Archive for the ‘Geography’ Tag

Now this is one big giant hole in the ground!   Leave a comment


 

The Cave of Swallows, also called Cave of the Swallows (Spanish: Sótano de las Golondrinas), is an open air pit cave in the Municipality of Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The elliptical mouth, on a slope of karst, is 49 by 62 meters wide and is undercut around all its perimeter, further widening to a room approximately 303 by 135 meters wide.  The floor of the cave is a 333-meter freefall drop from the lowest side of the opening, with a 370-meter drop from the highest side,  making it the largest known cave shaft in the world, the second deepest pit in Mexico and perhaps the 11th deepest in the world.  A skyscraper such as New York City’s Chrysler Building could easily fit wholly within it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Opened up by water erosion in a fault on an impermeable limestone plain and with a roughly conical shape, the cave has been known to the local Huastec people since ancient times. The first documented exploration was on 27 December 1966 by T. R. Evans, Charles Borland and Randy Sterns.

Temperatures in the cave are low. Vegetation grows thickly at the mouth, where rains can cause waterfalls cascading into the cave.  The cave floor is covered with a thick layer of debris and guano on which “millipedes, insects, snakes, and scorpions” live.  There is also a narrow sinkhole in a fault of lower Cretaceous limestone which goes down at least a further 512 m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

These people rappell down to the floor of the cave where the scorpions and deadly snakes are waiting.  Why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

And then there are the crazy thrill seekers who want to parachute down into the cave where the scorpions and deadly snakes are waiting.  Why?  Why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The cave is a popular vertical caving destination. The high side of the mouth is covered with heavy foliage, so cavers most often fix their ropes on the low side, where bolts have been fixed into the rock and the area is clear of obstructions.  Rappelling to the floor takes about twenty minutes, in which time abseil equipment and rope can heat up to hazardous levels. Climbing back out may take from forty minutes to more than two hours. A person without a parachute would take almost ten seconds to freefall from the mouth to the floor, hence the pit is also popular with extreme sporting enthusiasts for BASE jumping.  An average-sized hot air balloon has been navigated through the 160-foot (49 m) wide opening and landed on the floor below.  Base jumpers can get out in about 10 minutes via an extraction rope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Posted September 15, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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That mysterious lake in the Clint Eastwood movie High Plains Drifter   7 comments


 

 

High Plains Drifter is a classic Eastwood movie from the early seventies.  I think I have seen the movie 7 or 8 times.  And every time I watch it I am mesmerized by that beautiful lake.

 

High Plains Drifter is a 1973 American Western film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood and produced by Robert Daley for The Malpaso Company and Universal Pictures. Eastwood plays a mysterious gunfighter hired by the residents of a corrupt frontier mining town to defend them against a group of criminals.

 

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The film was shot on location on the shores of Mono Lake, California.

Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in a basin that has no outlet to the ocean. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.

This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that thrive in its waters, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp.

 

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Mono Lake

Max. length 15 km (9.3 mi)
Max. width 21 km (13 mi)
Surface area 45,133 acres (182.65 km2)
Average depth 17 m (56 ft)
Max. depth 48 m (157 ft)
Water volume 2,970,000 acre·ft (3.66 km3)
Surface elevation 6,383 ft (1,946 m) above sea level
Islands Two major: Negit Island and Paoha Island; numerous minor outcroppings (including tufa rock formations). The lake’s water level is notably variable.

 

Clint riding into the town of Lago, on the shore of Mono Lake.

 

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In the movie they paint the town red to try and disorient the killers who are on their way.

 

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The movie set (town of Lago) in the first picture, and the same location with the town gone in the second.

 

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The most unusual feature of Mono Lake are its dramatic tufa towers emerging from the surface. These rock towers form when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with the waters of the lake, which are rich in carbonates. The resulting reaction forms limestone. Over time the buildup of limestone formed towers, and when the water level of the lake dropped the towers became exposed.

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Related post: https://markosun.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/the-mono-lake-sasquatch-footage/

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Posted June 28, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Bureaucrats from around the world   1 comment


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Bureaucratics by Dutch photographer Jan Banning is a comparative photographic study of the culture, rituals and symbols of state civil administrations and its servants in eight countries on five continents. Jan traveled to Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, Yemen and the United States to snap photographs of civil servants – from fiscal authorities to police, from governors to local clerks – seated behind his or her desk. The result is a fascinating look at the lives of bureaucrats.

