You can find hexagonally-patterned rocks in Petoskey, MI, that are actually fossilized corallites. Petoskey stones were formed during a prehistoric ice age that scattered them to the shores of Lake Michigan. The dark spots were the coral’s mouths, and the tiny lines were tentacles that reached out for food. Source Source 2 Source 3

A Legacy of Mining and Farming

We’ve only ever visited Swaledale during winter, so it was nice to be able to take a leisurely cruise around, what I think is, the Yorkshire Dales’ finest valley. We stopped off on the road north of Thwaite to see the classic view of Swaledale: the glaciated curvature of the valley with its grids of drystone walls and seemingly endless field barns everywhere. Dappled light broke through huge fluffy clouds on this gorgeous day. =)

Thwaite, Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England.

ISO100, f/8.0, 1160sec at 56mm (84mm full-frame equivalent). This was shot with my Nikkor 28-80mm lens as the standard Tokina 11-16 was proving too wide for this scene. The 28-80 doesn’t take the same thread size as my Tokina, so instead of using polarisers and ND grads, I bracketed exposures instead. Thankfully, the 0EV exposure just about contained the range of light in the scene with some help in post-processing. 


Not sure the caption is quite right but great view of a formerly glaciated valley in Newfoundland

Liked on Instagram: “VanLife Peru is defined by endless switchbacks. This single lane road we took to reach Lago Paron was no different. These high canyon walls have massive overhanging sections which occasionally fail and leave the road in a pile of rubble. Above the canyon walls are glaciated peaks, melting in the afternoon sun, leading to waterfalls all over the place. It is one magical drive, climbing 4000 ft in 30 kilometers with the reward of a glacier lake at the end.” Posted by @thebusandus on Instagram

Pando in Autumn

This may look like nothing other than a grove of similar trees with the autumn leaves changing color, but its actually much more remarkable than that. This is, effectively, a single organism.

This grove consists of a total of 47,000 trees, all of which are genetically identical, and all of which share the same root system. The trees are clones of each other, grown upward out of the root system at depth. It is believed to be the most massive organism ever discovered, with a mass of about 6 million kilograms and covering half a square kilometer.

It’s unclear quite how old the organism actually is. It almost certainly dates back several thousand years as it would take at least that long for the roots to grow, but it could also have sat at a near steady state for some time and could potentially have lived through some of the previous glaciations.

The system is actually under threat today; overgrazing by deer and elk in the area are preventing vary many new trunks from taking hold in the area. To preserve this marvel, the US Forest Service has undertaken a conservation campaign, including fencing off a portion of the tree and undertaking controlled burns to allow germination of new shoots in the protected area.


Image credit: US Forest Service

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip stops at Pine Forest Range Wilderness in Northern Nevada for solitude and stargazing.  

The area is an island in the sky rising almost 6,000 feet above the desert floor to peaks that top out at just below 10,000 feet.  The range has been glaciated, and has several cirque lakes which are very uncommon in the Great Basin.  The 4WD access route travels through huge patches of aspen interspersed with meadows. Whitebark and Limber Pine cover the peaks giving the area its name. This part of Nevada is as dark as anywhere in the continental U.S. so the Milky Way is very visible.

Photos by Bob Wick and Rita Ayers, BLM

Researchers map 12 new Alaskan volcanoes

How do you tell when you’re sitting on a volcano? Ok, in some cases, it’s fairly obvious; when the mountain actually explodes, or a lava flow pours past you, it becomes pretty clear. Same thing if there’s a large cone constructed, pretty obvious. But those aren’t the only types of volcanoes.

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