Wednesday, 29 October 2014

World’s First Suspension Bridge to Connect Two Mountain Peaks

At about 9,800ft-high and 351ft-long the new Swiss Alps' Peak Walk is the world's first suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks, Peak Walk at Glacier 3,000 and Scex Rouge. The bridge which is 31 inches wide is the 2nd highest suspension bridge in the world will be open through summer and winter without any charge. The bridge cost is about £1.2 million actually was opened with a ceremony with a Restaurant Botta at the top of the mountain resort between Les Diablerets and Gstaad. The Peak walk bridge is a splendid platform visitors can see the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau mountains.

The construction work was extremely a significant challenge. Although work has completed now, and bridge is designed to survive the extreme conditions that come with the Alps, such as heavy snow and winds reaching 200kmh. It can hold up to 300 people at any one time but for added safety and comfort that number will be restricted to 150. Peak Walk adds to Glacier 3000 attractions that also include a summer toboggan run, a fun park and a snow bus. The bridge is a unique addition to our destination. Well, the bridge is the world's second highest suspension bridge behind the 3,000 feet up Titlis Cliff Walk in Obwalden, Switzerland.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park, New York

Eternal Flame Falls is truly one of the most exclusive waterfalls in United States and one of the few remaining natural areas that we may find on our planet earth. It can be easily called that the falls may be the only one of its kind on the planet. In the first look, you might be sense an optical illusion of a flickering golden flame. However in fact, this is a real behind the cascade of a small waterfall in the Shale Creek Preserve section of Chestnut Ridge Park in suburban Buffalo, New York. In fact, you will smell it before you see it, and astonishingly, it's real, fueled by what geologists call a macroseep of natural gas from the Earth below.

Well, this is a geological fault in the shale lets approximately one kilogram of methane gas per day to escape to the surface, where at some point, perhaps the early 20th century, a visitor had the idea to set it alight. The water sporadically extinguishes the flame, but there is always another hiker with a lighter to reignite it. There’re lots of fissures in the creek bed through which methane gas escapes, and you will smell it as you approach the falls, but the others can’t be set aflame because they’re exposed to dissipation by the air currents or are under water look for rising bubbles.

The waterfall is called a simple phenomenon “A Natural Gas Leak” Just underneath the falls that is just happening to be burns. This is tucked deep within Chestnut Ridge Park, New York, is a little waterfall called the Eternal Flame Falls. Chestnut Ridge Park is located on 1213 acres of the northern face of a series of hills sandwiched between the Eighteenmile Creek and West Branch Cazenovia Creek valleys in Erie County.

The flame is not really "eternal" in the sense that it goes out occasionally. Often it is re-lit by the next hiker that finds it extinguished. The gorgeous eternal flame falls is mainly dependent on rainfall and melt water, and normally flowing in early spring, or after long bouts of heavy rain. It reaches 30 feet high, cascading over sloping shale in two segments. A little grotto, 5 feet up from the creek bed, to the right houses the natural gas spring that can be ignited to make a flame of four to eight inches in height. When flow is high, the water pours over the grotto, covering the flame and diffusing the light like a lampshade.

The park itself is an excellent family destination especially in summer comprises of miles of hiking trails, cycling paths, numerous playing fields, tennis courts, and a wealth of picnic facilities and shelters. Eternal Flame Falls, despite being situated within the park boundaries, is off on the fringe, away from the crowds, and most directly accessible from a trail that begins on the southern edge of the park. As you approach the falls, the smell of rotten-egg hits your nose. What you smell is the natural gas that leaks from between the shale layers.

The gasses formed during the decomposition of the organics within the rock deposits are under pressure and push out through cracks and loose layers within the rock. Two other, smaller seepages within the grotto can be lit, although they can't hold a flame as big or as long as the primary flame. There’re several other gas seepages, or springs, around the falls, but locating them can be problematic and lighting them often impossible. Some are located underneath the pool below the falls, and can be seen as bubbles rising up from the bedrock below. Contrary to its name, however, the Eternal Flame it is not always on flame but the escaping gas can usually be lighted with a barbeque lighter, so bring one with you in case the flame has gone out when you get there.

The Peculiar Travertine Chimneys of Lake Abbe

Well, The Lake Abbe is actually a salt lake, the largest and final of a chain of 6 connected lakes on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border. The lake Abbe lies on a basin which is called the Afar Depression at a point where the Arabian, Nubian, and Somalian plates are pulling away from each other. The strain set off by the splitting Nubian and Somalian plates has formed a peculiar landscape around Lake Abbe. When the two plates drift apart, the crust above them thins until it cracks.

