Grand Canyon geology lessons on view







The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of the Colorado River canyon and its many side canyons make an intricate landscape that contrasts with the dark green, forested plateau to the north and south.
The Colorado River has done all the erosional work of carving away cubic kilometers of rock in a geologically short period of time. Visible as a darker line snaking along the bottom of the canyon, the river lies at an altitude of 715 meters (2,345 feet), thousands of meters below the North and South Rims. Temperatures are furnace-like on the river banks in the summer. But Grand Canyon Village, the classic outlook point for visitors, enjoys a milder climate at an altitude of 2,100 meters (6,890 feet).
The Grand Canyon has become a geologic icon—a place where you can almost sense the invisible tectonic forces within the Earth. The North and South Rims are part of the Kaibab Plateau, a gentle tectonic swell in the landscape. The uplift of the plateau had two pronounced effects on the landscape that show up in this image. First, in drier parts of the world, forests usually indicate higher places; higher altitudes are cooler and wetter, conditions that allow trees to grow. The other geologic lesson on view is the canyon itself. Geologists now know that a river can cut a canyon only if the Earth surface rises vertically. If such uplift is not rapid, a river can maintain its course by eroding huge quantities of rock and forming a canyon.

Image credit: NASA

Grand Canyon geology lessons on view

The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of the Colorado River canyon and its many side canyons make an intricate landscape that contrasts with the dark green, forested plateau to the north and south.

The Colorado River has done all the erosional work of carving away cubic kilometers of rock in a geologically short period of time. Visible as a darker line snaking along the bottom of the canyon, the river lies at an altitude of 715 meters (2,345 feet), thousands of meters below the North and South Rims. Temperatures are furnace-like on the river banks in the summer. But Grand Canyon Village, the classic outlook point for visitors, enjoys a milder climate at an altitude of 2,100 meters (6,890 feet).

The Grand Canyon has become a geologic icon—a place where you can almost sense the invisible tectonic forces within the Earth. The North and South Rims are part of the Kaibab Plateau, a gentle tectonic swell in the landscape. The uplift of the plateau had two pronounced effects on the landscape that show up in this image. First, in drier parts of the world, forests usually indicate higher places; higher altitudes are cooler and wetter, conditions that allow trees to grow. The other geologic lesson on view is the canyon itself. Geologists now know that a river can cut a canyon only if the Earth surface rises vertically. If such uplift is not rapid, a river can maintain its course by eroding huge quantities of rock and forming a canyon.

Image credit: NASA

(Source: nasa.gov)

Brussels from Sentinel-1A

Acquired on 12 April 2014 at 17:18 GMT (19:18 CEST), just nine days after launch, this first image from Sentinel-1A captures Brussels and surrounds in Belgium. It was acquired in the satellite’s ‘strip map’ mode, which has a swath width of 80 km, and in dual polarisation. The image also shows a more detailed view of the city in the ‘zoom in’. Antwerp harbour is also visible in the top left. The green colours correspond to vegetation, red–blue to urban areas, white to high-density urban areas and black to waterways and low-reflective areas such as airport runways.

Image credit: ESA

Brussels from Sentinel-1A

Acquired on 12 April 2014 at 17:18 GMT (19:18 CEST), just nine days after launch, this first image from Sentinel-1A captures Brussels and surrounds in Belgium. It was acquired in the satellite’s ‘strip map’ mode, which has a swath width of 80 km, and in dual polarisation. The image also shows a more detailed view of the city in the ‘zoom in’. Antwerp harbour is also visible in the top left. The green colours correspond to vegetation, red–blue to urban areas, white to high-density urban areas and black to waterways and low-reflective areas such as airport runways.

Image credit: ESA

(Source: esa.int)

Salt marsh, Kazakhstan

This satellite image was acquired over the edge of a salt marsh near the northeast Caspian Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan. 
The Caspian Sea (not pictured) is the largest inland body of water by surface area. With an average depth of about 5 m, the northern part of the Caspian is very shallow, while the central and southern parts of the sea are much deeper. The salinity of the waters also change from north to south, being more saline in the northern, shallow waters and less in the south.
The salt marsh in the upper section of this image was once a gulf of the Caspian Sea, but fluctuating sea levels over the last decades cause it to be cut off occasionally from the main body of water and even dry up. In this image, it appears that the water has evaporated, leaving behind a white salt crust. 
Rock formations dominate the central part of the image, while a plateau stretches south and east (not pictured).  The visible shapes in combination with the dark colour of the rocks may indicate that they are volcanic, with water erosion evident in the finger-like runoff patterns.
The grey rim between the land and salt pan comes from the sedimentary runoff from the land mixing with the saltwater. When the marsh is dry, a greyish colour is left behind.The arid climate in this region makes it easy to acquire optical imagery from satellites, without the obstruction of visibility by clouds.

