Tag Archive | "Earth"

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Remotest Island on Earth: Bouvet Island

Posted on 04 June 2012 by RE Team

Though Earth is densely crowded with humans now, yet there are places which are really remote and humans place their feet not even in decades. One such place is the remotest island in the world. It is the Bouvet island, named after it’s discoverer. The island is so remote and difficult to approach that it took around a century for any human being to land in it after its first viewing.

 

Bouvet Island - The most remote island on Earth

 

The story of Bouvet island’s discovery is interesting. The island was first discovered by Jean-Baptiste-Charles Bouvet, a French Navigator in 1739. He was born into a distinguished naval family but orphaned at an early age. As a grown up boy he joined the French India company in 1731 and eventually attained the lieutenant rank soon. For three years he tried to persuad the company to send him south on an exploration to look for harbors suitable for company’s use. He was actually hoping to locate the land reported by Binot Paulmyer De Gonneville when he returned to France after a expedition in 1505. Gonneville stated that he had spent six months in a land far south, whose fine climate and friendly inhabitants commended it to french colonization. This virtual land was called “Gonneville Land” at that time. Gonneville probably referred to a land near Brazil, but Bouvet’s expectation was to find that land sailing far south from the Cape of Good Hope.

Finally his appeal was accepted by his company and he started his expedition equipped with two ships, the 280 tonAgile and 200 ton Marie. He was supplied with provisions sufficient for a voyage of one and a half year. Captain Ducloscommanded Marie and Bouvet commanded Agile as a leader. The two ships started their voyage on 19th July, 1738 from Breton port Lorient. Expecting to find a tropical or at least temperate land, they were ill-prepared for the increasing cold. Bouvet had chosen to explore the are of the world’s oceans most empty of land. With great determination he carried out a thorough search between latitudes 44 and 55 degree South. On 1st January, 1739 a land was first seen, a high rock cliff, possibly an island, or more likely according to Bouvet, a promitory of a larger land. Despite of bad climate and scurvy rife among his crew, Bouvet kept this island in view for tweleve days. While he desperately attempted to approach closer to the island, always being kep away by the impassible ice. They also didn’t dare to launch boats for the fear that they will not be able to find Agile and Marie again in the fog.Eventually the attempt had to be abandoned, leaving the true nature of his discovery unknown, Bouvet sailed back north to reach Cape of Good Hope on 24th February and lorient on June 24th.

 

Bouvet Island

 

Unfortunately, Bouvet, a very competent navigator but handicapped by the instruments available to hime at that time, gave the position of the island as 54 degree South and 11 degree East. He named the land he saw as Cape Circumcision. Many later expeditions were made to search for Cape Circumcision. But explorer like James Cook, James Clark Ross, Thomas Moore, etc. in mid 19th century failed to find the island. This was because, there location given by Bouvet was significantly erroneous. Meanwhile the island was rediscovered in 1808 by two British whalers in their vessels Snow Swan and Otter , James Lindsay and Thomas Hopper. Because of the wrong coordinates reported by Bouvet, they considered this as a new island and was named as “Lindsay Island”. On December 7 1822, American sealer Benjamin Morrell reported sending his second mate ashore where he took 172 fur seals. he is the first recorded landing on the island. He also measured the circumference as just 25 miles. In 1825, sealers Sprightly and Lively, under the command of Captain george Norris, sighted two islands.  He also landed the islands and named them as “Liverpool” and “Thompson”. After this sighting, for decades navigators could not sight the islands. Only in 1878, Captain Williams of America claimed the sighting of the island again. Captain Joseph Fuller also sighted both islands on 1893. But mysteriously, on 1898 when it was rediscovered by Carl Chun, there were undisputed only one island. The Thompson island was never sighted later. It is most likely that the island subsided under sea.

The Bouvet island is a small volcanic island, 6 miles by 4 miles in size. It is the most isolated and remotest island in the world, being 2000 km north of Antarctica and 2525 km south west of South Africa. Bouvet’s success of falling in with this microscopic and isolated spot of land in the course of a brief excursion southward of his normal course is one of the most remarkable lucky dips in the whole history of exploration.

In 1927, Bouvet island was claimed by Norway but British annexed it initially. But later it was accepted and became dependent territory of Norway in 1930. In 1971, Norway declared it as a nature reserve. The island still considered to be difficult to approach by sea. he easiest way to access the island is with a helicopter from a ship.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , ,

Immortality is a gift of nature!

