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Hashigui-Iwa Rocks Wakayama Japan

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Rock towers line up for as long as 900 meters in a straight line that looks like a bridge pile. The magma that flowed from underground about 14 to 15 million years ago had penetrated the Kumano strata to make a quartz porphyry dike.

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An image of Hashigui-Iwa Rocks Wakayama Japan

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Kumamoto Prefecture Scenery

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Kumamoto Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyūshū. Kumamoto Prefecture has a population of 1,748,134 (as of 1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 7,409 square kilometers (2,861 sq mi). Kumamoto Prefecture borders Fukuoka Prefecture to the north, Ōita Prefecture to the northeast, Miyazaki Prefecture to the southeast, and Kagoshima Prefecture to the south.

Kumamoto is the capital and largest city of Kumamoto Prefecture, with other major cities including Yatsushiro, Amakusa, and Tamana. Kumamoto Prefecture is located in the center of Kyūshū on the coast of the Ariake Sea, across from Nagasaki Prefecture, with the mainland separated from the East China Sea by the Amakusa Archipelago. Kumamoto Prefecture is home to Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan and among the largest in the world, with its peak 1,592 meters (5,223 ft) above sea level.

Historically, the area was called Higo Province; and the province was renamed Kumamoto during the Meiji Restoration. The creation of prefectures was part of the abolition of the feudal system. The current Japanese orthography for Kumamoto literally means “bear root/origin”, or “origin of the bear”.

Kumamoto Prefecture is in the center of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major Japanese islands. It is bordered by the Ariake inland sea and the Amakusa archipelago to the west, Fukuoka Prefecture and Ōita Prefecture to the north, Miyazaki Prefecture to the east, and Kagoshima Prefecture to the south.

Mount Aso (1,592 m (5,223 ft)), an extensive active volcano, is in the east of Kumamoto Prefecture. This volcano is located at the center of the Aso caldera.

As of 31 March 2019, 21% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as natural parks: the Aso Kujū and Unzen-Amakusa National Parks; Kyūshū Chūō Sanchi, and Yaba-Hita-Hikosan Quasi-National Parks; and Ashikita Kaigan, Itsuki Gokanoshō, Kinpōzan, Misumi-Ōyano Umibe, Okukuma, Shōtaisan, and Yabe Shūhen Prefectural Natural Parks.

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Lake Peten Itza

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Lake Petén Itzá is a lake in the northern Petén Department in Guatemala. It is the third largest lake in Guatemala, after Lake Izabal and Lake Atitlán. It is located around 16°59′0″N 89°48′0″W. It has an area of 99 km2 (38 sq mi), and is some 32 km (20 mi) long and 5 km (3.1 mi) wide. Its maximum depth is 160 m (520 ft). The lake area presents high levels of migration, due to the existence of natural resources such as wood, chewing gum, oil, and agricultural and pasture activities. Because of its archaeological richness, around 150,000 tourists pass through this region yearly. The city of Flores, the capital of the Petén Department, lies on an island near its southern shore.

Several streams flow into Lake Petén Itzá, but it has no surface outflow. Although it loses water mostly by evaporation, it is not a salt lake.

There are at least 27 Maya sites around this lake and the archaeological remains of Tayasal, located across the lake on a peninsula close to the former Itza Maya capital, the last to be conquered in Mesoamerica in 1697. This lake and its surroundings have more than 100 important indigenous species such as the cichlid fish Mayaheros urophthalmus, Petenia splendida, and Vieja melanurus, crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii and Crocodylus acutus), jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Central American red brocket (Mazama temama), and several bird species, including parrots such as macaws, and toucans. On its northeast shore is the Cerro Cahui Protected Biotope, a natural reserve for butterflies that covers 1,600-acre (6.5 km2) and is home to toucans, Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), Guatemalan black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra), and many other rainforest species. Wikipedia

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An image from Lake Peten Itza

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Iceland

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Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland’s capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which (along with its surrounding areas) is home to over 65% of the population. Iceland is the biggest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly. The interior consists of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin.

The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the native parliament, the Althing, one of the world’s oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway’s integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden seceded from the union in 1523. The Danish kingdom forcefully introduced Lutheranism to Iceland in 1550.

In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland’s struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 with the establishment of the Kingdom of Iceland, sharing through a personal union the incumbent monarch of Denmark. During the occupation of Denmark in World War II, Iceland voted overwhelmingly to become a republic in 1944, thus ending the remaining formal ties with Denmark. Although the Althing was suspended from 1799 to 1845, the island republic has been credited with sustaining the world’s oldest and longest-running parliament.

Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialization of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. It became a part of the European Economic Area in 1994; this further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, as well as the highest trade union membership in the world. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in democracy and equality indexes, ranking third in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2020, it was ranked as the fourth-most developed country in the world by the United Nations’ Human Development Index, and it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy.

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation’s Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese. The country’s cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a lightly armed coast guard. Wikipedia

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Yuanyang County Rice Terraces

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Why Visit Yuanyang Rice Terraces?

1. Core Area of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces: Among the 5 rice terrace sites in the world recognized by UNESCO as a collective World Heritage Site, Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in Yunnan, with Yuanyang Rice Terraces sited at its core, is the only one you will find in the vast China.

2. Splendid Rice Terraces Scenery: Yuanyang Rice Terraces has a long history of more than 1,300 years. Till now, there are more than 3,000 flat and evenly spaced terraces. They are all carved following the mountains’ original contour lines, forming a splendid landscape!

3. Photographer’s Dream: Thanks to its unbeatable size, gorgeous colors, and unique shapes with a strong three-dimensional effect, Yuanyang Rice Terraces has long been a dream for photograph lovers. And its mesmerizing sunrise and sunset can easily occupy your camera storage. chinadiscovery com

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An image from Yuanyang County Rice Terraces

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Logan, Ohio

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Logan is a city in Hocking County, Ohio. The population was 7,152 at the time of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Hocking County. Logan is located in southeast Ohio, on the Hocking River 48 miles southeast of Columbus. The current mayor of Logan is Republican Greg Fraunfelter, who began a four-year term in January 2016 and was re-elected in 2019.

Logan is the county seat of Hocking County, Ohio. Residents named the town in honor of Chief Logan of the Mingo Indian tribe. He and his band lived in this area at the time of European-American settlement. Ohio Governor Thomas Worthington established the community in 1816.

Logan was incorporated as a city in 1839.

Logan was the first city in the state of Ohio to install a double roundabout. Located at the interchange of Ohio State Route 664 and U.S. Route 33, the roundabouts were officially opened to traffic on December 4, 2013.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.93 square miles (12.77 km2), of which 4.79 square miles (12.41 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.

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An image from Logan, Ohio

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‘Look closely and there’s a tear in Armstrong’s eye’: the Apollo space missions as you’ve never seen them before

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You have to make time for awe and wonder. When you’re working in space, you’re so mission-focused, you can almost forget your environment. It can be hard to process the remoteness and isolation until you get back to Earth.

The cover image of Apollo Remastered, a new book of restored images from the Nasa archive billed as the ultimate photographic record of humankind’s greatest adventure, is of Commander Jim McDivitt looking up on Apollo 9 in 1969. I think a lot of people read awe and wonder in his face, but I see immense concentration; he’s docking the lunar module. When you’re docking, you’re using a robotic arm to grab another visiting vehicle, and it’s the most intense 90 seconds of your life. Everything depends on you.

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https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/f4281c8b0fa44095d16d03795d38b9b7092908d5/0_0_3618_1800/master/3618.jpg?width=1900&quality=85&fit=max&s=24cacaaa37a47691e17e4ca962e396f9

Apollo9, 6 March 1969 Russell Schweickart’s photograph o David Scott in the Command Module Hatch, photograph:Nasa/JSC/Andy Saunders

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Forest Trees

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A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing, and ecological function. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a forest as, “Land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban use.” Using this definition, Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020) found that forests covered 4.06 billion hectares (10.0 billion acres; 40.6 million square kilometers; 15.7 million square miles), or approximately 31 percent of the world’s land area in 2020.

Forests are the predominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth and are found around the globe. More than half of the world’s forests are found in only five countries (Brazil, Canada, China, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America). The largest share of forests (45 percent) are in the tropical latitudes, followed by those in the boreal, temperate, and subtropic domains.

Forests account for 75% of the gross primary production of the Earth’s biosphere and contain 80% of the Earth’s plant biomass. Net primary production is estimated at 21.9 gigatonnes of biomass per year for tropical forests, 8.1 for temperate forests, and 2.6 for boreal forests.

Forests at different latitudes and elevations, and with different precipitation and evapotranspiration form distinctly different biomes: boreal forests around the North Pole, tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests around the Equator, and temperate forests at the middle latitudes. Areas at higher elevations tend to support forests similar to those at higher latitudes, and the amount of precipitation also affects forest composition.

