Archives for April, 2011

Solar Storms On the Rise?

Photo Credit: NASA Solar activity peaks every decade or so, and we’re entering a period – 2012-2014 – in which the sun is “waking up,” according to NASA. Solar storms occur when an eruption or explosion on the sun’s surface propels high-energy sunlight, radiation or a cloud of electrically-charged particles towards our planet. A large…

Witness: Disaster in Japan

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 75 km off the eastern coast of Japan. The powerful quake violently shook coastal communities and large cities, including Tokyo, located 231 miles southwest of the epicenter. Almost immediately, tsunami warnings blared, urging residents along Japan’s coast to quickly move to higher ground.  For the next…

A Moment of Cuteness

Japan quake-tsunami followed by spike in UFO sightings?

We were poking around the web, in search of more details about UFOologist George Filer’s highly publicized prediction that UFOs would visit the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Instead, we stumbled across a UFO angle on another current news story of considerably greater importance. Filer’s March 23 UFO summary includes this item: Confirmed…

Meet the New Neighbors: The Ducklings!

We always know spring is upon us here at Nat Geo headquarters when this duck shows up in the courtyard pond. She comes back year after year, usually with her mate, and they travel between NG headquarters and Farragut Square — just a couple of little ducks in the big city. But this year, she…

Sea Monster Cemetery

One hundred and fifty million years ago, what is now the Arctic tundra was completely submerged with water, and massive marine reptiles ruled our sparkling, tropical seas. The Earth was warm and lush, and the dinosaurs were apex land predators. Over time, land appeared, and glaciers spread over 60% of Svalbard’s archipelago. And here in…

Tigers in Africa

A hundred years ago, 100,000 tigers roamed their native range in Asia. There were nine subspecies of tigers (Bengal, Siberian, Indochinese, South Chinese, Caspian, Malayan, Sumatran, Bali and Javan). But today the wild tiger population is around 3,200 individuals – with only 1,000 being breeding females. Three subspecies are extinct, one is extinct in the wild,…

Bhutan Tiger Search

In the last century, the world has lost about 95% of its tigers. If the wild population continues to decline at this rate, this big cat species faces extinction in the wild by 2022. The tiger is an adaptive species, but it requires adequate territory and prey to survive. And they’re threatened by poaching, illegal…

Volcano Danger

The Volcano Devils – photographer and filmmakers Maurice and Katia Krafft – were individuals independent of faculty association and government funding. They were professionals passionate about documenting volcano activity, offering precious images that volcanologists around the world use as reference. In about twenty-three years of work, they witnessed 120 volcanic eruptions and filmed approximately 500 hours of…

Iceland’s Volcanoes

As the mid-Atlantic rift opened some 24 million years ago, magma began to pour out at the bottom of the ocean. It spread across the sea floor in what is now the north Atlantic Ocean. But it took millions of years for volcanoes to reach the surface. Iceland, with about 200 post-glacial volcanoes, is one…