Saturday, 19 January 2013


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Best Earth Images of the Week - Jan. 18, 2013
Our Amazing Planet, 18 January 2013.

1. Shooting space station?

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Credit: Scott McGuire | Photography |

The International Space Station shoots across the sky as the full moon shines over Half Dome at Yosemite National Park in this beautiful image.

Scott McGuire took this photo on Oct. 28, 2012 from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, California. He used a Pentax K-5 camera and a Pentax 15mm Limited lens to capture the photo.

2. Value acknowledged

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With six vast ridges arcing more than a half-mile, the Poverty Point prehistoric site in Louisiana is one of a kind.

The massive earthworks has now been nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its cultural significance.

3. Stalled storm

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A cold front sweeping across the United States stalled out over the East Coast today (Jan. 17), causing flash floods in the Southeast and bringing heavy snows to the North.

The mass of cold air is dropping snow across the southern Appalachians and into parts of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, reported. Flash floods are hitting parts of eastern Tennessee and the Carolinas.

4. At risk again

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One of Hawaii's iconic plants is again at risk.

The striking and rare Haleakalā silversword, found only on the high volcanic slopes of Maui, is on the decline, scientists report today (Jan. 15) in the journal Global Change Biology.

5. Yak attack back

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Yaks are coming back. At least they are in a remote reserve on the Tibetan Plateau.

Researchers recently counted nearly 1,000 wild yaks in a rugged northern area of the plateau known as Hoh Xil, which is nearly the size of West Virginia and has very few human residents, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped conduct the census.

6. Lava levels way up

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The orange glow atop Hawaii's Mount Kilauea was a little stronger yesterday (Jan. 15) than it has been in recent weeks. The volcano's lava lake lapped over the inner ledge of its vent, reaching a new high and bring molten rock closer than ever to the floor of Halema'uma'u crater.

The level was about 80 feet (25 meters) below the crater floor, the highest level reached since the summit vent blasted open in March 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. The lava lake last surged on Oct. 23, 2012, when the high mark was measured at 100 feet (31 m) below the crater floor.

7. Cold and windy

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Just how cold is it in the Southwest? The answer, my friends, is blowin' all the way to Kansas.

NASA's Aqua satellite spotted the bitter cold front now sweeping through the Rocky Mountains on Jan. 11. The descending mass of frigid air drove winds that scooped up dust in the Colorado Front Ranges and carried it through the air to Kansas. Cold, dense air wedging under warmer air can create strong wind gusts.

8. A chill in the air

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Known for hot temperatures, Southern California and the rest of the Southwest United States are undergoing a cold snap that has set records in many areas throughout the region.

Los Angeles set a record daily low of 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) this morning (Jan. 14), the coldest it's been in 22 years, according to the National Weather Service. Water pipes also froze and burst in Las Vegas, where the mercury dropped to nearly 17 F (minus 8 C), according to news reports.

9. More Awwww! than AAAHHH!

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There's one word that can make any hiker's blood turn cold: bear.

Deep inside America's most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a photographer caught this candid shot of a black bear napping in a tree. The bear doesn't seem all that impressed by the photographer, barely opening its eyes for the shot. That's not uncommon for black bears, which are more likely to avoid confrontation than grizzlies (or brown bears, as they are sometimes called). Black bears are more interested in food than humans.

[Source: Our Amazing Planet. Edited.]

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