July, 2011 Archives

Erupting Volcanic Paradise: Lava Rivers & Spatter Fountains of Hawaii [48 PICS]

July 30th, 2011 Permalink

Volcanic activity is spiking in Hawaii and people are flocking there to see the spectacular show. Visitors, both regular folks and scientists, to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are able to witness the active volcanic personality and the formation of new cinder cones, glowing pit craters, rivers of lava and fountains of spatter. This volcanic paradise shows off 70 million years of volcanism, but was only established as a National Park in 1916. It stretches over 333,086 acres (505.36 square miles) and has two active volcanoes. While KÄ«lauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been in nearly continuous eruption since 1983, Mauna Loa is the world’s most massive volcano. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has seven ecological zones, was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and became a World Heritage Site in 1987. Welcome to the Big Island and volcanic paradise! We love these pics! [48 Photos]

Lava erupting from the Pu`u `O`o vent

View at dusk of the young Pu’u ‘O’o cinder-and-spatter cone. The fantastic fountain on Kilauea, Hawaii, is shooting up about 40 m high. Photo #1 by G.E. Ulrich/USGS

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Welcome to Hell: Wicked Sand Demons from Dante’s Inferno [46 PICS]

July 21st, 2011 Permalink

Dante’s Inferno – welcome to hell, a mixture of culture and amazingly intricate and evil sand sculpture art. Dante Alighieri wrote the 14th-century epic poem in which Inferno, meaning hell in Italian, is the first part of his Divine Comedy. The International Sand Sculpture Festival was held in Venice, Italy, on the beach of Jesolo Lido. The Sultans of Sand Worldwide brought together 18 incredibly talented master sand sculptors from 9 countries. 2,000 tons of sand were used to craft 24 different scenes from the 9 circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Some of these wildly wicked sculptures stood over 4 meters (13 feet) high and were built in only 10 days! While professional sand sculptors can carve out both amazing and sometimes bizarre creations, the intricate designs of these giant sand demons make this one of the most mind-blowing, bizarre, and unforgettable International Sand Sculpture Festivals ever. A very special thank you to photographers Marco Rizzetto and Gael Reignier for granting me permission to post their copyrighted pictures that show off all 9 circles of Dante’s Inferno. Get ready to traipse through the nine levels, “circles,” of hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. [46 Photos]

sand demon sculpture - Dante's Inferno

Beyond the scorching sands of the desert lie the gates to hell. Welcome to hell, or at least a sandy version of Dante’s Inferno. Evil sand sculptures brought to you from master sand sculptors. Photo #1 by smo9monster at Skull Brain

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Animal Safari: Wildlife that makes you say WOW! [40 PICS]

July 14th, 2011 Permalink

Africa is not the only place on Earth to go on a safari, but it surely offers some of the best safari adventures around. Most of the African safari reserves have all the big five animals: the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. It’s now always easy to get photos of all on them on one safari, especially the nocturnal leopard. But these photographers did a great job of sharing with us the beautiful beasts they captured with their camera while on safari. So sit back and relax, let’s do some animal watching on this virtual safari. [40 Photos]

On Safari - Leopard in Heat

While on Safari in Africa, the photographer snapped a shot of this female leopard up in a tress and in heat. The male approached on the ground, but she “made an even louder racket and let out a loud bark at him.” So the male turned away and sauntered off. She jumped down and followed him. ;-) Photo #1 by Steve Jurvetson

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Cool Ride, Bro! [40 PICS]

July 11th, 2011 Permalink

What did you do at work today? Although I wish I could have, I surely didn’t help “save the world.” What did you drive? I’m not sure about you, but I mostly drove a keyboard. Certainly nothing as exciting as these guys and gals did. Military photographers have captured some spectacular and very cool images to show a day in the life of our U.S. troops. These photos show some definite cool rides and slick tricks that show how the U.S. military goes to work and some of what they do. [40 Photos]

An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 breaks the sound barrier during an air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. U.S. Navy Photo #1 by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis K. Mendoza

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Lost Incan City of Machu Picchu: 100 Years after Discovery by ‘Indiana Jones’

July 8th, 2011 Permalink

Peru is celebrating 100 years since the rediscovery of Machu Picchu by Yale professor Hiram Bingham III. On July 24, 1911, the American, who some believe was later the “model” for Indiana Jones, stumbled upon jungle-and-vine-coated ruins during an expedition to find an ancient Inca Empire in the Andes mountains. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. In 2007, it was crowned as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World via a worldwide Internet vote. To mark the Machu Picchu centennial celebration, here is a collection of pictures from the “Lost City of the Incas.”
[46 Photos]

Early morning in wonderful Machu Picchu

Early morning in wonderful Machu Picchu, a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. Most archaeologists think Machu Picchu was built around AD 1400 as “an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti” and is often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas.” It is probably the most familiar icon of the Inca World. Around the time of the Spanish Conquest in 1572, the Incas abandoned their empire and the Peruvian jungle swallowed Machu Picchu. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 by American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham. There are about 140 structures or features, ranging from temples, to sanctuaries, parks, and residences, with more than 100 flights of stone steps carved from a single block of granite. Photo #1 by Pedro Szekely

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Happy Birthday USA! Celebrating Fireworks & Independence Day with our Troops

July 2nd, 2011 Permalink

Happy Birthday America! We had hoped to show you something a little bit different than the same old firework display photos you see all over cyberspace. Military photographers have captured some very cool, unique, and patriotic shots of our troops and how they celebrate Independence Day. Most of their shots below are tagged with the military photographer’s description of the scene. From picnics to parties, Americans celebrate the nation’s birthday in many different ways. Are you small town or big city July 4th firework celebration type person? How do watch the firework displays? On your back on a blanket? Sitting in chairs or stadiums? Near a body of water, or are you the “official” lighter of family fireworks? However you celebrate America’s Independence and birthday, please spare a happy thought in support of our troops and their families. Have fun! Enjoy the fireworks! This our little patriotic tribute. We love the USA and we love these pics! [46 Fantastic Photos]

Celebrating the 4th

A C-130 Hercules from the Air Force Reserve Command’s 440th Airlift Wing at General Mitchell Air Reserve Station, Wis., sits on the ramp during a 4th of July fireworks display taking place in a neighboring community. U.S. Air Force Photo #1 by Joe Oliva

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Olympic National Park: One of the wildest places left in the USA [36 PICS]

July 1st, 2011 Permalink

Olympic National Park in Washington offers a bit of everything for nature lovers, hikers and adventurers like Pacific Ocean beaches, rain forest valleys, glacier-capped peaks and a dazzling diversity of plants and animals. 95% of this park is still wilderness, making Olympic Wilderness one of the wildest places left in the lower 48 states. The National Park Service says, “This year, nearly 40,000 people will camp in the Olympic Wilderness and several hundred thousand people will take day hikes and walks. Olympic is fragile. But if we care for Olympic, we can preserve its wildness and grandeur for future generations.” In this awe-inspiring national park, visitors can go from glacier, to marvelous moss-draped wilderness, to the sea in one amazing day. [36 Photos]

Olympic National Park - Maple Glade Trail

Maple Glade Trail. It’s supposed to be a humbling experience to stand amidst such giants in the ancient forests of Olympic National Park. Photo #1 by rachel_thecat

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