Thursday, 29 July 2010

Top 10 Famous Live Volcanoes In The World

Volcanic eruptions are deadly yet very beautiful and breathtaking sights. For some reason they bring to mind images of spirits of the earth coming to punish people for violating nature’s laws. Thanks to multiple studies and experiments scientists have learned how to predict the time of volcanic eruptions, so citizens of nearby villages and towns can now be evacuated before volcanic ash and lava turn their homes to ashes. In our post today we will tell you about active living volcanoes, which by the way have become one of the most popular attractions for tourists. This is risky, but isn’t it what makes us feel alive?

10.Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano located in Andes Mountains. It is the highest active volcano in the world (5,897 m) and the second highest summit in Ecuador. Cotopaxi distinguishes itself with a riot of greenery at its foot and a graceful crater. It is also considered the most dangerous of active volcanoes. There have been more than 50 eruptions of Cotopaxi Since 1738. Its eruption activity causes destruction of the neighboring town of Lacatunga. The volcano has been relatively inactive since 1904. This is what makes Cotopaxi the most popular attraction for climbers, bikers and tourists. In traditional Tigua paintings, Cotopaxi is usually depicted as an integral part of cultural life.

9.Popocatépētl, Mexico

Popocatépētl (also called as Popo and Don Goyo) is an active stratovolcano in Mexico. It reaches its highest peak at 5,426 m and is the second highest summit in the country. Popocatépētl got its name from nāhuatl words “popōca” (smoke) and tepētl (“mountain”) which means “Smoking Mountain” and fully describes its behavior. Until the nineties, Popo was a favorite recreational snowboarding center for citizens. In 1947 it began its new cycle of activity with a major eruption that year. It is now monitored by scientists attentively. The residents of neighboring towns enjoy the views of snow-whitey mountains of Popocatépētl during most of the year.

8.Etna, Sicily

Etna (which means “mountain of fire” in Arabic) is the highest and the most active volcano in Europe (3,326 m). It is known to havehad about 200 eruptions during its lifetime. An interesting fact is that Etna changes in height from eruption to eruption. For instance, now it is 21.6 m lower than in 1865. Each 150 years, Etna destroys one of the neighbor settlements, but despite this fact the nearby territories are densely populated. The thing is that cold lava makes the soil extremely fertile which provides great conditions to raise vineyards, other fruits, and olives. Recently, Etna has been deeply analyzed by scientists who claim that “Friendly Etna” is becoming more and more dangerous.

7.Llaima, Chile

Llaima is the largest and most active volcano in Chile at 3,125 m. Llaima stands for “Bloody Veins” (in mapuche, Indian). It resembles those bloody veins when you see streams of glowing lava flowing from the peak. Major eruptions are dated to 1994, 2008 and 2009. An eruption in 2008 forced the area to undertake evacuation measures to protect people from nearby settlements. A strong column of the eruption’s ashes traveled east and reached the Atlantic Ocean in around 4 days. During its inactive phase, Llaima stands in the beauty of the Araucária forests growing on the slopes with a strong snowy cover stretching 1,200 m high. There is the ski recreation center on the western side of the volcano.

6.Gunung Merapi, Indonesia

Gurung Merapi (meaning Mountain of Fire) is an active conical volcano located on the border between Central Java and the Yogyakarta Province of Indonesia. Its height is 2,914 m. Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia with regular major eruptions every 7 years and minor ones every 2 years. The latest eruptions of Merapi that caused major fatalities were in 1930, 1974 and 1975. Several fatal incidents with tourists and volcanologists’ have occurred in addition to fatalities from major eruptions. Despite the peaceful phases of inactivity, the smoke coming from the top can be observed almost every day. It always reminds residents about the resting danger.

5.Piton de la Fournaise, Mascarene Islands

Piton de la Fournaise is a shield active volcano on the Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean at 2,631 m in height. Currently it is known as the most active volcano in the world. One of its recent eruptions lasted for almost 6 months from August 2006 until January 2007. The next eruptions were observed in February 2007, September 2008, and the most recent one happened on January 12, 2010. Piton de la Fournaise is connected to civilization with a highway — a high quality road which makes this famous place of attraction available to visitors. Piton de la Fournaise is depicted on the unofficial flag of the Reunion Islands.

4.Redoubt Mount, Alaska

Redoubt is an active and recently eruptive stratovolcano in the U.S. state of Alaska. It stands at 2,700 m. It has reached its strongest activity in the 20th century in 1902, 1966 and 1989. During the last eruption in 2009, 6 explosions were recorded which sent an ash plume more than 9 miles into the air. This was the biggest volcanic emissions in nearly 20 years. The official name of the mountain is an English translation of the Russian name “Sopka Redutskaya” which stands for “a fortified place.” Thsi name was given to the mountain in 1981 by the Board of Geographical Names.

