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'Needle Ice' -- not your typical ice cubes...

'Needle Ice' -- not your typical ice cubes...
Photo of Needle Ice taken by Regan Velasquez at Chinook Pas, Oct. 18, 2010.

Regan Velasquez was hiking with her family up around Chinook Pass on early Monday and came across this stunning display of ice.

There are apparently several different names for this -- most common seems to be "Needle Ice." It forms when you have a source of water -- like a puddle or really moist soil -- that hasn't frozen come in contact with air that is freezing. As the water freezes it creates higher pressure, squeezing a little more water from the source out the edge through perhaps a tiny crack. That water freezes -- lengthening the ice "needle" and the process repeats.

If it repeats enough, you can get long strands of ice.

Here is a larger version, and another photo taken from Velasquez: has more explanation on this, although it is a bit technical.

Autumn Leaves -- From Space!

Autumn leaves are pretty to look at from the ground, but have you ever seen them from space?

Viewed from space, the colors are not as intense, but the expansive view below taken on Oct. 14 provides a stunning display of nature’s response to the change in season.

(View larger image)

From the NASA Modis Satellite page:

"In the north of the image, oranges and reds mix with green to form a broad circle that marks the Adirondack Mountains, which are just passing peak coloration. The Green Mountains in Vermont also show orange-red coloration, while the New York Finger Lakes region is more yellow, indicating that the color change is just beginning. Trees that change color earliest in the season, such as ash, aspen and birch, tend to turn yellow, while many of the latest trees, such as oak, tend more towards russet or red. This is a tendency only – at any given time, foliage in the northeast will contain leaves of any hue.

"The Appalachian Mountains are marked as swirling lines of alternating brown and greens mottled with yellow and orange. The brown indicates valleys, which are rich agricultural land where the foliage of the crops are brown or harvest has occurred. The tan areas in Indiana, Ohio and southern Michigan, in the northwest of the image, likewise indicate agricultural land.

"On the east coast, the foliage remains green, without appreciable change. The waters of the Delaware Bay are full of tan silt, as are sections of the Chesapeake Bay. Off the coast of North Carolina and Massachusetts, green ribbons stretch out into the Atlantic Ocean, mostly likely marking blooms of chlorophyll-rich phytoplankton. The major cites on the east coast – Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Boston are easily distinguished by their gray coloration."

The Green Flash, And *Really* Classic -- or "Jurassic"? -- Coke

Heading a bit south brings us these two photos taken from down at the actual South Pole from a friend of one of our readers. He says earlier this week, the Basler BT-67 (A DC3 converted to such) was the first plane in eight months to land at their station. The plane was two weeks late due to weather, and thus the fresh fruit on board all spoiled. But it did have some needed fuel -- and a supply of Coke; expiration date: August 2008. (How long was that plane sitting around?!?!)

Anyway, he also got to seen an extended green flash at sunrise:

Check out my prior blog entry on what causes the Green Flash. Suffice to say, it is not caused by old Coke or stale fruit :)

Have a great weekend!