India, Bihar

Sushma Prasad (b. 1962) is an assistant clerk at the Cabinet Secretary of the State of Bihar (population 83 million) in The Old Secretariat in the state capital, Patna. She was hired “on compassionate grounds” because of the death of her husband, who until 1997 worked in the same department. Monthly salary: 5,000 rupees ($ 110, euro 100).

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Surinder Kumar Mandal (b. 1946) is circle inspector of taxes in Thakurganj block, collecting taxes in a specific part of Kishanganj district, State of Bihar. Monthly salary: 9,500 rupees ($ 208, 189 euro). Surinder Kumar Mandal (b. 1946) is “circle inspector” van belastingen in Thakurganj Block, Kishanganj district, State of Bihar. Maandsalaris: 9,500 rupees (euro 189, US$ 208).

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China, Shandong

 

Qu Shao Feng (b. 1964) is chief general of Jining Public Security Bureau Division of Aliens and Exit-Entry Administration in Jining City, Shandong province. Monthly salary: 3,100 renminbi (US$ 384, 286 euro).

 

Wang Ning (b. 1983) works in the Economic Affairs office in Gu Lou community, Yanzhou city, Shandong province. She provides economic assistance to enterprises in her region and is the liaison officer between the government and local enterprises. Wang Ning is not married. She lives at home with her parents. Monthly salary: 2,100 renminbi (US$ 260, euro 228).

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France, Auvergne

 

Roger Vacher (b. 1957) is a narcotics agent with the national police force in Clermont-Ferrand, Puy-de-Dome department, Auvergne region. Monthly salary: euro 2,200 (US$ 2,893).

 

Maurice Winterstein (b. 1949) works in Clermont-Ferrand for the Commission for the Advancement of Equal Opportunity and Citizenship at the combined administrative offices of the Auvergne region and the Puy-de-Dome department. He also is in charge of the portfolio of religious affairs, Islam in particular. Monthly salary: euro 1,550 (US$ 2,038). The young lady next to him is Linda Khettabi (b. 1989), an intern pursuing training as a secretary.

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Liberia

 

Major Adolph Dalaney works in the Reconstruction Room of the Traffic Police at the Liberia National Police Headquarters in the capital Monrovia. Traffic accident victims at time are willing to pay a little extra if Dalaney’s department quickly draws up a favorable report to present to a judge. Monthly salary: barely 1,000 Liberian dollars ($18, €17).

 

Henry Gray (1940), acting commissioner for Gbaepo district, Kanweaken, River Gee County. During the Civil War, the office was completely looted and destroyed: only one wall remained. Gray has 11 personnel, of whom only 4 are paid. The rest are volunteers. He has no budget and over two years salary owing. Yesterday, he went to the capital Fishtown to collect last two months salary, two times 975 Liberian dollars (2x US$ 17, 2x euro 16). All he got was 600 dollars (US$ 11, euro 10). Gray is father to 34 children (sic), 13 of them depending, and has 18 grandchildren.

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Russia, Siberia

 

Marina Nikolayevna Berezina (b. 1962), a former singer and choir director, is now the secretary to the head of the financial department of Tomsk province”s Facility Services. She does not want to reveal her monthly salary.

 

Nikolajevich Ilyich Volkov (b. 1954) is administrator of the village of Alexandrovskoye (some 1,000 inhabitants), Tomsk province. Monthly salary: 9,000 rubles (US$ 321, euro 243).

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U.S.A., Texas

 

Rudy Flores (b. 1963) is one of the 118 Texas Rangers, state law enforcement officers who cover 254 counties between them. He is based in Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, and is responsible for three counties. Monthly salary: $5,000 (€3,720).

 

Dede McEachern (b. 1969) is director of licensing, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, in the state capital, Austin. Monthly salary: US$ 5,833 (euro 4,240).

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Yemen

 

Ali Abdulmalik Shuga (b. 1964) is responsible for the archives of the Ministry of Trade and CommerceÍs governorate s office in the city of Taizz, Taizz Governorate. Monthly salary: 30,500 rial (US$ 171, euro 117).

