Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Ancient Walls of Avila

The ancient city of Avila is located in central Spain, in the autonomous community of Castile and León, about 100 km to the west of Madrid. This walls is considered as one of the finest walled city in Europe. The Walls of Avila is built on the flat summit of a rocky outcrop which rises abruptly in the middle of a vast treeless plain strewn with immense grey boulders and surrounded by lofty mountains. The Walls of Avila is about 2,500-meter long and almost completely intact. The Old Town of Avila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. The walls construction work was started in 1090 but most of the defensive walls appear to have been rebuilt in the 12th century.  

The Walls of Avila has an average width of 3 meters and an average height of 12 meters.  The city Avila was once part of the Roman Lusitania, before falling to the Arab and Berber invaders in 714 CE. For the next 350 years, the northern Iberian Christian kingdoms tried repeatedly to seize control of the city. However, it was King Alfonso VI of León and Castile, who eventually managed to conquer the Muslims in 1088 ADE. The King instantly started building great stone walls around Avila to protect his latest conquest from further attacks. The job was supervised by his brother-in-law, Raymond of Burgundy, who was a legendary figure himself.

The Walls of Avila is an impressive 2.5 kilometers barrier of stone and granite that surrounds the city’s almost rectangular layout. This wall is up to 10 feet thick and 40 feet high, and topped by a continuous battlement rampart-walk and parapet with merlons and cernels. Protruding out from the Walls are 88 semi-circular defensive towers, placed at uniform intervals.

The Walls of Avila are punctured by 8 or 9 entrance gates. Originally, there was a moat and a barbican outside the walls but they no longer exist. The huge fortification was completed in less than a decade. The area enclosed by the walls is now designated the Old Town. It contains all of the city’s historic landmarks including the Gothic cathedral. The Convent of Santo Tomás, containing the tombs of Tomás de Torquemada, who was the first grand inquisitor of Spain, and of Don Juan, the only son of Ferdinand and Isabella, and several Romanesque churches.

Nowadays it is possible to walk upon the walls for approximately half their circumference. At night the entire circumference of the walls is beautifully lit up by yellow-orange halogen lights. Which are making it the largest fully illuminated monument in the world?

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Nuclear Sedan Crater

Sedan Crater comes into existence of Sedan Nuclear Test. This Crater is located within the Nevada Test Site twelve miles of Groom Lake.  The Sedan Crater Maximum depth is 320ft and Maximum diameter is 1280ft. Sedan Crater is the result of the displacement of 12,000,000 short tons of earth. The Crater was created on July 6, 1962 by a 104-kiloton-of-TNT (440 TJ) thermonuclear explosion. In 1994, the crater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Sedan experiment was part of the Plowshare Program, established in June 1957 to discover peaceable applications for controlled nuclear detonations. The idea was that a nuclear explosion could easily excavate a large area. They are facilitating the building of canals and roads, improving mining techniques, or simply moving a large amount of rock and soil.

Also more than ten thousand visitors pay a visit to Sedan Crater through free monthly tours. These tours are arranged by U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office. Its closest Soviet counterpart is the slightly wider Chagan Crater which filled in to create Lake Chagan. The Sedan Crater at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) have features similar to the topography of Moon craters, 11 of the 12 American astronauts who walked on the moon trained in Nevada before their missions.

The Sedan experiment used an explosive device 3.5 times greater than any similar event at the Nevada Test Site. The explosion displaced approximately 7.5 million tons of earth, scattering it over 2,500 acres. The event covered vegetation and soil in radioactive material as far away as 10,000 feet from ground zero. Within 7 months of the excavation, the bottom of the crater could be safely walked upon with no protective clothing and photographs were taken. Hence, negative impacts from Operation Plowshare’s 27 nuclear projects eventually led to the program's termination in 1977, mainly due to public opposition. The explosion created fallout that affected more US residents than any other nuclear test, exposing more than 13 million people to radiation, although within 7 months of the detonation. The radiation had decayed to the point that the bottom of the crater could be safely walked upon with no protective clothing.

Further, the Sedan event and the other related experiments established that radioactive contamination in the surrounding areas made the technology prohibitive in area that might become populated. Nowadays, Russian thistle, also recognized as tumbleweed, dominates the plant species that have crept back into the Sedan Crater site. However in an analysis conducted in 1993 observed that the original perennial shrubs once living there had shown no recovery.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Al Naslaa Rock Split in Half like Laser Precision

You’d have seen many rock formations on internet. The Al Naslaa Rock formation may puzzle you to see two standing stones and flat faces are completely in natural shape. A perfect slit between rocks seems a machine work, but it is amazing natural. Al Naslaa Rock is located in Tayma oasis, Saudi Arabia. The archaeologist believes Tayma has been inhabited from ancient times.

