Earth Science Pic of the Day for Mar. 7 – Tiny World in a Fallen Drop

Tiny World in a Fallen Drop

March 07, 2012

A tiny world in a fallen drop

Photographer: Thalia Traianou; Thalia’s Web site
Summary Author: Thalia Traianou; Jim Foster

This photo shows a pearl-like drop of water just breaking its bond with an ice stalactite (icicle). It was taken in the city of Florina, Greece in late December. Since the liquid drop behaves as would a simple lens, the refracted image of the tree branches and fence is inverted when viewed through the drop. The drop’s spherical shape results because surface tension minimizes its surface area. Thanks to Paul Gaintatzis for help with the image processing.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon EOS 500D; Focal Length: 40mm; Aperture: f/5.6; Exposure Time: 0.0003 s (1/4000); ISO equiv: 400; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Spot; Exposure: Manual; Exposure Mode: Manual; White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Windows.

Earth Science Pic of the Day for December 8th

Searles Lake Pink Halite

December 08, 2011

SearlesLakeP1000909 copy

Photographer: Nel Graham
Summary Author: Nel Graham; Jim Foster

This unique pink halite was collected in brine pools at Searles Lake in Trona, California. The halite is colored by millions of halobacteria that survive inside salt crust and by algae (greenish crystals) that live in the extremely saline waters of the lake. Searles Lake is the remains of a large lake that was formerly fed by the Owens River in rainier times. Since it’s now an endorheic lake (closed drainage system), its water is considerably saltier than lakes fed by freshwater rivers — more than 5 times the salinity of sea water.

Every year on the second weekend in October the company that owns and mines the area for evaporite minerals opens it up for public collecting. This event is well known locally by rock hounds in Southern California and is always well attended. Photo taken on October 9, 2011.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Panasonic; Camera Model: DMC-TZ4; Focal Length: 5.0mm (35mm equivalent: 39mm); Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: program (Auto); White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB; Software: Ver.1.0.

Earth Science Pic of the Day for Sept. 18th – Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss

September 18, 2011

Spanish moss
Photographer
: Michelle J. Williams
Summary Authors: Michelle J. Williams; Stu Witmer

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is neither Spanish nor a true moss. It’s actually a member of the pineapple family, found in southern North America, the West Indies, and Central and South America. It often hangs in large, beard-like, silvery-gray masses from trees and other plants and even on utility poles, but it’s not parasitic nor structurally intertwined with its host. An air-feeding plant or epiphyte, it takes in carbon dioxide and rainwater or dew for photosynthesis through tiny, hairy scales that cover its slender leaves and long, delicate stems. It absorbs nutrients from dust and solvents in rainwater, or from decaying organic matter around its aerial roots. Spanish moss was used by Henry Ford to fill the upholstery in his Model T’s. Allegedly, the “Spanish” in the name got started because early French settlers in Louisiana thought the moss looked like the beards of the earlier Spanish explorers. Photo taken near Monroe, Louisiana on May 5, 2011.

Photo details: Camera Maker: OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.; Camera Model: SP600UZ; Focal Length: 16mm (35mm equivalent: 89mm); Aperture: f/4.5; Exposure Time: 0.017 s (1/60); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: program (Auto); White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced);
Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB.