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Imaggeo on Mondays: Melt Stream

28 May

Melt Stream, Greenland by Ian Joughin, distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons license.

Supraglacial lakes are created when water forms in depressions on top of a glacier, remaining there until it dissipates by seeping through crevasses, or cracks in the ice sheet. Despite their sometimes impressive size, supraglacial lakes may drain in a matter of hours under the right conditions, when the pressure they exert on the ice causes it to crack creating a sometimes spectacular lake draining event.

Draining of supraglacial lakes may have important environmental consequences and may even, as warming temperatures further increase meltwater volumes, affect rates of sea-level rise by accelerating the rate by which ice sheets slide into the ocean.

Dr Ian Joughin, from the University of Washington Polar Science Center, took this breathtaking photo under freezing conditions, earning him the 1st Prize at the 2012 General Assembly photo competition. He explains, “This image was taken as part of a project investigating the rapid drainage of supraglacial lakes in Greenland. Each year, these lakes, which often are a few kilometers across and 10 or meters deep, fill with melt water. If the water can find an open crack, it fills the crack and the greater density of water relative to ice allows it to hydro-fracture through the full thickness (~1 km) of the ice sheet, causing the entire lake to drain rapidly (< 2hours). This picture shows a large melt stream that we encountered as we were out exploring the lake basin, and it is only one of many streams feeding the lake.”

Additional images from this trip can be viewed here.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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Imaggeo on Mondays: Icy Landscape

21 May

Icy Landscape by Lucien von Gunten, distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons license.

Ice is a hazardous beauty, ephemeral in nature and, under the right conditions, capable of dominating landscapes. Earlier this year, while North America enjoyed an unusually mild winter, central and eastern Europe experienced brutal cold spells. The continent witnessed widespread freezing as cold air swept south from Siberia, claiming hundreds of lives, knocking out power supplies, and disrupting transport services. In Poland and the Ukraine, temperatures dropped as low as -33C and in Italy over 80,000 citizens were left without electricity after power lines were felled by trees.

This year’s icy spell brought Switzerland its coldest weather since 1987, the year it experienced its lowest ever recorded temperature. Lucien von Gunten, Science Officer at PAGES (Past Global Changes), explains the exceptional circumstances behind this captivating shot, taken earlier this year. “In Versoix, near the Lake of Geneva, the combination of low temperatures and strong easterly winds led to an unusual natural spectacle as the lake shores were partly covered with ice. Images of cars and boats under a thick ice shell were shown in the international press. Next to these popular eye-catchers one could also admire smaller scale ice structure, such as those depicted on this photograph, which covers an area of 30×30 cm.” This photo won 3rd Prize at the 2012 General Assembly photo competition.

Exceptional weather events, such as extreme temperatures, drought, or tropical storms and hurricanes, have increased in frequency over the past 50 years, partly as a result of human-induced climate change.

More pictures of Switzerland during this year’s freeze can be seen here.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

EGU2012 photo competition results

30 Apr

The three 2012 General Assembly photo competition winners are:

1st Prize (214 votes): Melt Stream, Greenland by Ian Joughin, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

2nd Prize (142 votes): Burst by Melissa Bukovsky, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

3rd Prize (135 votes): Icy Landscape by Lucien von Gunten, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Photo Competition at the General Assembly: the finalists!

23 Apr

The selection committee received close to 300 photos for this year’s EGU Photo Competition, in most areas covered by Union’s activities. The ten stunning finalist photos are below. Do you have a favourite? Vote for it! The photos are exhibited in Hall X (basement, Blue Level) of the Austria Center Vienna, where you will also find voting terminals. The results will be announced on Friday 27 April during the lunch break.

Water or new iridescent fluid? by Alessandro Arato, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Burst, by Melissa Bukovsky, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Nacreous clouds in Husavik, by Sigurjon Jonsson, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Icy landscape by Lucien von Gunten, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Terraced rice field, Yunnan, China by Samiksha Volvaiker, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Russell Fjord (detail) by Jean-Daniel Champagnac, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

The beauty of ice by Romain Schläppy, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Nevada landscape near Las Vegas by Norbert Krupp, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Melt stream, Greenland by Ian Joughin, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Flat in the mountains by Olivier Galland, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Photo competition at the EGU 2012 General Assembly

22 Feb

If you are pre-registered for the 2012 General Assembly (Vienna, April 22-27), we invite you to submit photos to our annual photo competition. Winners receive a free registration to next year’s General Assembly!

