Golden curves

The curving sands in central northern Iran’s salt desert, Dasht-e Kavir, can be seen in this image from the Ikonos-2 satellite. Here, clays and sand soils have a high surface salt content owing to the concentration of minerals from high summer evaporation.

Iran is one of the world’s most important mineral producers. Earth-observing satellites – and in particular, high-resolution multispectral imagery – are useful for finding and monitoring natural resources like minerals.

Satellites can directly identify different minerals and recognise large-scale geological structures related to mineral deposits that ground-based surveys may have difficulty detecting.

Near the area pictured are biosphere reserves, national parks and wildlife refuges. When dealing with large, uninhabited areas like this, remote sensing can provide a simple solution to managing protected land.

This image was acquired on 13 November 2008 by Ikonos-2, a commercial satellite that provides panchromatic and multispectral imagery at an extremely high resolution of up to 1 m per pixel.

ESA supports Ikonos-2 as a Third Party Mission, which means that the Agency uses its multi-mission European ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data from the satellite to its wide scientific user community.

Credits: European Space Imaging (EUSI)

Established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a 22-mile segment of the southeast Atlantic coast. The refuge consists of 66, 287 acres which include a fascinating expanse of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches, fresh and brackish water impoundments, and maritime forest. Points of interest include Bulls Island, Cape Island, and Lighthouse Island where two lighthouses, no longer operational, still stand. 

Photo: Ben Sumrell

"The fox says; "I was following my mother learning to find food and a steel trap took my leg. Now I have lost my leg, my home and my family. My future is uncertain.

Thank you to Dr Paul Welch and his staff for removing the dead leg and giving me another chance.”

Leg and foot hold traps are barbaric and their victims are random. Stand against them and do not spend your money in stores that sell them. We pray for a ban in Oklahoma someday.

Time to evolve.” — Wild Heart Ranch, Claremore, Oklahoma 

Snow is a great insulator. So is fur— something this red fox certainly must appreciate! This fox was photographed on the The Alaska Peninsula and Becharof National Wildlife Refuges, which were established to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity, including brown bears, the Alaska Peninsula caribou herds, moose, sea otters and other marine mammals, salmon, shore birds and other migratory birds, and raptors, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons.Photo credit:

Photo: Bob Dreeszen - USFWS 


Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio troilus), in the Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Chesapeake, Virginia.

This caterpillar is a convincing miniature mimic of this swamp creature. When disturbed the caterpillar extends a forked organ called an osmeterium from its mouth parts, to further the snaky illusion. It also releases a foul odor to deter predators. You can see video of this behavior by clicking here, including sounds of the choking cough of the filmmaker when the scent is deployed. 

My photo of an adult spicebush swallowtail butterfly can be viewed here. And you can click any photo in this set for enlarged views.