Adelie penguins, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Today, April 25 is World Penguin Day, and it’s especially important this year. On July 15, two dozen countries and the EU will decide whether to create a marine reserve off the Antarctic coast. A positive vote would help protect penguin habitat from over-fishing. For further information on the Ross Sea Antarctic Reserve, see http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/19/john-kerry-urges-support-for-ross-sea-antarctic-ocean-reserve/.
Yellowstone mud pots. On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. It was the first national park in the world. The magmatic heat that forced an eruption of nearly 240 cubic miles of debris 600,000 years ago still powers the park’s famous geysers, fumaroles, and mud pots.
Cape Adare, Antarctica. On February 18, 1899 Carsten Borchgrevink landed and established camp at Cape Adare. He and nine other men and 70 dogs spent the winter carrying out survey trips and collecting samples and meteorological data. They were the first men to winter over on the Antarctic continent. “The silence roars in one’s ears,” he later wrote.
Today the huts remain, surrounded by Adelie penguins. When I arrived the seas were so rough that it was impossible to land—this shot was taken from the deck of an icebreaker.
Grytviken, South Georgia. Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton was born on February 15, 1874. He was buried on South Georgia after dying of a heart attack on his fourth Antarctic expedition.. His gravestone above is surrounded by dandelions, which hitchhiked all the way from the British Isles.
Razorback Island, 2002. On Feb. 4, 1902, Captain Robert Falcon Scott made the first Antarctic balloon ascent. Ernest Shackleton, a member of his Discovery Expedition, then went up with a camera and took the first aerial photographs of the polar ice. Today one takes polar aerials from a Twin Otter or a helicopter.
Emperor penguin chicks, Atka Bay, Antarctica. On this day in 1912, Robert Falcon Scott and his four companions reached the South Pole but found the sledge marks of Roald Amundsen, who reached the Pole before them.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A JOYFUL, PEACEFUL 2013!
The Jungle at the Door: A Glimpse of Wild India My new book is now available from Amazon and bookstores everywhere.
Herculaneum, Italy. On Augusst 24, 79 AD, Mt. Vesuvius erupted burying Herculaneum under 75 feet of ash and Pompeii under 10 feet of debris, where they remained until the 18th century. The the A.D. 79 eruption is the first volcanic eruption described in detail by a witness, Pliny the Younger. Today, the volcano is still extremely dangerous and capable of a major eruption threatening Naples.
Shiprock, NM. Even in 100 degree heat, this volcanic monolith with its radiating dikes is impressive. This shot was done a few days ago, just after sunrise.