The standing stone of Al-Naslaa truly are a big mystery. Two stones split in half have created confusion among experts ever since their discovery. Al Naslaa Rock is most photogenic petroglyphs in Tayma about an eight-hour drive out of Riyadh. The small pedestals have given added support to boulders. So, archaeologist not sure how rock formation remains balanced here? How did the rock cut in the middle? The fascinating megalith stones were split in half with look like a LASER precision.

Take a deep breath and believe the locals of Arabian Rock Art Heritage site when they tell you it’s a naturally occurring phenomenon, though we have no idea how it came to be. Perhaps the ground shifted somewhat underneath one of the two supports and the rock split.

It could also be from of volcanic dike of some weaker mineral that solidified there before everything was exhumed. Or, it could be an old pressure crack you see a parallel crack just to the right of it that has been pushed/pulled apart some.

Also it could be an old minor fault line, since fault motion often creates a zone of weakened rock that erodes relatively easier than the surrounding rock. It all recommends that at some point it must have been worked on by very precise tools, some have even ventured out and said laser-like tools.

Many legends said, it is one of the greatest mysteries found by man. The incredible ancient stone structure entices thousands of tourists each year who come to Al-Naslaa. And observe its perfection and balance, which has given rise to myriad theories that try to explain its origin.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Kopjes of Serengeti

Serengeti is 30k Square Kilometers vast plain of grassland, woods and swamps stretches from North-Western Tanzania into South-Western Kenya. These plains are home to more than 70 large mammal and 500 avifauna species including the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. The plains of Serengeti are too flat to hold water; the hollows in the rock surfaces provide catchments for rainwater.

What are Kopjes?

Dotting this vast savannah are outcrops of granite that stick out like rocky islands in a sea of grass. They are called kopjes, formed with soft volcanic rock and ash. It covers Serengeti were eroded away to expose the extremely old metamorphic rock below. Kopjes are scattered throughout Serengeti, one particular kopje found much publicity for providing inspiration for some of the scenes in the movie “The Lion King” later named it Simba Kopje.

The rock is standing impressively around plains of savannah with vegetation surrounded by bushes and grass. These wonderful metamorphic rocks consist of very hard granite accomplished of resisting erosion from rain and harsh tropical winds. Kopjes are refuges for life in the Serengeti. The natural structures helps special plants grow by sticking roots into the cracks in the rocks that trap soil and nutrients.

Kopjes provide a scenic contrast to the nearby grasslands. It also offers habitat for numerous creatures. The presence of a many plants, caves for dwelling, water, and a vantage point for Serengeti’s various predators. It piles of ancient rocks that poke through the more soils and surface rocks. Therefore, rocks were laid down over 500 million years ago all over Africa. These kopjes, also known as inselbergs (island mountains), add to the already dramatic back drop of the Serengeti landscape.

The volcanic activity from volcanoes of the Ngorongoro highlands deposited a layer of rocks and ash, about one million years ago. It creates a rich and fertile soil that produces short, sweet grass while raining. When the surface rock and soil wore away, it exposed the uneven top of the granite layer forming kopjes. Various animal species that only live on kopjes because of these plants, the rocky habitats and hiding places they offer. Moreover, lions are regularly uses the kopjes as vantage points. Because this is an ideal place to bask in the sun as well as hide their cubs. Someone can see cheetahs using kopjes to assist them in scouting the area for a potential meal.

Kopjes weathered cracked and rounded surface is home to insects, birds, lizards, and snakes, to mammals such as shrews and mice. The perfectly elevated rocks are ideal places to warm up in the morning or evening sun. It provides an ideal viewpoint for animals to survey the plains for food. These kopjes play a pivotal role for the ecosystem. They are habitat for different kinds of flora and fauna which can only be found in and around the formations.

An interesting mammal Hyraxes exclusive to the kopjes is the Rock Hyrax. This mammal is about the size and shape of a rugby or football. This animal eats grass and herbs around the kopjes. Another animals that have made home on kopjes are the small size antelope called “klipspringer”. Snakes and agamas thrive here thanks to the ample hiding spaces as well as an abundance of food.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), Northern Israel

The Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) is a magnificent geographical marvel surrounded by pretty rural agricultural settlements. It is not a real sea - it is called a sea because of tradition. Lake Tiberias is largest fresh water lake in Israel’s. The lake measures 53 km in circumference 21KM north-south and 141 feet deep. The Lake Tiberias (Seas of Galilee) is partly fed by underground springs related to the Jordan sector of the Great Rift Valley. The maximum water comes from the Jordan River. Which is winding course can be seen draining the south end of the lake at bottom. The Jordan River rises on the slopes of Mount Hermon, on the border between Syria and Lebanon, and flows southward through northern Israel to the Sea of Galilee. Thus, the other streams and wadis (seasonal watercourses) flow into the lake from the hills of Galilee.