Image credit & copyright: KARI/ESA

Salt marsh, Kazakhstan

This satellite image was acquired over the edge of a salt marsh near the northeast Caspian Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan. 

The Caspian Sea (not pictured) is the largest inland body of water by surface area. With an average depth of about 5 m, the northern part of the Caspian is very shallow, while the central and southern parts of the sea are much deeper. The salinity of the waters also change from north to south, being more saline in the northern, shallow waters and less in the south.

The salt marsh in the upper section of this image was once a gulf of the Caspian Sea, but fluctuating sea levels over the last decades cause it to be cut off occasionally from the main body of water and even dry up. In this image, it appears that the water has evaporated, leaving behind a white salt crust. 

Rock formations dominate the central part of the image, while a plateau stretches south and east (not pictured).  The visible shapes in combination with the dark colour of the rocks may indicate that they are volcanic, with water erosion evident in the finger-like runoff patterns.

The grey rim between the land and salt pan comes from the sedimentary runoff from the land mixing with the saltwater. When the marsh is dry, a greyish colour is left behind.The arid climate in this region makes it easy to acquire optical imagery from satellites, without the obstruction of visibility by clouds.

Image credit & copyright: KARI/ESA

(Source: esa.int)


Fjord in East Greenland seen by NASA’s operation IceBridge







This view of the frozen fjord downstream of Violingletscher (Violin Glacier) in Østgrønland (East Greenland) was seen during an Operation IceBridge survey flight on April 5, 2014.
NASA’s Operation IceBridge images Earth’s polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of earth’s polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA’s ICESat satellite missions.

Image credit: NASA/Michael Studinger

Fjord in East Greenland seen by NASA’s operation IceBridge

This view of the frozen fjord downstream of Violingletscher (Violin Glacier) in Østgrønland (East Greenland) was seen during an Operation IceBridge survey flight on April 5, 2014.

NASA’s Operation IceBridge images Earth’s polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of earth’s polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA’s ICESat satellite missions.

Image credit: NASA/Michael Studinger

(Source: nasa.gov)

Cento, Italy

Hundreds of fields speckle the northern Italian landscape south of the Po River in this satellite image.
Agriculture is one of the main economic uses of the Po Basin because of the fertile soils, and this image clearly shows a landscape dominated by fields.
Throughout Italy’s history, agricultural landowners would often divide their properties among their male heirs. Generation after generation, land would be further fragmented, resulting in the millions of small plots found across the country today.
Optical satellite imagery like this can be used to monitor agriculture and changing landscapes. Satellites can provide the information necessary to make informed decisions on agricultural management, including yield prediction, irrigation, planting, pricing and regional need for food assistance if a harvest is likely to fail.
At the very bottom of the image, foothills of the Apennine mountains appear dark green.
The city of Bologna is visible in the lower-right corner, and Modena can be seen on the left. Two roads cutting across the flat Po Valley provide a nearly straight route between the cities.
The city of Cento – which means ‘hundred’ in Italian – is located in the upper-right section of the image on the Reno river.

Image credit: JAXA/ESA

Cento, Italy

Hundreds of fields speckle the northern Italian landscape south of the Po River in this satellite image.

Agriculture is one of the main economic uses of the Po Basin because of the fertile soils, and this image clearly shows a landscape dominated by fields.

Throughout Italy’s history, agricultural landowners would often divide their properties among their male heirs. Generation after generation, land would be further fragmented, resulting in the millions of small plots found across the country today.

Optical satellite imagery like this can be used to monitor agriculture and changing landscapes. Satellites can provide the information necessary to make informed decisions on agricultural management, including yield prediction, irrigation, planting, pricing and regional need for food assistance if a harvest is likely to fail.

At the very bottom of the image, foothills of the Apennine mountains appear dark green.

The city of Bologna is visible in the lower-right corner, and Modena can be seen on the left. Two roads cutting across the flat Po Valley provide a nearly straight route between the cities.

The city of Cento – which means ‘hundred’ in Italian – is located in the upper-right section of the image on the Reno river.

Image credit: JAXA/ESA

(Source: esa.int)


The Kavir desert in Iran, as seen from the International Space Station
Image credit: NASA

The Kavir desert in Iran, as seen from the International Space Station

Image credit: NASA

(Source: universetoday.com)


Three atmospheric ‘dragons’: low pressure areas around the U.S.







