Showing posts with label Brazil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brazil. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 November 2018

4,000-year-old Termite Mounds Found Equal to the Size of Great Britain

Termites are tiny insects about the size of an ant. They live in colonies that may contain 2 million relatives. Despite their small size they are extraordinary builders.  In the seasonally dry, deciduous forests of northeastern Brazil, obscured by walls of thorny-scrubs, is a vast landscape made up of tens of millions of densely packed earthen mounds. The findings suggest that the over-dispersed spatial mound pattern isn’t generated by aggressive interactions.

The cone-shaped are not nests, actually piles of dirt each measuring 30ft wide at its base and twice as tall as a grown man. Which are waste earths excavated by the termites when they burrow tunnels under the soil. It’s unbelievable that finding an unknown biological wonder of this sheer size and age still existing. There are lots of different kinds of termite mounds. Some of them actually keep the termites cool during the day, and a little bit warmer at night.

Investigators approximation that these are more than 200 million mounds. These are covering a huge region approximately equal to the size of Great Britain. The amount of soil excavated is over 10 cubic KM, comparable to the volume of great pyramids of Giza. The still-inhabited mounds are up to 4,000 years old and so tall they can be seen via satellite.

Therefore, this makes them the largest engineering project by any animal besides humans. Unbelievably, some of these mounds are as old as the Egypt Pyramids themselves. These mounds are remains mainly hidden from view in the deciduous, semiarid, thorny-scrub caatinga forests exclusive to this part of Brazil. The locals call them “murundus” but not too much people outside of the region have heard about it. It was only in recent decades when some of the lands were cleared for pasture that outsiders have come to discover them.

Roy Funch, from the State University of Feira de Santana, first saw these fields of mounds in the 1980s when he arrived in Brazil as a Peace Corps volunteer. A pheromone map might allow the termites to minimize their travel time from any location in the colony to the nearest waste mound.

Investigators have found that this colossal feat of engineering is the work of a tiny species of termite called Syntermes dirus, barely half an inch long. These creatures have been building this landscape for the past four thousand years, and they are still present in the soil surrounding the mounds. Soil samples collected from the centers of 11 mounds and dated youngest mound is about 690 years old, while the oldest was at least 3,820 years old.

These mounds discarded earth, have no internal structures save for a single large central tunnel descending into the ground to meet a widespread network of underground tunnels and thin horizontal galleries where the termites store harvested food. In the night, the termite workers and soldiers emerge from their underground nest and onto the forest floor through small temporary tunnels excavated between the mounds. After their work is done, they return back to the nests and seal the tunnels shut.

There are many questions still to chase. How termite colonies are physically structured because a queen chamber of the species has never been found. Some reports say the mounds can be viewed from space. They can be easily viewed on open source satellite images, including Google Earth.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Mount Roraima, Oldest Geological Formations on Earth

Mount Roraima is also known as Tepuy Roraima and Cerro Roraima; is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateaus in South America. A mystic, flat-topped mountain on the Venezuela-Brazil border that mystified 19th-century explorers and inspired “The Lost World” novel is enticing ever more modern-day adventurers. In 1595, English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh first described during his expedition. Once impenetrable to all but the Pemon indigenous people, thousands of hikers a year now make the trek across savannah, through rivers, under a waterfall and along a narrow path scaling the cliffs of Mount Roraima. Its 31 km2 summit area is bounded on all sides by cliffs rising 400 metres. The mountain also serves as the triple border point of Venezuela (85% of its territory), Guyana (10%) and Brazil (5%). The throngs are a boon to Venezuela's tottering tourism industry; they also scatter a prehistoric landscape with unwanted litter and strain a delicate ecosystem. Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela's forming the highest peak of Guyana's Highland Range. Mount Roraima Top Park is considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, as much as two billion years ago in the Precambrian. It's an exotic, faraway destination so it's both very costly and very attractive, have the peaceful aura appropriate to one of the Earth's most ancient formations.

Although the steep sides of the plateau make it difficult to access, it was the first recorded major tepui to be climbed: Sir Everard im Thurn walked up a forested ramp in December 1884 to scale the plateau. This is the same route hikers take nowadays. The only non-technical route to the top is the Paraitepui route from Venezuela; any other approach will involve climbing gear. The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains elsewhere. Mount Roraima, a natural border between three South American countries, offer such breathtaking views that they might just stick with you forever and ever down in some rusty memory box. This spot is about unconventional traveling ideas, a place where people can find unworldly landscapes and a new way of seeing things. And this is definitely one of them. Moreover, almost daily rains have also created an exclusive ecosystem which includes a number of endemic species, black frogs, dragonflies, tarantulas and such as a unique carnivorous pitcher plant, clinging to cracks and crevasses and some of the highest waterfalls in the world.

