Friday, 24 February 2017

Jasper Creek Venezuela

Jasper Creek is the name of a river and a series of cascades and waterfalls in the South American country of Venezuela. In the Gran Sabana Municipality of Bolívar State, in Venezuela, adjacent the town of Santa Elena de Uairén, flows a small stream. Japer creek bedrock of this stream is pure jasper, a semi-precious stone of mostly quartz and silica, with a strong red color due to the presence of iron. Jasper is used throughout the world to make jewelry and ornaments. The Venezuela native people traditionally used the jasper as striking stones to create sparks to start fires, so the creek is locally known as Kako Paru or “Firestone Creek”. In English, it is known by the name of Jasper Creek or “Quebrada de Jaspe” in Spanish. Jasper Creek is located about 25 km southwest of Mount Roraima. Jasper creek is naturally found in veins and cracks in volcanic rocks, and generally occurs only in comparatively small deposits, but in the Guiana Highlands, the intrusions of magma into the sedimentary bedrock have led to the formation of massive slabs of the stone that sometimes are hundreds of meters long. Moreover the stone slab of jasper over which the creek flows is more than 300 meters long, and the water is just a few inches deep.

Moreover the ripples in the water have carved long, parallel grooves and channels in the bedrock. In the shelter of this grooves, black algae grows that provides the riverbed a stripped appearance alike to tiger’s skin. The factual brilliance of the jasper is apparent only when sunlight shines directly on wet stone, writes “IbexEarth”. “When sunlight shines on the Firestone Creek, the brilliance of the cascades is exposed and the bedrock glows crimson and orange.” Jasper Creek is not the only creek with jasper bedrock; however a lot of other small streams throughout the Guiana Highlands cascade over layers of jasper or red hematite, but Jasper Creek are the largest and most remarkable of all. It is one of the most widespread tourist spot in Gran Sabana. Every year, thousands of visitors pay the visit to this unique place.

The Wilderness of Bisti Badlands

The Bisti Badlands, which is also called Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, is a massive rolling landscape of phantasmagoric formations of earth and stone situated in northwestern New Mexico’s high desert lands. Bisti is resulting from the Navajo word “Bistahi” which means "among the adobe formations." De-Na-Zin takes its name from another Navajo word for "cranes." In this beautiful landscape here wind and water erosion over a long time have carved a imaginary world of bizarre rock formations and hoodoos in the form of pinnacles, spires, mushrooms and other rare forms that have fascinated names such as "Cracked Eggs", “Bisti Wings” and "Rock Garden".

This is untouched area so far and very least visited and mostly unknown was once an ancient riverine delta on the shores of an ancient sea, somewhere 70 million years ago. As the time passes the water gradually receded, lush foliage grew along the numerous riverbanks and several prehistoric animals wandered the area. Therefore, when the water disappeared completely, it left behind layers of jumbled sandstone, shale, mudstone, and coal. However, abundance of the coal burned away in ancient fires that lasted centuries. Moreover, erosion then formed the characteristic features of the contemporary landscape of the Bisti Wilderness. Furthermore 6,000 years ago, when the last ice age retreated, the waters of the melting glaciers assisted uncover fossils and petrified wood, as well as eroding the rock into the hoodoos now observable. Mostly three kinds of formations are bare in Bisti Wilderness area — the Ojo Alamo Formation, which has left naked the thick deposit of volcanic ash from an ancient eruption, and Fruitland formation and the Kirtland Shale. Here are recreational activities in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness includes hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, photography, and horseback riding. Make sure, campfires are forbidden in the Wilderness.

The Ojo Alamo Formation extents the Mesozoic/Cenozoic boundary, and typically contains dinosaur remnants. Thus, the Fruitland Formation comprises layers of sandstone, coal and shale was laid down when the surroundings were marshy, humid and warm, with meagre drainage. The Fruitland Formation is found mainly on the western side of the Wilderness. However, the Kirtland Shale is the product of alluvial muds and overbank sand deposits from the numerous channels draining the coastal plain in the late Cretaceous period. Though, it overlies the Fruitland Formation, and is exposed on the eastern side of the badlands. Several of the gray hoodoos in the wilderness are made up of this formation. The exclusive egg-shaped formation, in the “egg factory” area, is also the result of erosion. Consequently, the cracks are the result of differential weathering conditions, whereas the speckled appearance due to mineral deposits in the stream that cut through the sedimentary rock. The Bisti Badlands is an amazingly scenic and colorful expanse of undulating mounds and unusual eroded rocks covering 45,000 acres, hidden away in the high desert even less publicized. The badlands are administered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), are free to enter, and are known officially, but less evocatively as the Bisti Wilderness Area.