3.Ruapehu, New Zealand

Ruapehu is an active stratovolcano in New Zealand, standing at 2,797 m. It contains three summits with an active crater located between them. It is considered to be one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the largest active volcano in New Zealand. Ruapehu got its name from a Maori world which means “exploding abyss.” The last eruption is dated to the 25th of September in 2007 andit happened without warning. It’s documented that Ruapehu has been at level 1 (according to the Richter scale) since 1997. Despite this phase of unrest and unpredictability, Ruapehu is visited quite often. It’s highly recommended that visitors be prepared and have basic survival equipment on-hand.

2.Semeru, Island of Java

Mount Semeru is the highest mountain on the Island of Java and its most active one. Semeru’s height is 3,676 m. It features a crater lake through the summit line. Since 1818 there have been around 55 eruptions recorded (with 10 of them resulting in fatalities). The continuous activity of this volcano has been recorded since 1967, with it exhibiting regular ash, smoke, and explosions every 30-50 minutes at times. The official name of the volcano is derived from “-meru” (the name of a central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology) and the prefix su-, resulting in the meaning “wonderful Meru.” Though it’s known to be in a near-constant eruption state, Mount Semeru is regularly climbed by tourists.

1.Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland

The Eyjafjallajokull volcano, one of Iceland's largest, had been dormant for nearly two centuries before returning gently to life in the late evening of March 20, 2010, noticeable at first not by any great seismic activity but by the emergence of a red cloud glowing above the vast glacier that covers it. In the following days, fire fountains jetted from a dozen vents on the volcano, reaching as high as 100 meters, according to the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland. That spectacular show, along with lava flows up to 20 meters thick, and "lava falls" to the volcano's northeast, turned it into a full-fledged tourist attraction.The volcano seemed to return to somnolence. Then on April 14, 2010, an explosion sent clouds of ash soaring as high as 11,000 meters.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Unique World Phenomenon - The Flower Of Tisa Or Palingenia Longicauda

Tisa’s flower is an ancient insect species. Ascendants of this species emerged some 200 million years ago. The Tisa River is one of the last sanctuaries where the Tisa’s flower has its massive appearance every year.

This is rare scene, wedding dance above Tisa River. Only few days in Juny every year (even not every year), beautiful insect Tisa's flower or Tisa mayflies (Palingenia longicauda) is borning, making love and die. For three hours, everything is finished. Palingenia longicauda hasn't mouth becouse it doesn't eat - it just make love and die, during his short but beautiful life. This is realy amazing scene and it is very hard to show it by photo or words...

It is possible to enjoy one of the most beautiful natural phenomenons in the world that lasts only five days in early June. Thousands of yellow insects fly in fervor just above the river surface conjuring the creation of the universe. The Tisa flower lives for three years at the bottom of the river. It very well represents the essence of nature's imagination, which is for only a few hours perfectly reflected in the passion of these delicate beings.

The Tisa Mayfly (Palingenia longicauda) is the largest mayfly species in Europe, males measuring up to 12 cm (5 inches) from head to tail. This long-tailed mayflies are aquatic insects which belong to the Ephemeroptera order. Their larval stage usually lasts three years. The adults are short-lived: once fully matured, they have roughly three hours to mate and then die. Male Tisa Mayflies are unique among the winged insects in that they molt one more time after acquiring functional wings. This second-to-last winged instar is usually a matter of minutes.

Typically, all Tisa Mayflies mature at once, and for about a week in mid June, they will be everywhere after 5.00-6.00 PM, dancing over the river in large groups, molting on trees or on the ground, or resting on every available surface, including onlookers. This natural phenomenon with varied intensity is called Tisa blooming. Once they fully mature (after their second molting into a winged state), males have only a few hours to find females and mate before both sexes die. Squadrons of mature males will skim over the river's surface, seeking females.

After mating, the female mayflies start a compensation flight up the river, to ensure that the eggs laid on the river will sink down to the bottom at the place where their parents emerged. After about 45 days, the eggs hatch into larvae, which remain buried in the mud for three years, until they emerge and molt into adults.