 

Nadja Ali Gayt is an adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture’s education center for rural women in the district of Manakhah, Sana’a Governorate. Monthly salary: 28,500 rial ($160, €110).

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Bolivia, Potosi

 

Constantino Ayaviri Castro (b. 1950), previously a construction worker, is a police officer, third class, for the municipality of Tinguipaya, Tomas Frias province. The police station does not have a phone, car or typewriter. Monthly salary: 800 bolivianos ($100, €189).

 

Marcial Castro Revollo (b. 1942) is shopkeeper and, at the desk in the back, civil servant for the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the village of Millares (350 inhabitants), municipality of Betanzos, Cornelio Saavedra province, Department Potosi. Also, at the desk in the front, he is responsible for the polling station of the Corte Departemental Electoral de Potosi (elections office). Monthly salary: 500 bolivianos (euro 55, US$ 62).

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Posted April 18, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Rock and Water Paradise   Leave a comment


Get a boat, and along with some friends, go exploring this rugged yet beautiful paradise would be one bloody good time.

 

Scenic aerial of Lake Powell and rock formations. MICHAEL MELFORD/National Geographic

Scenic aerial of Lake Powell and rock formations. MICHAEL MELFORD/National Geographic

Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona (most of it, along with Rainbow Bridge, is in Utah). It is a major vacation spot that around 2 million people visit every year. It is the second largest man-made reservoir by maximum water capacity in the United States behind Lake Mead, storing 24,322,000 acre feet (3.0001×1010 m3) of water when full. Due to high water withdrawals for human and agricultural consumption, and because of subsequent droughts in the area, Lake Powell is currently the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of capacity of water currently held, depth and surface area. Lake Powell was created by the flooding of Glen Canyon by the Glen Canyon Dam, which also led to the creation of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a popular summer destination. The reservoir is named for explorer John Wesley Powell, a one-armed American Civil War veteran who explored the river via three wooden boats in 1869.

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Young Woman relexing in waterhole laying on air matress, Lake Powell, Utah

Young Woman relexing in waterhole laying on air matress, Lake Powell, Utah

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Posted April 11, 2016 by markosun in Geography

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Stunning Hawaiian Beach used in the 1976 King Kong Film   Leave a comment


Honopū Valley is a landmark valley within Nā Pali Coast State Park along the northwest shore of Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi. It is known for its distinctive natural arch, which at approximately 90 feet (27 m) tall is the tallest in Hawaii. At the lower end of the valley is Honopū’s secluded, 0.25-mile (0.40 km) beach, also known as Cathedral Beach.

Honopū means “conch shell”, and the valley’s name is derived from the conch shell-like sound its arch makes when hit by winds from the north.

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In the 1976 remake of King Kong the beaches and jungles of Kauai, Hawaii were made to stand in for South Pacific. Originally only the jungle scenes were to be shot in Hawaii and the rest on Zuma Beach, California. Producer Dino De Laurentiis, however, was so pleased with Hawaii that he decided to film all the beach scenes at Honopū and Kalalau Valley.

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This really does look like an island that would be King Kong territory.

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Posted March 4, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Super Cool Rock Island that was Featured in the Final Scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens   Leave a comment


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Skellig Michael or Great Skellig, is the larger of the two Skellig Islands, 11.6 kilometres (7.2 mi) west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century and remained continuously occupied until it was abandoned in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, and most of the island, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The island served as a location on the planet Ahch-To in the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and will be featured in its sequel film Star Wars Episode VIII.

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Both of the Skellig islands are known for their seabird colonies, and together comprise one of the most important seabird sites in Ireland, both for the population size and for the species diversity. Among the breeding birds are European storm petrel, northern gannet, northern fulmar, Manx shearwater, black-legged kittiwake, common guillemot, razorbill and Atlantic puffin (with 4,000 or more puffins on Great Skellig alone). Red-billed chough and peregrine falcon can also be seen.

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Monks didn’t spend their days twiddling their fingers. Quite the steps.

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Posted February 24, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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National Geographic Travel Photos   Leave a comment


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The Storr is part of the Trotternish geologic formation in the northeast corner of the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The largest of the monoliths is called The Old Man of Storr. To the south are the Cuillins of southern Skye.

