Tag archives for Geology
The Namibian sand was calling our name so we grabbed our Kalahari Ferraris (sand boards) and hit the dunes. My heart was thumping in my chest as I was hanging over the slip face. I didn’t even have time to catch my breath and they pushed me over the edge. Each of our seven runs was steeper and faster than the last.
After our adrenaline buzz we wandered the beach and streets of Swakopmund and came across the world’s largest quartz crystal cluster. It is estimated to be about 520 million years old and weighs 14,100 kilograms. Namibia is home to some of the world’s most fine gemstones.
Our next stop was Cape Cross, home to over 100,000 cape fur seals; half of them were one month old pups. The moment we saw the seals our mouths dropped open. Many of the adorable pups were taking their first swim in the ocean and you could tell they were having a ball.
Then something awesome yet scary happened, we were charged by a seal. He was trapped in the pathway and thought we were in his territory. At first it was kind of fun having the seal be so close to us but when he bared his teeth we ran as fast as we could to the truck.
Next we were off to
Brandberg, home of the desert elephant. On our way we visited a local Himba village and learned about their culture and purchased some traditional crafts. The Himba people rub their bodies in a red ochre and fat to protect them from the harsh desert climate. Arriving in Brandberg we were greeted by Bonnie the meerkat and Peanut the talking bird.
The next morning we set out for a sunrise game drive. “ELEPHANT!” is what Everest screamed when he saw a massive bull only ten feet away from us. We drove on and saw another 30 incredible elephants; Moms, Dads, and lots of little calves.
After an epic elephant experience we went back in time 6,000 years to when the local Bushmen roamed the land. There were ancient rock engravings that they used to inform the other tribes what animals were in the area, what animals they were hunting, and to teach the children about the animals. The engravings at Twyfelfontein were very stark but had a beauty about them. My favorites were the engravings of the giraffe. Did you know the Bushmen never killed the giraffe because they thought the giraffe had long necks to speak to the sky gods who brought the rain? Africa couldn’t be more amazing!
Scientists studying rock samples have evidence that gold was delivered to Earth’s surface by meteors! The evidence indicates that about 3.9 billion years ago, a huge “firestorm” of meteors brought gold and other precious metals to the planet.
Photograph by Wally Pacholka, TWAN
On May 18, 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington State erupted. The eruption (which was heard hundreds of miles away) blew off the top of the mountain, destroyed miles of forest, and killed 57 people.
In the 30 years since the eruption, scientists have been able to study how an ecosystem recovers from a volcanic eruption. What was once a desolate, gray blast zone in 1980 is now home to many plants and animals. Although it has not had an eruption of the same size since 1980, Mount St. Helens is one of the most active volcanoes in the United States and could erupt again.
Read more about the potential danger from Mount St. Helens on National Geographic News.
See a gallery of images of Mount St. Helens on National Geographic.
Think you know volcanoes? Quiz Your Noodle and prove it!
Photograph by Peter Lipman, USGS and Gene Iwatsubo, USGS