River of Mist over the Grand Canyon 

A rare weather phenomenon that affects the area only about once a decade, filled the Grand Canyon in the U.S. with a dense, white fog at the end of November. The phenomenon, known as “temperature inversion,” happens when the temperature profile of the atmosphere is inverted from its usual state, and cooler air is trapped at the earth’s surface by warmer air above.

Typically, the temperature of air in the atmosphere falls the higher up in altitude you go. This is because most of the suns energy is converted into heat at the ground, which in turn warms the air at the surface. The warm air rises in the atmosphere, where it expands and cools. When temperature inversion occurs, the temperature of air actually increases with height. The warm air above cooler air acts like a lid, trapping the cooler air and fog at the surface and preventing it from rising.

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Temperature inversions happen once or twice a year, typically in the winter months. However, these inversions are partial and cover only few parts of the Grand Canyon. The most recent inversion happens only once every 10 years, because the fog filled up the entire canyon and it happened on a cloudless day.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andy Mussoline explained the factors that contributed to the event.

“First, there was higher-than-normal moisture in the canyon,” he said. “There was 0.75 of an inch of liquid precipitation that fell between Nov. 20 and Nov. 24 at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport [both snow and rain]. Normal precipitation during that time is only 0.19 of an inch, which converts to nearly 400 percent of normal precipitation within about a week of the event.”

“Additionally, the average high temperature for this time of year is about 48 degrees Fahrenheit, which means there would be less evaporation of that precipitation than there would be in the summer months. This allowed more moisture to stay in the air inside the canyon.”

“A high pressure system settled into the region late last week and allowed for clear skies and calm winds, two important weather conditions that allow the air near the ground to cool rapidly,” Mussoline said. “The rapid cooling of the ground allowed a temperature inversion to form.”

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The canyon from space

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Eurovision win brings ‘incredible happiness’ to Ukraine

Kalush Orchestra celebrating their win in TurinIMAGE SOURCE,EPAImage caption,

Ukrainians are celebrating winning this year’s Eurovision amid the Russian invasion

“When they said that we had won, I shouted at the whole apartment,” said Ivanna Khvalyboga, who was forced to flee Ukraine following the invasion.

Speaking from Poland, she told the BBC the win meant “incredible happiness for Ukraine and Ukrainian people”.

Kalush Orchestra won the competition, beating the UK and Spain to clinch to the top spot.

The group had been predicted to take the title as support rose following Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Kalush Orchestra and said Ukraine’s courage “impresses the world”.

In a post on Instagram, he vowed one day to host Eurovision in a “free, peaceful and rebuilt” Mariupol, referencing the port city that is mostly under Russian control.

Kalush Orchestra talked about Mariupol and the Azovstal steelworks at the end of their performance, a move praised by people online.

“I’m sure many people will search the internet for information about Mariupol and Azovstal and it’s great,” one person wrote on the messaging service Telegram. “We need attention, a lot of attention.”

Military workers watch Eurovision in Ukraine
Ukrainians had been on tenterhooks throughout the ceremony

Yura Solodzhuk, the administrator of a Ukrainian Eurovision fan page, who was forced to flee his country, told the BBC he was shocked at the win but said it would “help attract the world’s attention again”.

“It’s important to remind the world about us again and again, that Ukrainian music and culture exists,” he said.

The group’s song Stefania was written as a tribute to lead singer Oleh Psiuk’s mother, but its emotive lyrics have been interpreted as a rallying cry and tribute to the nation.

“Stepfania is heard every day on the front line of our fighters as a call for freedom,” Ann Fedirko told the BBC from Ukraine. “Every soldier remembers his mother, who prays for him at night and he has to win a free life for her.”

“This song is like our blood, which is now on the lips of every Ukrainian,” she added.

Celebrations are mainly muted with people unable to celebrate in public places due to curfews in place across the country. Many people watched the contest from home.

Not long after Ukraine’s win was announced, a number of locations across the country were under an air raid warning.

Now Ukraine have won, there will need to be a discussion about where next year’s Eurovision event could be hosted.

The winner usually hosts the show the following year, but depending on the situation in Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union will have to come to a decision as to where it could be held.

But for now, Ukrainians are focused on what it feels like to be victorious and what it could symbolise in the future.

“We have won Eurovision, we will win the war with Russia!,” Ms Khvalyboga said.