Posted on 04 June 2012 by RE Team

Immortality is one of the fascinations of humans. It may be a science fiction for us, it’s not a wonder for nature. But, nature has gifted immortality to one of the species already. The only known species in Earth with biological immortality is “Turritopsis nutricula“. This species is a type of Jellyfish can be of the size of a human nail (diameter of about 4.5 millimeters) when fully developed.

 

The immortal Turritopsis Nutricula

 

Immortality is one of the fascinations of humans. It may be a science fiction for us, it’s not a wonder for nature. But, nature has gifted immortality to one of the species already. The only known species in Earth with biological immortality is “Turritopsis nutricula“. This species is a type of Jellyfish can be of the size of a human nail (diameter of about 4.5 millimeters) when fully developed.

The Jellyfish has achieved the immortality through a biological cell development process, called transdifferentiation. Cell transdifferentiation is when the jellyfish “alters the differentiated state of the cell and transforms it into a new cell. With this process, the species can revert to the polyp stage, a sexually immature, colonial stage, after becoming sexually mature. Theoretically, this process can go on infinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish biologically immortal. No single specimen of this Jellyfish has been observed for any extended period, so it is impossible to estimate the age of an individual.

This species was first discovered in 1883. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that this unique ability to transform back into younger self once it has become sexually mature and has mated was uncovered. Many marine biologists and geneticists are now studying the jellyfish in order to determine how it is able to reverse its aging process.

Turritopsis is believed to have originated in the Caribbean but has spread all over the world. It is believed to be spreading across the world as ships are discharging ballast water in ports. Since the species is immortal, the number of individuals could be spiking. Are we on the verse of a a worldwide silent invasion??

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

The tallest in the planet

Posted on 04 June 2012 by RE Team

James Cameron may have imagined giant hometrees in Pandora with height more than 150 meters in his 3D animation movie “Avatar”. But our own planet Earth is also not too behind in this in reality. Do you know the tallest living organism in our planet? We have listed down all the competitors in the race here.

1. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) - Tallest in North America and the TALLEST in the planet. It is an evergreen, monoecious tree with a life span more than 3000 years. Currently found in coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon in the United States, this species of tree can grow beyond 100 meters. The tallest known living Redwood is 115.3 meters (379 feet) known as Hyperion. It was discovered September 8, 2006, by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, naturalists who explored California coast redwoods including Redwood National Park.

 

Coast Redwood - courtesy Richard Masoner @flickr

 

2. Australian Mountain-ash (Eucalyptus regnans) - The Australian Mountain-ash, a species of Eucalyptus native to southeastern Australia, in Tasmania and Victoria, is a contender from Oceania. It is defnitely one of the tallest species in the planet and in very close run with Coast-Redwood. It’s always debatable which species is the tallest, but the Mountain-as is the undoubtedly the evergreen tree os the tallest flowering plant with an average heightof  around 80 meters.  The tallest measured living specimen, named Centurion, stands 99.6 metres tall in Tasmania. But there are many controversial claims exceeding more than 120 meters. Due to heavy deforestation, logging in Australia in lste 19th century, it is believed that many of the tallest specimens fell prey to humans. Historically, the tallest individual is claimed to be the Ferguson Tree, at 132.6 metres (435 ft), found in the Watts River region of Victoria in 1871.  The claim considered to be unreliable. The most reliable claim stands at  112.8 metres (370 ft)  in 1880 by a surveyor, George Cornthwaite, at Thorpdale, Victoria.

 

Australian Mountain Ash - courtesy Poytr(Pete the poet) @flickr

 

3.  Yellow Meranti (Shorea faguetiana) - The contender in this category from Asia is a Yellow Meranti. This tree is in Tawau Hills Park of Malaysia. The tree is measured as  88.32 Meters (about 290 feet) in height. This is supposed to be the tallest tropical tree in the planet.

4. Caucasian Fir (Abies nordmanniana) - The tallest native tree of Europe is the Caucasian Fir, which grows in the Caucasus as well in Turkey. Alan Mitchell (1996) gives 68.6 m (225 feet) as its greatest height.
Vladimir Dinets (e-mail 1998) gives a maximum height of 78 m (255.9 feet) near Mzymta River in the Caucasian National Reserve, Russia.

5.  Patagonian Cypress (Fitzroya cupressoides) -  This large evergreen, dioecious tree species is the contender from South America. It is not only the tallest in South America but also one of the logest living species known in the planet. The tallest specimen though not recorded may be more than 70 meters in Argetina. Guardaparques (park rangers) state in Argentina has trees ranging 60-70 meters that can be found on the southern branch of Lake Menendez, but that area is restricted to visitors and there aren’t trails or roads to get there.