Big Stone River, Russia

The “Big Stone River” is a chaotic jumble of massive boulders flowing down the slope of the Taganay Mountains in the Southern Urals, on the territory of Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. The big river of stone is 6 kilometers long and averages 200 meters in width and 700 meters wide. The enormous rock slide is thought to have formed during the last glaciation more than 10,000 years ago. Therefore, at that time, glaciers were well covered the top of the ridges of the Taganay mountains reaching almost heights up to 4,800 meters. Hence, under the gigantic weight of this ice, the top of the mountain was pulverized into masses of large boulders. Moreover, when the ice melted away, these rocks slowly slide down the hill making the Big Stone River. The geological feature is named “river” only because it look like as such, not because it really flows. Though, the rock slide has been sitting motionless for thousands of years, as the river is occupied by big blocks of quartzite an extremely compact and hard rock consisting of quartz including aventurine. This is a form of quartz containing mica or iron compounds that provides it a shimmering or glistening effect, weighing up to 9 to 10 tons each. The layer of rocks goes down 6 meters deep.

More interestingly, as one reaching the Big Stone River, the crisp sound of running water can be heard. The sound is created by small streams running under the rocks. Therefore, the Big Stone River is not the only stone river on earth though. Alike rivers of stone are found in other regions of the Ural Mountains. Outside of Russia, numerous stone rivers can be found in the Vitosha Mountain, in Bulgaria. One of the largest extends over 2 km in length is located on the Subalpine plateaus at the Zlatnite Mostove (‘Golden Bridges’) site in the upper course of Vladayska River. One more stone river in Vitoshka Bistritsa River valley is up to 300 m wide, and other stone run formations sprawl even wider on the mountain slopes.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes, The Nature Best Piece on Earth

This is most enchanting place on earth, as there is no painter in the world as talented and skilled as nature, the magnificent burst of colors in these underground caves is maybe one of nature’s best pieces. The Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes are caverns or grottoes of a former mine near Saalfeld, in the German state of Thuringia. The Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes are famous for their myriad colorful mineral formations formed quite a lot of years by water dripping via soft rock. It is considered most colorful cave grottoes in the world. This Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes draws an average of more than 160,000 visitors annually. On 22 December 1913, scientists discovered the most beautiful part of the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes, namely the Fairytale Dome stands with its awe-inspiring, sublime, illustrious in untouched purity and glory," writes Hermann Meyer, one of the discoverers.

The caverns comprise of three chambers connected by galleries. The first chamber presented the history of the alum shale mine opened for sightseeing in 1914. Historically, alum slate was used in a range of medicinal products, as a food preservative and in clarifying water. The historical background of this chamber about environmental radiation treatments formerly offered there until such treatments were found to be hazardous. The 2nd chamber is the source of mineral laden water formed colorful stalagmites, stalactites and other shapes more than the centuries. However, 3rd chamber comprises the famed “Fairy Kingdom” featuring a variegated grouping of deposits that, illuminated by theatrical lights and reflected in a perfectly still pool of water, is thought to resemble miniature castles and other buildings. It is known as “Feengrotten” in German, are in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most colourful cave, the most popular tourist attractions in the Thuringia, serve as a striking reminder of medieval mining.

The underground tour is breathtaking, reveals fascinating insights, the minerals they contains and thelives and labour of miners. There's so much to see, including a mineral magnifier, treasures of the mountain and giant scorpions. You can also grow your own stalactites and set molecules in motion, or piece together the minerals of the fairy grottoes and trace 440 million years of history in the panorama grotto cinema. This is a place of discovery for visitors young and old!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Waffle Rock: A big attraction at Jennings Randolph Lake.

A large piece of rock is display in just outside the visitor center of Jennings Randolph Lake, in Mineral County, in the US state of West Virginia. The one side of the rock appears a usual waffle-like geometric pattern of raised, darker stone that runs in almost completely straight lines across the rock’s surface. The lines cross themselves at different angles forming deep pockets of lighter colored material. This strange formation has caused many to speculate on what might have caused such a strange pattern. The boulder lodged into the ground at Jennings Randolph Lake is a small piece of this rock that is believed to have broken off from the parent outcrop somewhere higher up the slope. A smaller piece of the same rock is also on display in the Smithsonian Institute of Natural History located in Washington, DC.

The bizarre patterning on the so-called “Waffle Rock” is a result of natural erosion, though over the years several alternative theories regarding its origins have evolved, and these engross pretty much the usual aliens, enormous reptiles and ancient Indian societies. The U.S. Corps of Engineers propose some insight into the rock’s formation.  The sandstone layers that make up the rock were formerly deposited about 250 to 300 million years ago. Then as the continent started to breakup by tectonic plate shifts, about 200 million years ago, the sandstone block was folded onto itself frequently creating cracks in the sandstone. Therefore, another 100 million years, the cracks started to fill with iron oxide, leached from the surrounding rock by the percolating water.

However, this iron oxide mixed with the sand grains in the cracks and formed a super hard material resistant to weathering compared to the surrounding sandstone pieces. Hence, the sandstone rock eroded away, it left behind the hard iron-oxide waffle like pattern on the rock. Moreover, the Waffle Rock formation is not regular, although alike patterned boulder have been found in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and at Tea Creek Mountain in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Numerous other undocumented examples of this stone patterning are in quite a few other places around the world. Still there’re so many peoples who refuse to accept that the Waffle Rock is a natural formation.  Hell, there are still people who think the Earth is flat perhaps we should bow to his superior knowledge on the subject. Now standing as an attraction for the public to view in person, the Waffle Rock boulder of West Virginia continues to draw the crowds to this truly ancient artifact.