THE ODD BEAUTY OF EELS

By Marie-Amélie Carpio

Capturing underwater beauty is routine for David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes, who have explored some of the most spectacular reefs on the planet. Yet a colony of garden eels they encountered off the Philippines coast brought back memories. “I began my career at National Geographic in 1971 with a story on garden eels in the Red Sea,” said Doubilet, a Nat Geo Explorer. Taking these images, he said, “was like coming home.”

Garden eels are both social and shy. They live in individual burrows yet form colonies and rise together out of their burrows to feed on plankton carried by the current. (Pictured above, a two-spot wrasse and a cornerfish, unthreatening to the eels, swim through a colony.)

“It’s mesmerizing to watch hundreds of eels waving and undulating in an ancient exotic dance,” says Doubilet. Yet “that ends abruptly when the eels detect the slightest movement of an unwelcome intruder. The vast colony vanishes back into the sand as if it never existed.”

To capture the scene above, the photographers had to—quite literally—disappear.

“Jennifer settled on the Trojan Horse strategy,” Doubilet explains. Hayes placed a rock the same size and color of their camera housing near the edge of the colony and left it for a day. The eels apparently accepted the rock—and rose from their burrows. The next morning, she put the camera housing there, left—and then filmed.

Dinner interrupted: A hawksbill turtle stops eating sponges to confront its reflection in the lens. The turtle finds the sponges tucked under coral.

The vibrant coral: A pink soft coral and a bone-colored chalice coral are surrounded by anthias off Pescador Island, near Cebu. The photographers say the healthiest reefs in the Philippines are as vibrant with life as any they have seen.

Trying to save the young: A titan triggerfish, exhausted after battling to defend the eggs in its nest, lies down in a last attempt to save its young from moon wrasses. The robust corals on this reef attract a stunning array of sea life.

National Geographic

Forgot their thinking caps

If you ever feel a little bit stupid, just dig this up and read it again; you’ll begin to think you’re a genius..

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(On September 17, 1994, Alabama’s Heather Whitestone was selected as Miss America 1995.)

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?

Answer: “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,”

–Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

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“Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.”

–Mariah Carey

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“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life,”

— Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign

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“I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body,”

–Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

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“Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,”

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“That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it,”

–A congressional candidate in Texas ..

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“Half this game is ninety percent mental.”

–Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

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“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it..”

–Al Gore, Vice President

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“I love California . I practically grew up in Phoenix ..”

— Dan Quayle

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“We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?”

–Lee Iacocca

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“The word “genius” isn’t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

–Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.

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“We don’t necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.”

— Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.

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“Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 2020 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.”

–Department of Social Services, Greenville , South Carolina

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“Traditionally, most of Australia ‘s imports come from overseas.”

–Keppel Enderbery

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“If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there’ll be a record.”

— Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

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Trump Tweets”

Into Death Valley

Death Valley is a desert valley in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert, bordering the Great Basin Desert. During summer, it is one of the hottest places on Earth, along with deserts in the Middle East and the Sahara.

Death Valley’s Badwater Basin is the point of lowest elevation in North America, at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. It is 84.6 miles (136.2 km) east-southeast of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States, with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). On the afternoon of July 10, 1913, the United States Weather Bureau recorded a high temperature of 134 °F (56.7 °C) at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, which stands as the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth. This reading, however, and several others taken in that period, a century ago, are disputed by some modern-day experts.

The Pink Lake of Australia

Lake Hillier is a saline lake on the edge of Middle Island, the largest of the islands and islets that make up the Recherche Archipelago in the Goldfields-Esperance region, off the south coast of Western Australia. It is particularly notable for its pink colour. A long and thin shore divides the Southern Ocean from the lake.

Lake-Hillier-Landscape

Lake Hillier is about 600 metres (2,000 ft) in length by about 250 m (820 ft) in width. The lake is surrounded by a rim of sand and a dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees with a narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separating its northern edge from the northern coast of Middle Island. The most notable feature of the lake is its pink colour. The vibrant colour is permanent, and does not alter when the water is taken in a container. The pink colour is considered to be due to the presence of the organism Dunaliella salina. Air is the best mode of transportation for viewing the lake. At one point in its history the lake was used to collect salt.

