Thursday, 31 October 2013

Beautiful The Rock Islands of Palau

Palau is an archipelago of about 250 islands, situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It is its own country the Republic of Palau, even though geographically it is part of the bigger island group of Micronesia. More than 30 years it was a part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific under United States administration. Now It’s finally gained entire independence in 1994. Palau is a striking tropical paradise, and one of the factual unspoiled destinations on the planet. More than 100-plus islands are small low-lying coral islands, ringed by barrier reefs and uninhabited. The entire country's population is just 21,000 spread across 250 islands forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands. The most famous sights in Palau’s are the Rock Islands a group of green islands covered in foliage with a few bright white sandy beaches. Shaped by ancient coral reefs, the bases of these limestone formations have been slowly eroded over millennia into quirky mushroom shapes. There are between 250 to 400+ islands in the group, according to different sources, with an aggregate area of 47 square KM and a height up to 207 meters.

The islands are uninhabited and are re-known for their beaches, blue lagoons and the unusual umbrella-like shapes of many of the islands themselves. The Rock Islands and the surrounding reefs make up Palau's prominent tourist sites such as Blue Corner, Blue hole, German Channel, Ngermeaus Island and the famed Jellyfish Lake, one of the many Marine lakes in the Rock Islands that provides home and safety for several kinds of stingless jellyfish found only in Palau. It is the most prominent dive destination in Palau. Actually, Palau offers best and most diverse dive sites on the earth planet. From wall diving to high current drift dives, from Manta Rays to sharkfeeds and from shallow and colorful lagoons to radiantly decorated caves and overhangs. However, currently uninhabited, the islands were once home to Palauan settlements, and Palauans continue to use the region and its resources for cultural and recreational purposes. The islands contain a noteworthy set of cultural remains relating to an occupation more than 5,000 years that ended in abandonment. Archaeological remains of former human occupation in caves and villages, including rock art and burials, testifies to seasonal human occupation and use of the marine ecosystem, dating back to 3,100 BC and extending over some 2,500 years.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Horizontal Waterfalls in Talbot Bay, Australia

The Horizontal Waterfalls are to be found in the Talbot Bay in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. However; called waterfalls, this stunning natural phenomenon in fact consist of a pair of openings or gorges in the McLarty Range through which immense amount of water are pushed by tidal waves, creating temporary waterfalls up to 5 meters high. And when the tide changes, so does the direction of the flow too. The twin gaps are located on two ridges running parallel approximately 300 meters apart. 

The first and most seaward gap is about 20 meters wide and the 2nd the most fantastic; gap is about 10 meters wide. When the rising or falling tide occurs, the water builds up in front of the gaps faster than it can flow through them. This in turn make an astonishing waterfall effect as the water rushes through and then down to the lower levels on the other side of the ridgelines. The course of action is reversed and it is repeated again in the opposite direction. The tides in this vicinity have a 10 meter variation which occurs over 6 1/2 hours from low tide to high tide and vice versa. On a slack tide it is likely to drive boats through the two gaps to the bay behind. The gorgeous waterfall phenomena has been described by David Attenborough as "one of the greatest natural wonders of the world".

The Spectacular Pilatus Railway in Switzerland

The Gorgeous Pilatus railway in Switzerland connects Alpnachstad on Lake Lucerne, to a terminus close to the summit of Mount Pilatus at an altitude of 2,073 meter. The incredible track climbs a slope of over 1,600 meters in just 4.6 kilometer, making it the steepest track railway in the world. It has an average gradient of 38% and a maximum of 48% steeper than the steepest street in the world. This arduous project was planned to build to propose in 1873, suggesting a 1,435 mm standard gauge and 25% maximal gradient. Therefore it was concluded that the project would not be economically viable.

The mastermind engineer Eduard Locher, with great practical experience & knowledge devised a devised an exclusive system with the maximal grade raised to 48% to cut the length of the route in half. Conventional systems at the time could not handle such gradients since the vertical cogwheel that is pressed to the rack from above May, under higher gradients, jump out of the engagement with the rack, eliminating the train’s main driving and braking power. As an alternative, Eduard Locher placed a horizontal double rack between the two rails with the rack teeth facing each side. This was engaged by two cogwheels carried on vertical shafts under the car.

This design eliminated the option of the cogwheels climbing out of the rack, and as well prevented the car from toppling over, even under the stern cross winds common in the area. The system was also able of guiding the car without the required for flanges on the wheels. Definitely, the first cars on Pilatus had no flanges on running wheels but they were later added to let cars to be moved through tracks without rack rails during maintenance. The line was opened using steam traction on 4 June 1889 and was electrified on 15 May 1937, using an overhead electric supply of 1550 V DC.

The original 32-passenger steam cars averaged 3 to 4 KM per hour and took over an hour to arrive at the summit. These day’s 40-passenger electric cars run at 9 kilometers/h and make the trip in about half an hour. The line still uses the original rack rails that are now over 100 years old. While they have worn down, it was found that this can be fixed by simply turning the rails over, providing a new wearing surface that would be enough for the next century as well. The scenery route operates between May and November, when the cog railway is not buried by snow, with trains departing every 45 minutes during the day. In winter, access to Mount Pilatus is only achievable via cable car.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Brusio Spiral Viaduct in Switzerland

The Brusio spiral viaduct is a single track nine-arched stone spiral railway viaduct located in Brusio, in the Canton of Graub√ľnden, Switzerland. Like most spiral tracks, the Brusio spiral viaduct was built to permit trains to get elevation in a relatively short distance. The spiral viaduct is 110 meters long, has a horizontal radius of curvature of 70 meters, a longitudinal slope of 7%, and is made up of nine spans, each 10 meters in length. The viaduct lifts the train by 20 meters. The Brusio spiral viaduct forms part of the Bernina Railway section between Brusio and Campascio, and are about 55 KM from St. Moritz. The stone-built viaduct was opened on 1 July 1908, upon the opening of the Tirano–Poschiavo section of the Bernina Railway. In 1943, the entire railway company was taken over by the Rhaetian Railway, which still owns and uses 40 seconds after passing under the viaduct near Brusio, BERNINA EXPRESS 960 Tirano-Davos with Allegra trainset ABe 8/12 3505 "Giovanni Segantini" and 6 panorama coaches is completing the spiral. In the center the temporary labyrinth, an installation for the 100th anniversary of the Bernina line.