that’s one of the reasons their eggs have evolved such an unusual shape - so that when they roll, instead of rolling away from their parents and into the sea, they roll in a tight little circle. It’s further proof that nature is awesome.
Head over to io9 to learn more about Guillemots and their wonderfully unusual eggs.
Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena introduces us to an incredibly beautiful nighttime occurrence known as Light pillars. They’re one of nature’s rewards for enduring extremely cold weather.
Light pillars are created when ice crystals with roughly horizontal faces form in the atmosphere and reflect light from the sun, moon, or even man-made sources such as street lights.
"So, how does one explain all of the colors? As the Weather Doctor states, ‘Because the light rays forming pillars are reflected, they take on the color of the incident light. For example, when the sun is higher in the sky, pillars are white or bright yellow in color. But when it is near the horizon and its light color dominantly orange, gold or red, so is the resulting pillar.’”
Light pillars have been known to be the source of false UFO reports, which doesn’t seem at all surprising when you consider the Close Encounters-esque atmosphere in each of these wonderful photographs.
Photos by Jay Callaghan, Osato Naoya, Francis Anderson, Tristan Grezko, and Jason Ahms respectively.
Visit My Modern Metropolis to view a few more.
Weezbo assembled a fantastic collection of macro photos taken by Indonesian photographer Nordin Seruyan (previously featured here) in his back garden in Borneo, Indonesia. His backyard appears to be a veritable wonderland of beautiful mantises, dragonflies, caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, ladybugs and other insects.
Head over to Weezbo to view even more.
Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders introduces us to, as RR Helm calls it, “The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen,” a tiny species of crustacean called a Sapphirina copepod or Sea Sapphire. This video footage, shot by liquidguru, feels like something Mulder and Scully might’ve been called to investigate, but there’s nothing supernatural or extraterrestrial about these dazzling animals.
"Copepods are the rice of the sea, tiny shrimp-like animals at the base of the ocean food chain. And like rice, they are generally not known for their charisma. Sea sapphires are an exception. Though they are often small, a few millimeters, they are stunningly beautiful. Like their namesake gem, different species of sea sapphire shine in different hues, from bright gold to deep blue."
"When they’re abundant near the water’s surface the sea shimmers like diamonds falling from the sky. Japanese fisherman of old had a name for this kind of water, “tama-mizu”, jeweled water.”
Visit Deep Sea News to learn a lot more about these awesome little creatures.
Nestled between hills in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt is an awesome piece of land art entitled Desert Breath. Between 1995 and 1997 this site-specific installation was created by the D.A.ST. Arteam, comprised of installation artist Danae Stratou, industrial designer and architect Alexandra Stratou, and architect Stella Constantindies.
8,000 square meters of sand were displaced to create large positive and negative conical volumes which form two interlocking spirals that expand from a water-filled center across an area of 100,000 square meters.
17 years since it was created, Desert Breath still exists, “becoming through its slow disintegration, an instrument to measure the passage of time.”
Click here to view more photos of and information about this beautiful project.
[via My Modern Metropolis]
This awesomely spiky amphibian may look like something from a fantasy RPG, but we swear he’s very real - very real and very pointy. This is the Emei moustache toad (Leptobrachium boringii). These dangerously dapper creatures are endemic to the Sichuan, Guizhou and Hunan provinces of China. For one month every year male Emei toads grow an amazing mustache of razor sharp spikes, also known as “nuptual spines”, that they use to fight each other for prime breeding territory. The spines are made of keratin, the same material found in mammal hooves, horns, fingernails and claws, and they mean brutal business.
Some 90 percent of all males end up injured. Victors win the right to mate. Losers shuffle away and seriously consider never growing a mustache again, because maybe it wasn’t a good idea in the first place and they were just curious how it would look, like that one time when I was in high school.
The spines grow straight through the toad’s skin, and although they will at times pop off in combat, they’ll simply sprout once again, only to fall off at the end of the breeding season.
Visit Wired to learn more about the savagely awesome Emei toad and the world’s most dangerous mustache.
German nature photographer Michael Poliza created a beautiful series of photos of naturally-occurring heart shapes that he spotted while flying over portions of Africa, Mexico and Australia. It’s as though the Earth itself were saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
The top photo was taken in Namibia where Poliza found a perfectly heart-shaped arid expanse of land lined with trees. The heart shaped lake was found north of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. He found the swirled desert heart in the Sossusvlei sand dunes of Namibia. The brilliant purple heart was found while flying over the Magado Crater in Kenya. Poliza took the bottom two photos in Australia. The left photo shows a heart-shaped formation captured by Poliza in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park, near Mount Olga, in the Northern Territory of Petermann, Australia. The green heart on the right was found off the coast of Van Dieman Gulf in the Northern Territory at Point Stuart, Australia.
Thanks to the storm-chasing efforts of Phoenix, AZ-based photographer Mike Olbinski. it’s time to pay a visit Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena. Olbinski knew exactly what he was looking for, but it took him four years to find it: a monstrous rotating supercell thunderstorm.
"And not just a rotating supercell, but one with insane structure and amazing movement… Clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth."
This breathtaking storm was spotted near Booker, TX on June 3, 2013. Olbinski shot his mesmerizing 4-part time-lapse video using a Canon 5D Mark II camera with a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 lens. The first three parts were shot at 1-second intervals (~880 photos each) and the last was shot at 5-second intervals (90 photos).
Click here to learn more about the making of this awesome video.
The audio track is Impact Lento by Kevin MacLeod.
[via Twisted Sifter]
Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders reveals an awesomely icy sight that hasn’t been seen since 2009: the Sea Caves found along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin. The caves are the result of centuries of erosion caused by freezing, thawing, and wave-on-sandstone action that have sculpted the shorelines and they’re only accessible when Lake Superior freezes enough to permit safe passage.
Nature has carved delicate arches, vaulted chambers, and honeycombed passageways into cliffs on the north shore of Devils Island, Swallow Point on Sand Island, and along the mainland near the Lakeshore’s western boundary.
Officials estimate that as many as 1000 people are arriving daily to check out the awesome spectacle of the frozen caves. If the cold weathers holds out, the caves may remain accessible for another month or so.
Via the U.S. Department of the Interior:
Inside the caves awaits a fairyland of needlelike icicles. The formations change from chamber to chamber and from day to day. Apostle Islands is experiencing high volume of visitors right now, so we recommend that you visit the caves during the week. Before heading to the caves, please call the Ice Line at (715) 779-3397 - extension 3, for the most current ice condition information.
Head over to Colossal for more images of these stunning caves.