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Lake Hillier was visited by the Matthew Flinders’ expedition on 15 January 1802. Flinders’ journal entries are considered to be the first written records of the lake. Flinders observed the pink lake after ascending the island’s highest peak (now called Flinders Peak), describing the lake as follows:

In the north-eastern part was a small lake of a rose colour, the water of which, as I was informed by Mr. Thistle who visited it, was so saturated with salt that sufficient quantities were crystallised near the shores to load a ship. The specimen he brought on board was of a good quality, and required no other process than drying to be fit for use.

Flinders visited Middle Island again in May 1803; he intended “to stop a day or two in Goose-Island Bay, for the purposes of procuring geese for our sick people, seal oil for our lamps, and a few casks of salt from the lake on Middle Island”. It is reported that Flinders subsequently named the lake after William Hillier, a crew member of Investigator who died of dysentery on 20 May 1803 prior to the expedition’s departure from Middle Island.

In 1889, Edward Andrews investigated the commercial possibilities of producing salt from Lake Hillier, and briefly moved onto the island with both of his sons. They left after working the salt deposits for about one year.

The lake was subject to salt mining during the late 19th century. The salt mining enterprise is reported as failing for a number of reasons including “the toxicity of the salt collected for consumption”.

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The only living organisms in Lake Hillier are microorganisms including Dunaliella salina, which causes the salt content in the lake to create a red dye which helps produce the colour, as well as red halophilic bacteria present in the salt crusts. Despite the unusual hue, the lake exhibits no known adverse effects upon humans. From above, the lake appears a solid bubble gum pink, but from the shoreline it appears more of a clear pink hue. The shoreline is also covered in salt crust deposits.

Despite the high salt content levels (comparable to those of the Dead Sea), Lake Hillier is safe to swim in. However, there are very few ways to reach Lake Hillier. Aeroplane scenic flights are the most common method, with 6 flights a day departing Esperance Airport, flying over Lake Hillier via the nearby Cape Le Grand National Park. Cruises are also an option for passengers wanting to visit the isolated lake, and surrounding forest area.

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Giant sinkhole with a forest inside found in China

A team of Chinese scientists has discovered a giant new sinkhole with a forest at its bottom. 

The sinkhole is 630 feet (192 meters) deep, according to the Xinhua news agency, deep enough to just swallow St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. A team of speleologists and spelunkers rappelled into the sinkhole on Friday (May 6), discovering that there are three cave entrances in the chasm, as well as ancient trees 131 feet (40 m) tall, stretching their branches toward the sunlight that filters through the sinkhole entrance.

“This is cool news,” said George Veni, the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in the U.S., and an international expert on caves. Veni was not involved in the exploration of the cave, but the organization that was, the Institute of Karst Geology of the China Geological Survey, is NCKRI’s sister institute.

A site for sinkholes

This image shows a typical karst sinkhole called a tiankeng in Chongqing, China. (Image credit: Eastimages/Getty Images)
The discovery is no surprise, Veni told Live Science, because southern China is home to karst topography, a landscape prone to dramatic sinkholes and otherworldly caves. Karst landscapes are formed primarily by the dissolution of bedrock, Veni said. Rainwater, which is slightly acidic, picks up carbon dioxide as it runs through the soil, becoming more acidic. It then trickles, rushes and flows through cracks in the bedrock, slowly widening them into tunnels and voids. Over time, if a cave chamber gets large enough, the ceiling can gradually collapse, opening up huge sinkholes.

“Because of local differences in geology, climate and other factors, the way karst appears at the surface can be dramatically different,” he said. “So in China you have this incredibly visually spectacular karst with enormous sinkholes and giant cave entrances and so forth. In other parts of the world you walk out on the karst and you really don’t notice anything. Sinkholes might be quite subdued, only a meter or two in diameter. Cave entrances might be very small, so you have to squeeze your way into them.” 

In fact, 25% of the United States is karst or pseudokarst, which features caves carved by factors other than dissolution, such as volcanics or wind, Veni said. About 20% of the world’s landmass is made of one of these two cave-rich landscapes. 

The new discovery took place in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, near Ping’e village in the county of Leye, according to Xinhua. Guangxi is known for its fabulous karst formations, which range from sinkholes to rock pillars to natural bridges and have earned the region UNESCO world heritage site designation.

Why sinkholes matter

The sinkhole’s interior is 1,004 feet (306 m) long and 492 feet (150 m) wide, Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer with the Institute of Karst Geology, told Xinhua. The Mandarin word for such enormous sinkholes is “tiankeng,” or “heavenly pit,” and the bottom of the sinkhole did indeed seem like another world. Chen Lixin, who led the cave expedition team, told Xinhua that the dense undergrowth on the sinkhole floor was as high as a person’s shoulders. Karst caves and sinkholes can provide an oasis for life, Veni said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now,” Lixin said. 

