什么生长得这样茂盛？ What's blooming so brightly?
Blooms of phytoplankton in the Chukchi Sea
Hundreds of shades of blue are marbled together in this cool shot. No, it's not a work of modern art, it's right off the brush of nature. This is a satellite photo of phytoplankton blooming near Alaska as the cool, salty Chukchi Sea mingles with warmer, fresher water closer to shore.
But just what are phytoplankton? They're microscopic sun-powered organisms that float near the surface of the ocean, drifting with the currents. In fact, their name derives from the Greek 'phyton' for plant and 'planktos' for wanderer or drifter. Delicious and nutritious to various creatures living in oceans and estuaries, they're also vital to everyone on Earth: Phytoplankton are responsible for about half of the world's photosynthesis, the sun-powered process that takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen.
We're talking phytoplankton today in honor of Earth Science Week, an international event encouraging all of us to learn about or even devote our life to the Earth sciences. This year's theme is 'Earth Science for a Sustainable World,' emphasizing science's role in sustaining our planet. So, time to dust off that microscope, visit your local science museum, or perhaps just learn more about beautiful, swirling phytoplankton.
隐入大海的龙尾 Dragon tails trail to the sea
International Geodiversity Day
These dragon tail-like structures that stretch into the Bay of Biscay on the Basque Coast of northern Spain are part of one of the most unique and remarkable geological formations on the planet. It's a wonderland for geologists, and for people who just like looking at cool rocks. Guided tours of the Basque Coast Geopark allow visitors to discover 60 million years of uninterrupted geological history.
Today is International Geodiversity Day, which brings to light the importance of geoscience in solving major challenges that humanity is facing today. This can include the study of geology, the lithosphere, and the large-scale structure of Earth's interior, as well as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.
海上阿尔卑斯山 Alps of the sea
Marine Day in Japan
The striking coastline of Omijima Island has earned it the nickname 'The Alps of the Sea.' Its sheer cliffs and dramatic angles certainly echo the skyscraping peaks in that European mountain range. But a visit to Omijimi Island will take you to the other side of the world, to Kita-Nagato Kaigan Quasi-National Park, in Yamaguchi, Japan. Year-round scuba diving adventures reveal a world under the waves just as beautiful as the one above the surface.
这是什么水上魔法？ What waterborne wizardry is this?
International Surfing Day
Of all the tricks humans have taught themselves, few delight and impress more than surfing. A sport, a pastime, an art, a philosophy of life, surfing is as close to magic as a person can perform on the untamed ocean. Today, the sport of wave riding gets its well-earned due with International Surfing Day, a time each year to honor the sport, the lifestyle of surfing, and the ocean itself, whose good health is vital to the sport and so much else. Surfers have a special connection to the ocean and the waves it produces. A surfable wave relies on so much: The winds hundreds or thousands of miles away that produced the energy to set the swells in motion—those swells might take days to arrive at the shoreline; and then the reef or point of land or underwater boulder upon which a swell will break into a perfectly shaped wave. Wind and timing are everything, and devoted surfers know the weather and the shore intimately.
Surfing can be done anywhere waves break, from Iceland to Ireland, Brazil to Senegal. But there are a handful of spots renowned for their waves, such as Hawaii, Tahiti, California, and the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, pictured here. As the sport has evolved, surfers have taken on bigger waves, giants that exceed 50 feet in height at now-famous surf breaks like Jaws, Mavericks, and the latest in Nazare, Portugal.
Surfing is believed to have originated in Polynesia more than 1,500 years ago, most likely in Tahiti and was observed by Westerners as early as the 1700s in Hawaii. Native Hawaiians are credited for creating the sport as we know it today. Duke Kahanamoku, Olympic swimmer, great waterman, and one of Hawaii's earliest celebrities, helped spread surfing's popularity to California and Australia in the early 1900s. Today, surfing is an Olympic sport, has a professional tour for both men and women, and is an integral part of popular culture. But for the lucky souls who know how to ride a wave, it's simply the best way to spend a day at the beach.