Mount Roraima was considered a symbol of these regions, an “axis mundi”, a massive tree within which all the vegetables and fruits of the world grow, tall cliff a place of mystery, myths for indigenous people used to live here from many centuries. Though, hiking is not hard here, can seek help from local peoples against some money. Mount Roraima is said to have some of the most captivating hiking trails in the world. This remote landscape of jungle and cliffs has inspired the dinosaur infested landscapes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World, and the dramatic waterfalls dubbed “Paradise Falls” in the 2009 Pixar film Up. As the time progresses, Mount Roraima is getting popular among tourist, an average 3,000 and 4,000 people are climbing each year, up from hundreds a few years ago. That makes queues during peak times, and sometimes leaves the few sheltered coves at the top crammed with tents. On Mount Roraima's vast plateau strange & gnarled rocks formed when the African and American continents scraped apart, play with the mind, humorous in the sun, ghostly in the mist.


Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Mysterious Stone Structure of Amazon Rainforest

Researchers has found hundreds of mysterious structures built into the Earth more than two thousand years ago have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. The truly incredible earthworks have long remained hidden by trees however; deforestation in recent years has discovered over 450 massive geoglyphs. Though, the purpose of stone structure is not known, but believed ditched enclosures were perhaps used sporadically as ritual gathering places. These ditches resemble to Stonehenge approximately 13,000 square kilometers in the western Brazilian Amazon, thought untouched as previously believed.

The real phenomena lay hidden for many centuries underneath mature rainforest actually challenges the idea that Amazonian forests are pristine ecosystem. The region actually forested when the geoglyphs were built, or people impacted the landscape to build these earthworks. Therefore, the researchers reconstructed 6,000 years of vegetation and fire history around two of the geoglyph sites, enlightening heavy alterations by ancient humans. The history tells that humans altered the bamboo forests for millennia, creating small, temporary clearings to build these mysterious structures. The analyzed “phytoliths” a type of microscopic plant fossil made of silica.

So, this allowed them to rebuild the ancient vegetation and charcoal quantities, assess the amount of forest burning and carbon stable isotopes, and determine how ‘open’ the vegetation used to be. Moreover, the search exposed that the indigenous people didn’t burn large tracts of forest, whether for geoglyph construction or agricultural practices. In its place, they concentrated on economically valuable tree species, such as palms, transforming their environment in the process to make a “prehistoric supermarket.” Thus, the biodiversity of few Acre’s remaining forests may have roots in these ancient ‘agroforestry’ practices, the researchers say.

So, hence the findings will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Regardless of the massive number and bulk of geoglyph sites in the region, it can certain that Acre’s forests were never cleared as broadly, or for as long, as they have been in recent years. The current evidence that Amazonian forests have been managed by indigenous peoples long before European contact should not be cited as justification for the destructive, unmaintainable land-use practiced today. Moreover it should in its place serve to highlight the ingenuity of past subsistence regimes that did not lead to forest degradation, and the importance of indigenous knowledge for finding more sustainable land-use alternatives.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Snake Island: That You’ll Never Visit

Snake Island is also known as “Ilha da Queimada Grande”, is a small island located 18 nautical miles off the coast of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The moderate climate island has several types of terrain, ranging from bare rock to rainforest. The Snake Island area is 110 acres and elevation is almost 676 feet above sea level. The island has variety of vegetation, partly covered in rainforest and partly bare rock and greasy cleared areas. The tiny island has been isolated from the mainland of South America about 100,000 years ago.  In fact across rough seas, it is extremely difficult and dangerous place to visit.

Moreover, the word “Queimada” means to slash and burn because when locals attempted to clear land for a banana plantation on the island, they had to clear rainforest using this technique.  Queimada Grande is home to hundreds of thousands of golden lanceheads, normally grows to be about two to four feet long is poisonous, extremely very, very poisonous. An automated lighthouse was built in 1909 in order to ships steer away from island. Due to excess number of snakes and toxicity of their venom, the Island was closed for public in order to safe people life by Brazilian Navy. Only researchers are allowed to enter the island to get research data. The scariest chemical analysis of golden lancehead venom advises that the snake is much more hazardous than its continental cousins: “golden lancehead viper” venom is faster acting and more powerful maybe five times more powerful.

The golden lancehead (Bothrops insularis) is the species of snake which gives the island its unofficial name, is the only home of the critically endangered, venomous golden lancehead pit viper, which has a diet of birds. When the sea level rise, the snakes becomes trapped at the mainland covered up the land, result in drop the population to about 2100. However, last year (2015) an estimate by a herpetologist on Discovery Channel documentary states that the population falls in 2000 to 4000 golden lanceheads. Hence, low population of Golden Lancehead list in label of critically endangered on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species, and also in the list of Brazilian endangered animals. Moreover “Bothrops insularis” is also at risk from inbreeding, effects of which are evident in the population. Hence, it is estimated that island live between 1 to 5 snakes per square meter, is also home to many migratory birds use as a resting point.