The mayflies are pollution-sensitive animals, thus if they are in or around the water, the water should be of a good quality. Besides being environmental indicators, the mayflies are also a favorite food of many fish, and consequently a favorite bait used by fishermen.
The Tisa Mayfly has become extinct in many European countries, and now it can be seen only in N Serbia (Vojvodina province) and Hungary.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Some Facts About Jellies You Never Knew

We all enjoy spending time near the water – it is relaxing, calming and in the summer time it can be a best way to spend your vacation, lying on the sand and splashing in the water. What might give you a bit of discomfort (other than of course forgetting to use sun block) are jellyfish that can be found in every sea in the world. Actually jellyfish are also found in fresh water, but those species are tiny (less than an inch – 25 mm – in diameter), transparent (Fact: the bodies of those jellyfish are 95% water,) and do not sting.

I don’t think that we could find a person who enjoys the “touch” of a jellyfish, especially the touch of the large colored ones that can also sting you. (Fact: the tentacles have the stinging cells–the nematocyst–loaded with poison to serve as a defense mechanism and weapon for capturing prey. Each tentacle may contain thousands of these little harpoon units that spring the poison into the prey’s body.) Despite their ability to sting, people used to see them in the water while traveling to other places for vacation without even thinking that those boneless creatures could be harmful.

There are more than 3200 species of jellyfish in the world. But let’s just take a look at some of those that can be most dangerous for us.

The BOX JELLYFISH is a general name for the class of Cubozoa – a group of bell-shaped jellies. This class contains at least 19 different species.

The Irukandji

The Irukandji (Carukia barnesi) are very small, but toxic, jellyfish. Their size is near that of a coin. It looks like a transparent bell with 4 long (up to 35 cm) tentacles. The Irukandji can be found in Australian waters. The first detailed description of this jellyfish was given by Dr. Jack Barnes in 1964. He captured the Irukandji jellyfish and strung himself, his son, and a life guard in order to show the effect on a human’s body. The string of this jellyfish causes symptoms know as Irukandji syndrome that can last from several hours to several days. The signs of Irukandji syndrome include severe lower back pain, muscle cramps in the arms and legs, a burning sensation of the skin and face, headaches, nausea, sweating, high blood pressure, and high heart rate.

The Sea Wasp

The sea wasp (chironex fleckeri) is a lethally dangerous jelly living in northern Australia’s coastal waters. The amount of venom in one animal is considered to be enough to kill 60 adults. For the past 100 years the Sea Wasp jellies caused the death of about 100 people, and now it can be considered one of the most dangerous sea creatures. Those jellyfish can grow to the size of a basketball ball. Their tentacles are about 15 cm long and 5 mm in diameter, but when they hunt the tentacles become thinner and their length extends to about 3 meters long. Because of its colors (light-blue) it is really hard to see it in the water and that makes it even more dangerous. The string of the Sea Wasp is extremely painful with an intense burning sensation. The venom affects the nervous system, heart, and skin at the same time. A human can die from a sting of a Sea Wasp in 3-5 minutes. Despite the fact that there is an antidote, the timely treatment of the victim may be impossible. Frequently, a stung person undergoes cardiac arrest and drowns before they can get to a shore.

The Clinging Jellyfish

The clinging jellyfish (Gonionemus vertens) lives in the coastal area of the northern part of the Pacific Ocean (from China to California). The diameter of the bell is about 25-40 mm. The body is transparent with a cross inside – a pattern formed by colored internal organs (canals of the digestive system). There are about 60 tentacles bent near the top. They are located on the edges of the bell and their length can exceed the size of the bell. The sting of the Clinging Jellyfish is painful, but not lethal.

The Nomura Jellyfish

The Nomura’s bell can reach 6-7 feet (2 meters) in diameter and weigh up to 450 pounds (220 kg). They are common in Chinese and Korean waters, but recently they have also invaded the coastal waters of Japan. Those giant jellies cause a threat to the Japanese fishing industry. They get into the fishing nets and poison the catch with their toxic stingers. There are also records of people dying from the Nomura sting, but such reports are rare.

Migration of Jellies

The migration habits of jellies are poorly understood, but nowadays the number of jellyfish is constantly growing. The reason could be global warming, the reduction in the number of predators due to over-fishing, or increased nutrients in the coastal area (as a cause of the contamination).

What to do if you are stung:

First of all you need to remove any pieces of the tentacles that remain on your body. Do not do that with a bare hand. Use a stick, shell, tweezers, or any object you can find nearby. Do not rinse with fresh water – use salt water instead. If possible, rinse with really hot water (the hottest you can stand, but not hot enough to burn yourself). Apply vinegar for about 30 seconds, and do not hesitate to get medical treatment!

It may be dangerous to swim near jellyfish, but some water creatures manage to take advantage of them. For example, some fish such as bigue or the amberjack hide under the bell of the jellyfish or in their tentacles for protection, and they can travel like that. As a thank you gesture, they can clean a jellyfish of any parasites.


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