去亚速尔群岛游玩 Gateway to the Azores
Today we're taking a trip to Ponta Delgada in the Portuguese Azores island chain. It's the largest city on São Miguel, known as the 'green island,' the largest and most populated island in the autonomous region of Portugal. Gorgeous views and beaches make this a tourist hot spot. The Azores islands are especially popular for outdoor adventure, with world-class hiking, diving, and sailing.
Northern coast of Colombia
Central America becomes South America at the shores of Colombia, the northernmost country in South America. Colombia is the only country in South America that has coastline on both the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Seen here is a stretch of beach near Buritaca, on the Caribbean side of Colombia. This region of Colombia boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is also among the country's most ecologically diverse with jungle, desert, and the highest coastal mountain range in the world, the Sierra Nevada.
Colombia's colonial history began in this region when Spanish conquistadors landed in 1499. Within 50 years, the Spanish had established the kingdom of Granada beginning a rule that would last nearly 300 years.
Wedded Rocks, Japan
Just off the shore of the city of Ise, in the southern-central region of Japan's main island, Honshu, two rocks represent a sacred union between a divine couple. Known collectively as Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks), these sea stacks represent Izanagi and Izanami, the married brother-and-sister deities who created the islands of Japan and its gods in Japanese mythology. The large rock on the left is said to be the husband, Izanagi–at its peak is a small torii, a symbolic gateway marking the entrance to a Shinto shrine. The smaller rock represents his wife, Izanami.
The smitten sea stacks are joined together in matrimony by a thick rope braided of rice straw called 'shimenawa,' which is used as a symbol of purity and protection in the Shinto religion. The sacred rope is replaced in a special ceremony, held three times each year during the months of May, September, and December. The best time to see the rocks is at dawn during summer or twilight in winter, when the sun and moon, respectively, rise between them. If the weather is clear and the gods are on your side, you might even catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance. But we think it's just as beguiling with heavy snowflakes gently falling all around.
To Sua Ocean Trench
This majestic swimming hole on Samoa's Upolu Island sits just inland from the Pacific coast. It was formed when the roof of an ancient lava tube collapsed, exposing the 98-foot-deep teal-blue pool. This is the largest of many such tide pools and blow holes formed in the area many thousands of years ago. An underground cave system connects this swimming hole to the nearby ocean, and the water rises and falls with the tides.
'To Sua' translates to English as 'big hole.' While accurate, it feels like an understatement in this context. For adventurous visitors to Upolu Island, To Sua Ocean Trench can feel like a trip to another world. To get to this natural saltwater pool, make your way along a cliffside path surrounded by lush forest. Then climb down to the waters via the wooden ladder. After your swim, you can squeeze through a cave-like lava tube to find yourself on a short, sandy beach.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Along the southernmost stretch of Georgia's Atlantic coast are several barrier islands, and Cumberland is the largest. The US National Park Service (NPS) protects 9,800 acres of the island's wilderness, a place where, as the NPS says, nature and history meet. Human occupation on Cumberland Island touches on numerous milestones in the story of America.
Eventually, Cumberland became a vacation getaway for wealthy industrialists in the 20th century before it became a protected public land.
The natural beauty of the island's maritime forests and marshes add to Cumberland's unique charm. And a lush ecosystem supports the island's diverse array of wildlife, including armadillos, alligators, and herds of feral horses.
Southern Oregon coast, Mack Arch Rock
One of the common sights along the Oregon coast are the colossal rock formations known as sea stacks that jut from the Pacific and form an indelible, craggy imprint in your memory. The sea stacks you see here run next to a grassy promontory in the southern part of the state that overlooks a mostly inaccessible stretch of coastline.
In the background of this image is the Mack Arch, one of the largest naturally formed arches on the Pacific Coast and part of the Mack Reef archipelago. These clusters of sea stacks and beaches are home to a large concentration of seabirds like cormorants, black oystercatchers, gulls, and murres, as well as harbor seals and other marine wildlife. To help preserve this pristine sanctuary, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has designated it part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and closed the area off to the public. So have the owners of all the privately-owned land and beach that surround the refuge. So, if you're looking to get a close-up view of Mack Arch, your best bet is to do so by plane or boat.
俄勒冈州南部海岸，Mack Arch Rock