6. Antarctica is out of this contest as no tree grows in the continent.

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Top 5 most dense forests in the planet

Posted on 05 May 2012 by RE Team

It’s very difficult to measure how dense a forest is. A dense forest is a forest thick with trees or having trees growing very closely together.

It has been estimated that about half of the Earth’s mature tropical forests between 7.5 million and 8 million square km of the original 15 million to 16 million square km that until 1947 covered the planet have now been cleared. Some scientists have predicted that unless significant measures are taken on a worldwide basis, by 2030 there will only be ten percent remaining, with another ten percent in a degraded condition.

 

A Rain Forest

 

The good news is that there are still some dense forests covering vast area in the planet. Some of them are listed below:

Amazonia basin

Amazonia basin in South America is home to the world’s largest contiguous tropical rain forest. The Amazon is the world’s second longest and the most voluminous river spreading across nine countries. The Amazon basin encompasses 7,000,000 square kilometers (1.2 billion acres), while the forest itself, home to the greatest variety of plants and animals on Earth. occupies some 5,500,000 square kilometers. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the  rain forest, followed by Peru with 13%, and with minor amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. One fifth of all the world’s plants and birds and almost  one tenth of all mammal species are found here. Unfortunately, deforestation is a serious threat to the Amazon forests. The mean annual deforestation rate from 2000 to 2005 (22,392 km2 per year) was 18% higher than in the previous five years (19,018 km2 per year). At the current rate, in two decades the Amazon Rain forest will be reduced by 40%.

Congo Basin

The Congo river, second longest river in Africa, generates the second largest contiguous rain forest in the planet along with it’s tributaries. his vast forest runs through six African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo and Zaire) stretching from the Mountains of the Moon in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. It is a land made famous by the adventures of Stanley and Livingstone and known as a place of brutality and violence for its past. Logging and agricultural clearing are the two major threats to this biologically diverse and rich region and deforestation is happening at an alarming rate. Since the 1980’s, this region the one of the highest loss of forest rates in the world.

Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asian rain forests are the oldest, the most consistent rain forests on the planet. These forests are there since Pleistocene Epoch for more than 70 million years. Southeast Asian forests are one of the Earth’s most biologically diverse forests. These rain forests
stretch from India and Burma in the west to Malaysia and the islands of Java and Borneo in the east. Here again, deforestation of the rain forests in Southern Asia is a serious environmental problem, with over 85% of original rain forests already gone and more being destroyed daily.

Australian temperate forests

Comprising the lowland temperate forests around the Great Dividing Range, the Southeast Australian Temperate Forests comprise a wide variety of vegetation. Unlike the rest of mainland Australia, this region is well-watered with a temperate climate. A diverse mix of vegetation is found throughout this ecoregion, including coastal vegetation,
dense heath, temperate rainforest, riparian communities, wet sclerophyll forests, dry sclerophyll forests, and eucalypt woodlands.The quintessential Australian genus, Eucalyptus dominates in all better-watered regions of Australia, including the Southeast Australia Temperate Forests. There are approximately 700 species of Eucalyptus, and only seven are found outside Australia. Recently this forest has been found to be the home of the world’s most carbon-dense forests, according to researchers from the Australian National University
This ecoregion has been heavily impacted by European settlement, and within the ecoregion the most extensive clearance of native vegetation has occurred to the west of the Dividing Range.

Taiga

The Taiga biome, southerly part of the biome also known as Boreal forest,
stretches across a large portion of Canada, Europe and Asia. It is the largest biome in the world. It has a harsh continental climate with a very large temperature range between seasons. There are two major types of taiga, closed forest, consisting of many closely-spaced trees with mossy ground cover, and lichen woodland, with trees that are farther-spaced
and lichen ground cover; the latter is more common in the northernmost taiga. The taiga is home to a number of large herbivorous mammals and smaller rodents. These animals have adapted to survive a climate harsh for humans. A number of wildlife species threatened or endangered with extinction can be found in the Canadian Boreal forest. Large areas of Siberia’s taiga have been harvested for lumber since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Canada, less than eight percent of the Boreal forest is protected from development and more than 50% has been allocated to logging companies for cutting.

Comments (19)

MOST CONCERNED ENDANGERED SPECIES

Photos of Nature