Almost half the forest area (49 percent) is relatively intact, while 9 percent is found in fragments with little or no connectivity. Tropical rainforests and boreal coniferous forests are the least fragmented, whereas subtropical dry forests and temperate oceanic forests are among the most fragmented. Roughly 80 percent of the world’s forest area is found in patches larger than 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres). The remaining 20 percent is located in more than 34 million patches around the world – the vast majority less than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) in size.

Human society and forests influence each other in both positive and negative ways. Forests provide ecosystem services to humans and serve as tourist attractions. Forests can also affect people’s health. Human activities, including unsustainable use of forest resources, can negatively affect forest ecosystems. Wikipedia

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Lagazuoi Refuge, Cinque Torri, Italy

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Lagazuoi is a mountain in the Dolomites of northern Italy, lying at an altitude of 2,835 meters (9,301 ft), about 18 kilometers (11 mi) southwest by road from Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Veneto Region. The mountain is part of the “Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites”.

It is accessible by cable car and contains the Rifugio Lagazuoi, a mountain refuge situated beyond the northwest corner of Cima del Lago.

The mountain range is well known for its wartime tunnels and First World War mine warfare. The extensive tunnels were built by the Italian troops trying to wrest control from Austro-Hungarian troops who also built tunnels. The tunnels are now open as a de facto museum. Wikipedia

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Canyons Of The Escalante

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The Canyons of the Escalante is a collective name for the erosional landforms created by the Escalante River and its tributaries—the Escalante River Basin. Located in southern Utah in the western United States, these sandstone features include high vertical canyon walls, numerous slot canyons, waterpockets (sandstone depressions containing temporary rainwater deposits), domes, hoodoos, natural arches, and bridges. This area—extending over 1,500 square miles (3,885 km2) and rising in elevation from 3,600 ft (1,097 m) to over 11,000 ft (3,353 m)—is one of the three main sections of the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, and also a part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, with Capitol Reef National Park being adjacent to the east.

The headwaters of the Escalante River are located on the slopes of the Aquarius Plateau, in Utah’s Garfield County, just west of the town of Escalante. The Escalante River begins at the confluence of Birch Creek and North Creek, with the flow of Pine Creek added just below the town. The river runs a total distance of 80 mi (130 km) from the Birch/North Creek confluence before emptying into the Colorado River in Kane County. The lower section of the river, southeast of Coyote Gulch, is now beneath the surface of Lake Powell.

Numerous side canyons also feed the main river, accounting for the large size of the basin. From the west, the major tributaries are Harris Wash, Twentyfive Mile Creek, Coyote Gulch, Fortymile Gulch, and Fiftymile Creek, along with the smaller Phipps, Fence, and Scorpion, Davis, Clear, and Indian Creeks. Most of these larger creeks flow from the top of the Kaiparowits Plateau or from the base of its eastern edge, the Straight Cliffs Formation. An even greater number of tributaries flow in from the north and east, including Death Hollow and Calf Creeks, the combined Boulder and Deer Creeks, The Gulch, Wolverine and Silver Falls Creeks, and Choprock, Moody, Stevens, and Cow Canyons. Streams from the north flow from Boulder Mountain, while those from the northeast originate in the Circle Cliffs area, near the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park.

The sandstone layers now exposed in the Canyons of the Escalante were deposited during the Mesozoic era, 180 to 225 million years ago, when this area was part of a large area of dunes. Near the end of the Cretaceous period, about 80 million years ago, the entire western section of North America entered an era of uplift and mountain-building, an event known as the Laramide orogeny. More recently, additional uplift formed the Colorado Plateau province. These episodes of uplift raised the Aquarius Plateau to the extent that erosional solid forces were acting on the Escalante River Basin. Wetter climates during the recent ice ages of the Pleistocene period contributed to the deep cutting of the canyon walls.

Sandstone exposed in canyons nearer to the Colorado River is typically from the Glen Canyon Group. The dark red cliffs of Coyote Gulch, for example, are composed of Navajo Sandstone. The lighter sandstone domes of Dance Hall Rock and Sooner Rocks are formed from the higher Entrada sandstone layer. Due to the tilting of layers throughout the area, sandstone exposed at higher elevations near the town of Escalante (e.g. Deer Creek) may be from a lower layer, Wingate Sandstone. Wikipedia

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