26 April 2008

National Geographic Adventure - Exquisite Earth

"The [Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary] extends from the high tidemark of five islands—San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara—to six miles (9.7 kilometers) off their shores, taking in 1,658 square miles (2,668 kilometers) of Pacific Ocean."

In Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Kilauea erupts sending lava high into the air. This molten rock comes from deep within the Earth, where residual heat from the planet's formation combines with heat from the gradual decay of radioactive elements trapped below.

"Mushroom cloud of stone erupts in the Ténéré desert, remnant of its watery past. This pedestal rock began as a mass of pebbly sandstone. Its sculptors were cycles of hot and cold, wet and dry, as well as blowing sand, which caused the sloughing off of shards scattered at the base."

This lonely mangrove clings to the earth with its massive roots. Cape York Peninsula is a land of extremes—scorched in one season and sodden in the next. Five months of monsoon rains causes rivers to burst their banks, then they evaporate during seven months of withering drought

Fed by the 100-plus inches (254 centimeters) of rain per year that fall in Olympic National Park, evergreen trees rise above the fog that fills this Olympic Mountain's valley.

"A water lily carpeted pond edges Grayling Lake Trail, north of Seward, Alaska. One of the lakes along the trail abounds in grayling, surface feeders with long dorsal fins."

Thinning reeds open to a watery view of Florida's Everglades National Park. Native Americans knew the Everglades as Pa-May-Okee ("grassy water").

Home to a variety of animals, including kangaroos and wallabies, the rock basin known as Wilpena Pound was carved from ancient mountains by erosion. The high walls of rock are made of weather-resistant quartzite.

"Sunlight glints on the bearded face of Gangotri Glacier high in the Himalayas at the source of the Ganges River. Many Hindus believe the goddess-river fell from heaven, tamed by the god Shiva, who trapped her Earth-threatening torrent in his matted locks."

About 74,000 years ago, a volcano erupted and collapsed in on itself on Sumatra. The resulting crater later filled with water and became known as Lake Toba.


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