Fossilized Lightning

Fossilized Lightning Lightning must hover near the top of any list of the most ephemeral phenomena. The discharge of static electricity during storms is so fast we use it in one of our most cliched idioms: lightning quick. On the other end of the spectrum are entities that persist for long durations, such as rocks or […]

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Bimini Road

Bimini Road In the works Timaeus and Critias, the Greek philosopher Plato briefly mentioned an island as an allegory for excessive self-confidence. The people on this landmass sported a massive navy, which attempted to destroy Plato’s version of an ideal state, Athens. The gods did not smile upon these people, so the deities inundated the island with so

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Bowling Ball Beach

Bowling Ball Beach Among the splendor of coastal California lies a unique stretch of beach. Approximately 100 miles north of San Francisco and 170 miles south of Redwood National Park, bizarre spheres dot the coarse sand below picturesque sea cliffs. One might wonder if the colossus from Giant’s Causeway in Ireland had dropped into the Golden State

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The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood The Mediterranean Sea is massive, covering 2.5 million square kilometers (970,000 square miles). It contains 3.75 cubic kilometers of water, enough to fill more than 310 copies of Lake Superior. The body has nourished some of the planet’s greatest civilizations, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks to

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The Pillars of Hercules

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

The Pillars of Hercules The Mediterranean Sea stood at the center of the world for many archaic cultures of Europe, Asia, and Africa. To the Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, and all but the most intrepid Phoenician Sailors, the western reaches of the great sea represented the end of the world. This area reportedly bore the slogan Ne

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The Atlantic Fall Line

The Atlantic Fall Line The United Nations estimate that approximately 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of an ocean. A Reddit user named gnfnrf performed some back-of-the-napkin calculations and determined this area accounts for somewhere between 1.5% and 12.15% of Earth’s total landmass (measurements of coastline are notoriously difficult to determine), meaning people pack

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The Abyss of Time

The Abyss of Time   “The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time.”  — John Playfair“We find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end” — James Hutton Perhaps no physical phenomenon befuddles the human mind as much as time. Whether the result of unknown properties or the inability

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This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series New Mexico

Shiprock Today we travel to the northwest section of New Mexico, just southeast of the Four Corners, to visit a unique form that rises from the desert. Topping at 7,177 feet and rising 1,583 above the surrounding plain is the gargantuan Shiprock. Shiprock – photo by Bowie Snodgrass Shiprock’s location in New Mexico – Map by

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The Center Spins

The Center Spins A couple of years ago we learned we might need to reevaluate the layout of the planet that we learn in grade school. Instead of the quartet of crust, mantle, liquid outer core, and solid inner core, researchers used waves from earthquakes to determine the inner core might actually be comprised of two distinct

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