Lake Tiberias is also famous as the Sea of Tiberias, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Kinneret, and the Sea of Galilee. This is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world after the Dead Sea. Lake Tiberias is situated between Golan Heights and Galilee region in the Jordan Rift Valley. This is area has the history of volcanic history evident by the abundant basalt and igneous rocks that define the geology of Galilee. The Lake Tiberias warm water supports various flora and fauna. That supported commercial fishery for over 20 years. The notable fish species to be found include damselfish, scaleless blennies, catfish, mouthbreeders, and barbels. Sea of Galilee is one of the earliest settled areas and brags archaeological ruins sitting together with some of the first pioneering settlements in Israel, as well as religious sites, modern cities, and endless outdoor pursuits.

Sea of Galilee has severe drought as of 2018 from many years. The Lake Tiberias is expected to get to the black line the lowest depth from which irreversible damage start and no water can be pumped out anymore. However, in Sep 2018 the Israeli energy and water office announced a project to purr desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea into the Sea of Galilee. They will be using an underground tunnel expected to be largest of its kind done in Israel. This project will transfer half of the Mediterranean desalted water and will push 300 to 500 Million cubic litters of water per year. Three-quarters of the drinking water consumed by Israeli households comes from these desalination plants.

The Sea of Galilee, has suffered from four consecutive years of rain shortages, make the water situation is serious. The lake has fallen to its lowest level in 100 years. The Israeli government monitors water levels and publishes the results daily at official web site. The Lake Tiberias is at risk of becoming irreversibly salinized by the salt water springs under the lake. Which are held in check by the weight of the freshwater on top of them? Tourism around the Lake Tiberias is an important economic branch.

The religious and historical sites draw both local and foreign tourists. Due to Lake sheltered location, low elevation, the winters are mild, with temperatures averaging 57 °F in January. The summers are hot, with temperatures averaging 88 °F (31 °C). Also the absence of freezing temperatures has facilitated the cultivation of bananas, dates, citrus fruit, and vegetables. The shortage of rainfall is affecting agriculture, the environment and animal life in the nearby area. About five miles on the east side of Sea of  Galilee there is Hamat Gader situated – a hot springs one of Israel’s most popular attractions. With mineral springs of up to 50 degrees, there have been ancient baths here for almost 2000 years. There is also an alligator and rare exotic bird reserve. The region also has loads of hiking trails, including Sea of Galilee Trail which encircles the lake.

Lake Tiberias in Islam

One of major point is mentioned in Islam that sea Galilee will drying up actually is one of the signs of end of times! The disappearing Sea of Galilee and Emergence of DAJJAL the Anti-Christ, Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) told humans 1400 years ago! When the Sea of Galilee dries up the Prophet Isa (A.S) will return and Gog and Magog will drink the entire water and then thy will be destroyed. The prophecy of the drying up of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is established from two authenticHadith

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Jeju Island, South Korea

Jejudo Island is also known as Jeju Island in Korean Peninsula. Jejudo (also known as Jeju Island) is a volcanic island. Jeju Island has a surface area of 1,846 sqkm. It is the largest island 130 km off the coast and the main island of Jeju Province of South Korea. The island was formed entirely from volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago. The area mainly consists of basalt and lava. The island contains the natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. Jejudo has a moderate subtropical climate, even in winter the temperature rarely falls below 0 °C.
It is warmer then rest of Korea with four distinct weather seasons. Winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy. Moreover, 95% of all rocks and stones on land today are made from lava, as you can see from the dark color and natural holes or erosion on the surface of the rocks. Jeju’s natural landscape, from its volcanos, to mountains and valleys, make it a hiking paradise.

