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May 2, 2008 spectacular photo: eruption of Chaiten volcano in Chile which had been dormant for thousands of years

Carlos F Gutierrez won first prize of the Nature Singles category of the 2008 World Press Photo of the Year contest with this photo of Chaiten volcano eruption, Chile

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Carlos F. Gutierrez, a Patagonia Press for Diario La Tercera photographer based in Chile, has won the first prize of the Nature Singles category of the World Press Photo Contest with this photo of Chaiten volcano eruption, Chile, taken May 2, 2008. A cloud of debris soared as high as 20 miles (32 km) into the air and was kept aloft by the pressure of constant eruptions for weeks, covering towns in neighboring Argentina with volcanic ash.

It again spewed a vast cloud of ash in February in what appeared to be a partial collapse of its cone. Television footage showed a could of ash billowing into the sky over the town of Chaiten, which lies about six miles (10 km) from the crater. Authorities evacuated about 160 people from the area. Most of the town’s 4,500 residents were evacuated last year after the volcano, dormant for thousands of years, erupted.

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Photos courtesy of Reuters

Original Source: Vancouver Sun

Melting glaciers in Europe force Italy and Switzerland to officially redraw their borders

Italy and Switzerland will redraw boundaries, the zones affected include areas around the Matterhorn

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Italy and Switzerland have decided to redraw their border after global warming dissolved Alpine glaciers that marked out the frontier between the two countries, according to reports.

For the past 100 years, the surface area of the glaciers, which is crossed by the border, has been shrinking steadily. In the past five years the process speeded up. The neighbors have now agreed to meet to work out a new border, the Independent reports. Daniel Gutknecht, responsible for the co-ordination of national borders at Switzerland's Office of Topography, said "the border is moving because of the warmer climate", among other reasons.

the zone affected includes the Matterhorn mountain

The border has been fixed since 1861, when Italy became a unified state. The new frontier cannot be decided until Italian parliament approve a new law at the end of next month. The areas affected include the famous Matterhorn mountain and the surrounding towns, which are popular with skiers in winter. However, no towns or communities will be forced to change countries, because the border lies 4,000 meters above sea level, well above any human habitation.  read more »

Robert Frost: Nature's first green is gold/Her hardest hue to hold./Her early leaf's a flower;/But only so an hour

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

— Robert Frost

Photo: tea plantation. Here, the Earth must feel profound peace, and enjoy its fresh breaths amidst the vast green

tea plantation in Munnar, Kerala

The Telegraph’s weekly Big Picture contest winner: this shot of a tea plantation in Munnar, Kerala, taken by Lynden Clarke from Bristol.

Original Source: Telegraph

Government of Canada marks International Polar Day on March 18, 2009 with "Oceans and Marine Life" event

sea ice properties were examined in 200 m transects, both at the surface and from the air

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO - "Oceans and Marine Life Polar Day", an International Polar Year (IPY) webcast event, took place on March 18, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the theatre of the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. "Our Government has made a tremendous contribution to Arctic research during International Polar Year. Polar Days are a great opportunity to share the initial findings of this research with the public," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. To learn more about "Oceans and Marine Life Polar Day" events in Canada and around the world, as well as other national and international initiatives related to International Polar Year, we invite you to visit www.ipy.gc.ca.  read more »

NASA's spacecraft Kepler blasts off on a three-year mission in search of Earth-like planets

this artist rendition provided by NASA shows the Kepler space telescope. Kepler is designed to search for Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy

(quote)

NASA's Kepler spacecraft blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday on a three-year mission to find Earth's twin, a Goldilocks planet where it's neither too hot nor too cold, but just right for life to take hold.

The Delta II rocket, carrying the widest field telescope ever put in space, lifted off the launch pad at Cape Canaveral at 10:49 p.m. Eastern time. The launch vehicle headed down-range, gathering speed as its three stages ignited, one after the other, passing over Antigua Island in the Caribbean and later over tracking stations in Australia before climbing into orbit.

Kepler will detect alien worlds by measuring the minuscule dimming of a star's light that occurs when a planet passes in front of it

Kepler will eventually settle down to scan tens of thousands of stars near the constellations Cygnus and Lyra in search of planets where water could exist on the surface in liquid form, a key condition for life as we know it. "We have a feeling like we're about to set sail across an ocean to discover a new world," said project manager Jim Fanson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "It's sort of the same feeling Columbus or Magellan must have had."  read more »

African Elephants dwarfed by acacias in Kenya - photo from 2009 Sony World Photography Awards

Federico Veronesi/Sony World Photography Awards – African elephants dwarfed by acacias in Kenya

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Federico Veronesi, Kenya: African Elephants are dwarfed by acacias in Amboseli, Kenya.

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Photos courtesy of Federico Veronesi/Sony World Photography Awards

Original Source: Times Online

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