There are three low pressure systems around the U.S. and they resemble dragons on satellite imagery. NOAA’s GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite image from March 31, 2014 shows the low pressure systems in the eastern Pacific Ocean, over the nation’s Heartland, and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. All three lows have the signature comma shape that make them appear to be curled up dragons.
According to the National Weather Service, the low pressure area approaching the northwestern U.S. is expected to bring rainfall to the coast and areas of snow that stretch from western Washington state south toward the four corners region. The low in the middle of the country is located over Nebraska and dropping snow to the north and west of it. That same low is bringing rain from southern Minnesota south to eastern Texas. Meanwhile, the third low pressure system is bringing rain and snow to parts of New England.

Image credit: NASA/Caption: Rob Gutro

Three atmospheric ‘dragons’: low pressure areas around the U.S.

There are three low pressure systems around the U.S. and they resemble dragons on satellite imagery. NOAA’s GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite image from March 31, 2014 shows the low pressure systems in the eastern Pacific Ocean, over the nation’s Heartland, and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. All three lows have the signature comma shape that make them appear to be curled up dragons.

According to the National Weather Service, the low pressure area approaching the northwestern U.S. is expected to bring rainfall to the coast and areas of snow that stretch from western Washington state south toward the four corners region. The low in the middle of the country is located over Nebraska and dropping snow to the north and west of it. That same low is bringing rain from southern Minnesota south to eastern Texas. Meanwhile, the third low pressure system is bringing rain and snow to parts of New England.

Image credit: NASA/Caption: Rob Gutro

(Source: nasa.gov)

earthstory:

Hekla may be stirringRecent GPS measurements of ground deformation (in the form of a swelling bulge on the north face) and a swarm of small seismic events last week suggest that Iceland’s most active smoker has a full lava chamber 8 km down, and may be preparing to erupt. Three further quakes have taken place over the last 24 hours. It is known to do so at very short notice (79 minutes from first quake to eruption in the last one in 2000), so climbing has been banned and multilingual hazard signs put out on the approaches to the 1,491 metre stratovolcano, whose last large eruption was in 1947.Both these symptoms suggest that magma is shifting deep within the edifice, though not necessarily that it is about to blow. Similar movements happened without eruption last year and in 2011 without such an occurrence. Many of its eruptions are small, but some have lasted months and affected global climate through the emission of ash and sulphurous gases. Over 10% of the tephra (ash and rock fall) on the island, an outcrop of the mid Atlantic ridge/spreading centre, are thought to have spouted from this peak. Hekla consists of a 5.5 km long volcanic ridge with several vents, including the stratovolcano, located where the rift encounters a transform strike slip fault. Minor extensional forces on this junction would open up the passage for the magma to rise up and fill the chamber. Its products are fluorine rich basaltic andesites , which can poison animals eating the ash covered grass, a process that has led to several historical famines.LozImage credit: Matthias Burchhttp://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=4351http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/03/eruption-update-march-19-2014-copahue-hekla-etna/http://www.newsoficeland.com/eco/item/405-hekla-volcano-might-eerupt-soonhttp://www.ibtimes.com/when-will-hekla-erupt-surface-swelling-spotted-north-side-iceland-volcano-1562298http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/hekla.htmlhttp://icelandreview.com/news/2014/03/19/hekla-volcano-eruption-hazard-signs-puthttp://icelandreview.com/news/2014/03/17/hekla-volcano-could-erupt-soon

earthstory:

Hekla may be stirring

Recent GPS measurements of ground deformation (in the form of a swelling bulge on the north face) and a swarm of small seismic events last week suggest that Iceland’s most active smoker has a full lava chamber 8 km down, and may be preparing to erupt. Three further quakes have taken place over the last 24 hours. It is known to do so at very short notice (79 minutes from first quake to eruption in the last one in 2000), so climbing has been banned and multilingual hazard signs put out on the approaches to the 1,491 metre stratovolcano, whose last large eruption was in 1947.

Both these symptoms suggest that magma is shifting deep within the edifice, though not necessarily that it is about to blow. Similar movements happened without eruption last year and in 2011 without such an occurrence. Many of its eruptions are small, but some have lasted months and affected global climate through the emission of ash and sulphurous gases. Over 10% of the tephra (ash and rock fall) on the island, an outcrop of the mid Atlantic ridge/spreading centre, are thought to have spouted from this peak. 

Hekla consists of a 5.5 km long volcanic ridge with several vents, including the stratovolcano, located where the rift encounters a transform strike slip fault. Minor extensional forces on this junction would open up the passage for the magma to rise up and fill the chamber. Its products are fluorine rich basaltic andesites , which can poison animals eating the ash covered grass, a process that has led to several historical famines.