In one West Texas cave, Veni said, tropical ferns grow abundantly; the spores of the ferns were apparently carried to the sheltered spot by bats that migrate to South and Central America.

Not only do sinkholes and caves offer refuge for life, they are also a conduit to aquifers, or deep stores of underground water. Karst aquifers provide the sole or primary water source for 700 million people worldwide, Veni said. But they’re easily accessed and drained — or polluted.

“Karst aquifers are the only types of aquifers that you can pollute with solid waste,” Veni said. “I’ve pulled car batteries and car bodies and barrels of God-knows-what and bottles of God-knows-what out of the active cave stream.” 

The new discovery brings the number of sinkholes in Leye County to 30, according to Xinhua. The same researchers have previously discovered dozens of sinkholes in Northwest China’s Shaanxi province and a cluster of interconnected sinkholes in Guangxi, China Daily reported.

Minimum Wage and Beer Purchase Power

Below are the 10 states with the highest alcohol consumption.

10. South Dakota (2.87 gallons per capita)

9. Idaho (2.92 gallons per capita)

8. Alaska (2.94 gallons per capita)

7. Wisconsin (2.98 gallons per capita)

6. Vermont (3.08 gallons per capita)

5. Montana (3.11 gallons per capita)

4. North Dakota (3.26 gallons per capita)

3. Nevada (3.46 gallons per capita)

2. Delaware (3.72 gallons per capita)

1. New Hampshire (4.76 gallons per capita)

The Super Volcano that could change everything

The supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US is far larger than was previously thought, scientists report.

A study shows that the magma chamber is about 2.5 times bigger than earlier estimates suggested.

A team found the cavern stretches for more than 90km (55 miles) and contains 200-600 cubic km of molten rock.

The findings are being presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Prof Bob Smith, from the University of Utah, said: “We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would thought it would be bigger… but this finding is astounding.”

If the Yellowstone supervolcano were to blow today, the consequences would be catastrophic.

The last major eruption, which occurred 640,000 years ago, sent ash across the whole of North America, affecting the planet’s climate.

Now researchers believe they have a better idea of what lies beneath the ground.

The team used a network of seismometers that were situated around the park to map the magma chamber.

Dr Jamie Farrell, from the University of Utah, explained: “We record earthquakes in and around Yellowstone, and we measure the seismic waves as they travel through the ground.

“The waves travel slower through hot and partially molten material… with this, we can measure what’s beneath.”

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The team found that the magma chamber was colossal. Reaching depths of between 2km and 15km (1 to 9 miles), the cavern was about 90km (55 miles) long and 30km (20 miles) wide.It pushed further into the north east of the park than other studies had previously shown, holding a mixture of solid and molten rock.

“To our knowledge there has been nothing mapped of that size before,” added Dr Farrell.

The researchers are using the findings to better assess the threat that the volatile giant poses.

“Yes, it is a much larger system… but I don’t think it makes the Yellowstone hazard greater,” explained Prof Bob Smith.

“But what it does tell us is more about the area to the north east of the caldera.”

He added that researchers were unsure when the supervolcano would blow again.

Some believe a massive eruption is overdue, estimating that Yellowstone’s volcano goes off every 700,000 years or so.

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Although fascinating, the new findings do not imply increased geologic hazards at Yellowstone, and certainly do not increase the chances of a ‘supereruption’ in the near future. Contrary to some media reports, Yellowstone is not ‘overdue’ for a supereruption.

Media reports were more hyperbolic in their coverage.

A study published in GSA Today, the monthly news and science magazine of the Geological Society of America, identified three fault zones where future eruptions are most likely to be centered. Two of those areas are associated with lava flows aged 174,000–70,000 years, and the third is a focus of present-day seismicity.

In 2017, NASA conducted a study to determine the feasibility of preventing the volcano from erupting. The results suggested that cooling the magma chamber by 35 percent would be enough to forestall such an incident. NASA proposed introducing water at high pressure 10 kilometers underground. The circulating water would release heat at the surface, possibly in a way that could be used as a geothermal power source. If enacted, the plan would cost about $3.46 billion. On the other hand, according to Brian Wilson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, such a project might trigger rather than prevent an eruption.