A biologist Marcelo Duarte, has visited the Snake Island more than 20 times, says that the local negate the fact of one to five snakes per square meter, a clearly exaggeration at least not by us. It is easily observe one snake per square meter is more like it. Therefore, you’re never more than three feet away from death. According to different stories, this is perhaps the land of long buried pirate treasure, or even aliens island. The only prominent feature of Snake Island may be the perfect place for an anti-cancer drug, or anti-aging medicines. Moreover there are blue locusts and a lot of these weird, prehistoric-looking cockroaches on the ground at night that it crunches when walk. This is extremely scariest place in the world and no one is recommended don’t ever go. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Mesmerizing Brazilian Dunes Transform into Majestic Turquoise Lagoons in Rainy Season

In the midst of the rolling sand dunes of a national park in Brazil, a wonderful transformation takes place every year. However, in the rainy season, the valleys landscapes transformed are filled with crystal-clear turquoise lagoons & the result is simply magnificent, which you can imagine by seeing these stunning photographs.  Therefore, the un-spoilt heaven is located in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, offering explorers with a striking backdrop to escape to though enjoying a respite from the heat.  

Moreover, in the peak season around July these tranquil pools can reach ten feet in depth and are astonishingly warm to swim in reaching up to 30 degrees C.  Therefore, it is stretching for miles and miles, the picture-perfect landscape look like a desert, but this can't officially be categorized as one, due to the 47 inches of rain it receives each year. Thus, almost no vegetation grows in this area, but the aqua phenomenon provides a brief chance for life to arrive in the area.  Interconnecting lagoons combine with neighboring rivers, opening up channels for fish to see the sights of lovely pools.  Furthermore, the experience is short-lived, as once the dry season returns, the vividly-blue lakes disappear without a trace. 

Well, if you want travel this part of world, it is highly recommended to have visited to see the true beauty of sand dunes.  However, it is highly suggested for visitors to witness the natural spectacle is between July and September, when the mirage-like ponds have formed. In addition, park's website acclaims around two full days are required to explore the biggest lagoons in the park, Azul and Bonita and recommend only guided tours are undertaken in the area.  So, access is not very difficult and easiest from the town of Barreirinhas near Maranhão, with Jeeps being the best form of transport to handle the hilly terrain.  Source: Charismatic Planet

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Ghostly Shipwreck of the Yacht “Mar Sem Fim”

Mar Sem Fim is also called Endless Sea is a Brazilian yacht that was sunk and afterward got frozen in ice in Maxwell Bay of Ardley Cove, Antarctica, about 1,200 kilometers south of tip of South America, in April 7, 2012. The yacht that belonged to the famous Brazilian journalist and entrepreneur João Lara Mesquita, was crewed by four peoples who were filming a documentary off the Antarctic coast when the boat overturned. Strong winds in excess of 100-kilometer per hour had tossed the boat from one side to the other “like a bucking bronco in a rodeo,” according to one crew member.

With their vessel trapped in ice, the crew radioed for assistance and was received by the Chilean navy in the base in Bahia Fildes, in Antarctica. All four investigators were finally rescued but bad weather delayed the process by couple of days. João Lara Mesquita says who was also in the yacht then with strong winds and high waves, the boat Frei came to us. Our evacuation was extremely ambitious waves of more than 1.5 meters and winds over 40 knots made the boat jump from one side to another, just like a bucking bronco. When it got close, each of us threw ourselves into the arms of three Chilean crew members. Fortunately all went safely. Mar Sem Fim, however, couldn’t be rescued. The nearby freezing water that had been tossed over the ship was later frozen and then split the hull when it expanded. This phenomenon is called complete compression, and is what was later determined to have been the final blow to the hull of the Mar Sem Fim, sending her to the bottom of the shallow bay.

The boat lay in about 30 feet of water, preserved and can be seen from above, for almost a year, until rescue in early 2013. Owner João Lara Mesquita managed to return to the site and when the weather fully cooperated sent divers who wrapped strong lines under the hull and attached them to inflated buoys on either side. The buoys were incessantly inflated, gradually raising the vessel that had been underwater for almost a year. Once the vessel was surfaced, and then it was towed back to the shore where the researchers recovered their equipment and the Mar Sem Fim will most likely head for salvage. The ship was though insured for $700,000, nevertheless, the breached hull and damage from being submerged for ten months would seem to indicate the vessel is beyond repair.