Loz

Image credit: Matthias Burch

http://www.jonfr.com/
volcano/?p=4351
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/03/eruption-update-march-19-2014-copahue-hekla-etna/
http://www.newsoficeland.com/eco/item/405-hekla-volcano-might-eerupt-soon
http://www.ibtimes.com/when-will-hekla-erupt-surface-swelling-spotted-north-side-iceland-volcano-1562298
http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/hekla.html
http://icelandreview.com/news/2014/03/19/hekla-volcano-eruption-hazard-signs-put
http://icelandreview.com/news/2014/03/17/hekla-volcano-could-erupt-soon


Satellite shows high productivity from U.S. corn belt

Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to NASA and university scientists.







Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region.
Research in 2013 led by Joanna Joiner, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., demonstrated that fluorescence from plants could be teased out of data from existing satellites, which were designed and built for other purposes. The new research led by Luis Guanter of the Freie Universität Berlin, used the data for the first time to estimate photosynthesis from agriculture. Results were published March 25 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
According to co-author Christian Frankenberg of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., “The paper shows that fluorescence is a much better proxy for agricultural productivity than anything we’ve had before. This can go a long way regarding monitoring – and maybe even predicting – regional crop yields.”


Image credit: 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Satellite shows high productivity from U.S. corn belt
Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to NASA and university scientists.
Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region.
Research in 2013 led by Joanna Joiner, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., demonstrated that fluorescence from plants could be teased out of data from existing satellites, which were designed and built for other purposes. The new research led by Luis Guanter of the Freie Universität Berlin, used the data for the first time to estimate photosynthesis from agriculture. Results were published March 25 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
According to co-author Christian Frankenberg of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., “The paper shows that fluorescence is a much better proxy for agricultural productivity than anything we’ve had before. This can go a long way regarding monitoring – and maybe even predicting – regional crop yields.”
Image credit: 
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

(Source: nasa.gov)

we-are-star-stuff:

As we now know the Earth is round. Therefore, the challenge of any world map is to represent a round Earth on a flat surface. There are literally thousands of map projections and each has certain strengths and corresponding weaknesses, but the one you’re now picturing in your head most likely isn’t the area accurate representation.
The most widely used map today is the Mercator projection map. Mercator maps often appear in businesses, in libraries and in classrooms where geography is taught. This popularity is surprising, given the fact that the Mercator projection was first constructed in 1569. The more accurate representation of land mass is the Peters Projection Map:

Here’s a direct representation of the previously assumed factual map with the real flattened version:

The Peters Projection Map shows how Africa is larger than the combination of China, the US, Western Europe, India, Argentina, three Scandinavian countries and the British Isles. 
Mercator maps show Europe as being larger than South America. In reality, South America is almost twice the size of Europe. Alaska appears to be three times larger than Mexico, although Mexico actually is larger than Alaska. Greenland looks roughly the same size as Africa, when, in fact, Africa is fourteen times larger than Greenland. Africa also looks considerably smaller than Russia, even though Africa is actually 33% larger.
To see how big the western countries have become, it’s hard to see how this has nothing to do with suppression; to make us believe they are ‘bigger’ and ‘on top’. A simple change in the look of a map can cause a reconsideration of your fixed ideas about a place.
Bonus:
The world turned upside down.
Who says North is up?

we-are-star-stuff:

As we now know the Earth is round. Therefore, the challenge of any world map is to represent a round Earth on a flat surface. There are literally thousands of map projections and each has certain strengths and corresponding weaknesses, but the one you’re now picturing in your head most likely isn’t the area accurate representation.

The most widely used map today is the Mercator projection map. Mercator maps often appear in businesses, in libraries and in classrooms where geography is taught. This popularity is surprising, given the fact that the Mercator projection was first constructed in 1569. The more accurate representation of land mass is the Peters Projection Map:

image

Here’s a direct representation of the previously assumed factual map with the real flattened version:

image

The Peters Projection Map shows how Africa is larger than the combination of China, the US, Western Europe, India, Argentina, three Scandinavian countries and the British Isles. 

Mercator maps show Europe as being larger than South America. In reality, South America is almost twice the size of Europe. Alaska appears to be three times larger than Mexico, although Mexico actually is larger than Alaska. Greenland looks roughly the same size as Africa, when, in fact, Africa is fourteen times larger than Greenland. Africa also looks considerably smaller than Russia, even though Africa is actually 33% larger.

To see how big the western countries have become, it’s hard to see how this has nothing to do with suppression; to make us believe they are ‘bigger’ and ‘on top’. A simple change in the look of a map can cause a reconsideration of your fixed ideas about a place.

Bonus:

(via sagansense)

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