The third edition of the EGU photo competition is now open. Until 10 March, every pre-registered participant of the General Assembly can submit up to two photos on any broad theme related to the earth, planetary, and space sciences. Short-listed photos will be exhibited at the conference, with the winner voted by General Assembly participants.

If you submit your images to the photo competition, you agree to also submit them to the EGU photo database, Imaggeo. (You will also have to register on the website so that the organisers can  appropriately process your photos.) Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications, as well as by the press. If you submit your images to the database, you retain full rights of use, since they are licensed and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license. If a short-listed entry, you also agree for the photo to be exhibited at the General Assembly.

For more information, please check the photo competition page on Imaggeo. Previous winning photographs can be seen on the 2010 and 2011 winners’ pages.

Last year’s winning photo: Geysir by James Levine, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Water Angel

23 May

Water Angel

A “water angel” seems to appear in the upper part of the Trift Glacier Lake in the Swiss Alps. This image was a finalist in the EGU GA 2011 Photo Competition.

Image by Romain Schläppy, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Carboniferous arachnid

16 May

Carboniferous arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii

A 3D reconstruction of the 312 million year old arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii, from a CT scan of the fossil. Arachnids such as this – members of the Trigonotarbida – were amongst the first terrestrial predators. This image was one of the finalists in the EGU GA 2011 Photo Competition. To find out more about this image, see Friday’s post: 3D reconstructions of ancient arachnids.

Image by Russell Garwood, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

3D reconstructions of ancient arachnids

13 May

One of the finalists in the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011 Photo Competition was an image from Russell Garwood. This image was not a traditional photograph but a 3D reconstruction of a 312 million year old arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii, from a CT scan of the fossil. The image itself will be the feature for the Imaggeo Mondays post on 16th May. However, due to the different nature of the image Russell has put together a brief description of the image and how it was created.

Russell Garwood is a invertebrate palaeontologist who is currently based at the Natural History Museum in London. He has a personal research webpage. He presented work on Tomographic reconstruction in palaeontology at the EGU General Assembly 2011.

Many Carboniferous fossils, such as this specimen of Eophrynus prestvicii, are found as three-dimensional voids within siderite (iron carbonate) concretions. This means that traditional palaeontological techniques – for example, splitting the rock open and inspecting the surface revealed – result in incomplete data recovery. Such limitations can be overcome with the aid of x-ray micro-tomography (XMT), a high-resolution form of CT scanning. This remarkably complete specimen of Eophrynus prestvicii was first described in 1871, and was used three years ago to test the applicability of XMT to siderite-hosted fossils, resulting in this image. The XMT provided a slice-based (tomographic) dataset. Custom software (called SPIERS) was used to threshold and clean each slice, and then define regions of interest. This allowed the limbs to be rendered separately and coloured. The image you see was then created by outputting a finished ‘virtual fossil’ as a mesh, and using the open source ray-tracer Blender to model it under user-defined lighting conditions. The reconstruction reveals an arachnid with heavy armour – presumably a defensive adaptation – and also showed, for the first time, the mouthparts (or chelicerae) of the species. Representatives of the order to which this species belongs, the Trigonotarbida, were amongst the earliest terrestrial predators. While this Carboniferous (~311 million year old) specimen postdates these early examples of the order by many millions of years, it too was a predator, probably running down its prey with its long limbs. The same techniques has now been applied to a wide range of the arthropods living in these Carboniferous coal forests. The image first appeared in the publication Garwood et al. (2009). A more comprehensive introduction to these techniques can be found in the publication Garwood et al. (2010).

Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A. & Sutton, M.D. 2009. High-fidelity X-ray micro-tomography reconstruction of siderite-hosted Carboniferous arachnids. Biology Letters, 5(6):841-844. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0464 link, , requires subscription for full article]
Garwood, R.J., Rahman, I.A. & Sutton, M.D. 2010. From clergymen to computers – the advent of virtual palaeontology. Geology Today, 26(3):96-100.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2451.2010.00753.x link, requires subscription for full article

Imaggeo on Mondays: Flow

9 May

Folded Cretaceous Calcarenite layers.

Image by Jose Julian Esteben, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence. This image was awarded second place in the EGU GA 2011 Photo Competition.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Geysir

2 May

Geysir (from which the English word, geyser, is derived) in the Haukadalur valley, Iceland. The photograph was taken just before the geyser you can see the air bubbles rushing towards the surface within the mounting dome of water. This image was voted the winner of the EGU GA 2011 Photo Competition.

Image by James Levine, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.