Like a castle in ruins, the Old Man of Storr rock formation guards the landscape on Isle of Skye in Scotland. Fifty meters high, the Old Man is a weathered piece of the larger rocky ridge known as the Storr. The area has such an otherworldly look that Ridley Scott filmed scenes from his 2012 movie Prometheus there.

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This cow isn’t floating in the sky—it’s standing alone in shallow waters in the coastal town of Laurieton in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. Laurieton, with a population of less than 2,000 people, is actually the largest town in the Camden Haven district.

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EMERPC Crowds gather under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park in Washington DC.

Visitors take in the solid-granite tribute to civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington, D.C. In his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, King addressed the 250,000 people who gathered on the National Mall in D.C., close to where this monument stands today.

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Playing winter hockey in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Where there’s a puck, there’s a way. A group of Canadian hockey players proves that little will stop them from playing their nation’s favorite (although not national) sport, clearing snow off a pond in 1.6-million-acre Banff National Park. They couldn’t have picked a much more scenic spot to play: This game is taking place in the shadow of Mount Rundle, Banff’s iconic 9,600-foot peak.

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Tibetan horsemen display their skills at a government-organized horse festival in Yushu, China, July 26, 2015. These days, horse festivals on the Tibetan plateau are not just about equestrian prowess, but political affairs with a propaganda goal ? to signal that traditional Tibetan culture is thriving, contrary to what the Dalai Lama and other critics say. (Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

In Yushu, an autonomous prefecture in China’s Qinghai Province, riders participate in the Yushu Horse Festival. The summer event is held annually beginning July 25 and features colorful displays of traditional Tibetan costumes and culture, as well as horse races and athletic competitions.

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A tourist boat with restaurant aboard, especially designed for winter rivers, cruises the frozen Moskva River in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Temperatures dipped to -18 C (-0,4 F) in Moscow and -20 C (-4 F) in surrounding regions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A boat navigates the icy river Moskva (or Moscow River) in Moscow, Russia, offering sightseers protection from the cold and a unique view of the city—including, perhaps, a glimpse of the famous Gorky Park, which stretches some 300 acres along the river. Even in winter, Moscow, Russia’s political, cultural, and commercial center and home to a population of about 12 million, is worth a visit.

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A cave explorer looks down into a large cave passage from the second doline in Hang Son Doong. The second doline is a large hole in the ceiling of the cave giving plant life the sunlight they need to grow.

Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong stands as proof that the world still has wonders yet to be uncovered. First explored in 2009, the colossal cave is big enough to house an entire city block of 40-story buildings and has an underground river and jungle. Part of the reason the cave’s ecosystem is able to function is this doline, or sinkhole, that allows sunlight to enter.

See also: https://markosun.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/gigantic-caves-of-vietnam/

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A storm clears over Canyonlands National Park in Utah, as seen from the Grand View Point overlook. Within the park, canyon mazes, unbroken scarps, and sandstone pillars—all carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries—await visitors. Canyonlands is 527 vast square miles, and it’s the largest and most undeveloped of Utah’s national parks.

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The mountain road, Trollstigen, in western Norway. I was lucky enough to live here for two months during summer and one evening I saw the valley filling with fog, so I drove up the road to watch the late summer midnight sun set as the fog swayed through the valley below.

Photographer Sean Ensch captured this shot of western Norway’s famously serpentine Trollstigen road. “I was lucky enough to live here for two months during summer, and one evening I saw the valley filling with fog,” he says in his 2015 Traveler Photo Contest submission. “So I drove up the road to watch the late summer midnight sun set as the fog swayed through the valley below.”

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Highlighted by a hole in the clouds, Spider Rock stands out from the surroundings at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in eastern Arizona. The park, still populated by Navajo farms and ranches, requires a Navajo guide for access to most of the canyon bottom. (Kevin Moloney for the New York Times)

Laguna - Luzon Island Philippines - Asia

Waterfalls cascade into a picture-perfect pool in Laguna, a province on Luzon Island in the Philippines. Luzon is the country’s largest island—and the fourth most populous island in the world.

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In Quintana Roo, Mexico, sun rays stream through the crystalline waters of Cenote Cristalino as a swimmer makes her way to the surface. These mystical swimming holes are actually sinkholes filled with freshwater. Ancient Maya believed them to be sacred passageways to the land of the dead.

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Posted February 11, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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