Moreover Magma pushes to the surface via the thin spots and warm underwater springs. When the boiling water bubble up to the surface, they put the dissolved calcium carbonates generating towering chimneys, the same way water trickling down the roof of limestone caves makes stalactites and stalagmites. Specific of these chimneys can reach about the heights of 50 meters, and puffs of steam vent from the top. Moreover the strange landscape motivated Charlton Heston to shoot his classic 1968 film, "Planet of the Apes", on the shores of Lake Abbe.

The Afar Depression is captivating to geologists since it is the place where new ocean is being shaped. Therefore the depression is forming as the African plate ruptures into the Nubian and Somalian plates. In a few million years, the Indian Ocean will break down through the coastal highlands and flood the Afar Depression, forming a new ocean and making the Horn of Africa a large island. Hence when continental plates move apart in the ocean, it generates new sea floor, but in East Africa, the procedure is happening on dry ground, where it is called continental rifting.

The Lake Abbe is mainly fed by the Awash River, and seasonal streams which pass in the lake from the west and south, crossing the vast salt flats. On the northwest shore rises Mount Dama Ali, a dormant volcano. The history tells us, that the Lake Abbe was once a much larger lake but diversion of water from Awash River for irrigation in the 1950s has dry up the lake surface area by 2/3’s and water level by five meters. The adjacent town lies about two hundreds kilometers away, but there’s a little settlement established by the Afar people near the lake's shore. Aside from the Afar shepherds who bring their herds of sheep or donkeys to feed, the only inhabitants of this lake are pink Flamingos.

Frozen Bubbles beneath the Surface of Abraham Lake in Canada

Abraham Lake is an artificial lake on North Saskatchewan River in western Alberta, Canada. The Lake has a surface area of 53.7 km2 and a length of 32 km. The striking Abraham Lake is home to an unusual phenomenon that needs to be seen to believe. Abraham Lake was created in 1972, with the construction of the Bighorn Dam. Trapped under its frozen surface, methane gas creeps its way up producing lovely air bubbles as it freezes and melts and freezes and melts as the flammable element searches for its way out. The methane is formed when plants & animals in the lake sink to the bottom and react with the bacteria in the water.

The bacteria begin to break down the organic matter, decomposing them, gradually releasing the gas. Generally the gas floats its way to the top of the lake where it is released in the air, but when the lake freezes over, methane skirmishes a little more to find its freedom. Its hardship shapes moving images, leaving admirers breathless. Frozen in the ice are other worldly features, which are so breathtaking and exclusive that they draw photographers from the world over. In the bluish tinged of the winter's ice, photographs capture puffy pedestals of gas, cotton-like bubbles frozen in time and milky stains that color the frozen surface.

Although man-made, the lake has the blue color of other glacial lakes in the Rocky Mountains, which is mainly caused by rock flour as in other glacial lakes. When Abraham Lake is frozen, much older methane from deep beneath the Earth’s crust and ancient oceans remains trapped at the bottom of the lake as a white rock substance recognized as methane hydrate. As the lake beings to warm up, the methane seepages and comes to the surface with combined the methane from decomposition, this generates the amazing-looking frozen lake. The effect is compounded by the fact Abraham is not a natural lake but is the result of the damming of the North Saskatchewan River in northern Alberta in 1972.

The result is extra organic material, such as trees, grasses and plants that would normally not be found on a lake bed, decomposing and creating even more methane gas. As climate change takes its toll in northern lakes and seas, scientists fear that methane that has been frozen by permafrost will slowly start to leak into the atmosphere, pumping out as much as 10 times the amount of methane that is currently in the atmosphere will come out of frozen lakes such as Abraham. This doesn’t just happen in Abraham Lake, either; methane forms in millions of water bodies around the Arctic region as well. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that has twenty times the effect on climate change than the similar amount of carbon dioxide over a  hundred years timeframe. Unless, that is, it is burned first.

To demonstrate that the unscented and colorless gas released from the frozen lakes is methane, ecologists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks bravely lit some of the volatile emissions on an Alaskan lake and with some appealing melodramatic results. To do this, the researchers poured warm water onto the ice and then used a digging tool to make a hole, before leaning over the hole with a lighter. The results were quite explosive and like a fire breather performing from beneath the ice. Interestingly emissions of methane are on the upsurge. Ecologist Katey Walter Anthony of the University of Alaska Fairbanks warns, “When we look at how much carbon is in permafrost still frozen and the potential for that permafrost to thaw in the future, we guess that more than 10 times the amount of methane that’s right now in the atmosphere will come out of these lakes.

Although methane seeping from lakes is one thing, it was once believed that permafrost in cold seas was having a lot of the gas trapped yet it appears that this is no longer the case. In a 2010 National Geographic article explained that, the permafrost is actually failing in its ability to preserve this leakage, around eight million tons of methane a year is emitted into the air from the Arctic Ocean’s East Siberia Sea alone, which brings with it the threat of increased global warming.