Hot Rocks: the winning entries in Wired's geology photography contest.
How does an ecosystem rebound from catastrophe? Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again. Interactive Graphic: Blast Zone. Also see National Geographic's feature article from 1981, chronicling that year's eruption. Previously on MeFi [more inside]
The Polar Discovery team has documented science in action from pole to pole during the historic 2007-2009 International Polar Year, and covered five scientific expeditions. The science projects explored a range of topics from climate change and glaciers, to Earth’s geology, biology, ocean chemistry, circulation, and technology at the icy ends of the earth. Through photo essays and other multimedia, they explain how scientists collected data and what they discovered about the rapidly changing polar regions. From the awesome folks at WHOI.
The site design is somewhat unfortunate, but The Virtual Cave features lots of photos and information on, well, caves and cave formations. We've all heard of stalagmites and stalactites, but I'd never heard of cave draperies or cave pearls before. Then you've got your helictites, your aragonite, and your splash stalactites (found in lava tubes). And they've got a Show Caves Directory of caves in the United States that are open to the public, with addresses and contact information by state.
What Aren't We Seeing? Panoramic (high-res) Photographs of Profound Geological Erosion. When we're in Monument Valley, it's tempting to say that we're looking at monuments - large hunks of stone scattered across the landscapes like statues to honor past heroes, or tombstones to honor the dead. A closer look tells us there's more to it than that. As we scan from one "monument" to the next, we can see in each monument a sloping base of roughly uniform vertical thickness and then straightsided rock of very uniform thickness. The rock is the same in all of them, suggesting that they were all part of two (or many more) uniform layers of stone that extended across the entire region. And how about here, where the Front Range and the Great Plains meet. Do you see a fault? An experienced geological observer would see a high ridge to the left with at most a few scattered ragged exposures of rock, whereas a prominent ridge of sedimentary rock juts up in the middle but is nowhere to be seen to the left. The road that we see going away from us on the left side of the image seems to separate two rather different areas. That observation provides us with a hypothesis: maybe there's a fault between two different kinds of rock. (more discussion here, and don't miss the Virtual Field Trip to a Major Unconformity).
50 foot long single spar crystals found in a Mexican cave 1,000 feet below the surface! Smithsonian has links to other related sites. This one has pictues. More pictures can be found in the April 2002 print issue of Smithsonian.