It is a popular holiday destination and a sizable portion of the economy relies on tourism and economic activity from its civil/naval base. A central feature of Jeju is Hallasan, the tallest mountain in South Korea and a dormant volcano, which rises 1,950 m above sea level. 360 satellite volcanoes are around the main volcano. Historically, the island has been called by many different names. The Jeju Island mind-blowing nature and surreal landscapes has given it the prize of 3 UNESCO sites and, most notably, listed as one of the 7 new wonders of nature! 
Jeju island has only 600,000 residents – which is roughly 3% of Seoul’s population on land that’s 3X the size of Seoul’s metropolitan area. There is no hustle and bustle. There are no tall skyscrapers. There are no honking horns, or even traffic for that matter. Nobody in Jeju in a hurry — which is a really nice change of pace from bustling Seoul. Despite attempts to market the island as "the Hawaii of Korea," climatologically and geographically it bears little in similarity to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S.

It’s no surprise that Jeju is a popular honeymoon destination for both Koreans and foreigners. The island is built for romance. Cute coffee shops, restaurants, stores and even a theme park called Love Land! Jeju island is in such high demand that there are more daily flights from Seoul to Jeju than any 2 destinations in the world – can you imagine that? The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak) or Olle-gil(routes), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, riding horses, touring all the locales from a favorite television K-drama, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.


Saturday, 27 October 2018

Lonar Lake, India

Lonar is one of Maharashtra’s best-kept secrets. Lonar Lake is incredibly 50,000 years old lake. Lonar Lake is also called Lonar Crater is the youngest and best preserved impact crater formed in basalt rock and is the only of its kind on earth. The crater was formed fifty-two thousand years ago, when a gigantic meteor crashed into the earth at an estimated speed of 90,000 km per hour. Lonar Crater has a mean diameter of 3,900 ft and is about 449 ft below the crater rim, and meteor crater rim is about 1.8 KM in diameter.

The Lake is mainly fed by Dhara and Sita Nahani streams. The Lonar Crater is protected as a geological landmark and authorities have recognized the role of the historical and archaeological heritage in the lake. The lake water contains various salts or sodas, and during dry weather when evaporation lessens the water level, large quantities of soda are collected. The Lonar crater has an oval shape and its meteorite impact came from the east, at an angle of 35 to 40 degrees. The saline deposits obtained from the lake are rather of an exceptional nature.

The salts collected from this lake vary in their nature and composition and from their-appearance are effortlessly separated by men accustomed to handling them. The Lonar Lake is home to a horde of algae and plankton species that thrive in its unusual ecosystem and give the water its vibrant color. Most tourists come to nearby Aurangabad to visit the Ajanta and Ellora UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but never make it as far as Lonar.

Over time, the jungle took over the deep depression, and a perennial stream transformed the crater into a tranquil, emerald green lake. Today, the forest-fringed lake is located in the Buldhana District of Maharashtra. The lake was initially believed to be of volcanic origin, but now it is recognized as an impact crater created by the hypervelocity impact of either a comet or an asteroid.  The lake water is polluted by using of fertilizers, pesticides and toxic material in the agricultural field. 

The lake has wildlife sanctuary with a unique ecology that is vastly different from the surrounding flat landscape. Its water supports micro-organisms rarely found elsewhere on earth while its surroundings are peppered with fragments of unique minerals like maskelynite. The local peoples are destroying Lake Eco system, by bathing, washing clothes and drinking water by cattle’s and disposing detergents in them. Deforestation and excavation also carried out here and cattle grazing inside near him create fecal pollution cause environmental damage to nearby land.

Marauding pilgrims and increasing pollution is disturbing its substantial flora and fauna with about 100 resident and migratory birds. Furthermore lonar lake ecosystem is being damaged because of the sewage dump in the lake. Also commercial activities, including illegal construction, within the vicinity of lake has damaged the lake's natural topography. There is a small circular depression at a distance of around 700m from the main lake, believed to be caused by a splinter of the meteor that hit the ground to also make a crater.

The Lonar Lake is also home to thousands of peafowls, chinkara and gazelles. The natural lake is a heaven for a many species of plant and animal life. The migratory and resident birds such as black-winged stilts, grebes, shelducks, shovellers, teals, herons, red-wattled lapwings, blue jays, baya weavers, parakeet hoopoes, larks, tailorbirds, magpies, robins and swallows are found on the lake. Also among reptiles, the monitor lizard is reported to be the most prominent. Lonar Lake is one of the most exclusive landmarks on the world. Hence, it is slightly out of the way, but totally worth it.

Before you go there, keep in mind that March till May are the hottest months in Maharashtra, and temperatures can climb upwards of 40°C. Occasional. However monsoons normally starts in June and can go on up to September. The heavy rainfall took place in July. Hence, winter starts from Oct till Feb is mild, with clear skies, gentle breezes and average daytime temperatures that range between 12-25°C. The views of this stunning Crater Lake, the only one of its kind in the world, are bound to give wings to your imagination.

Read More