Cassini probe spots dust storm on Titan

Earth, Mars and now Titan form an exclusive club among the solar system's celestial bodies: dust storms.

Titan is an intriguing world – in a way quite similar to Earth. In fact, it is the only moon of the Solar System with a substantial atmosphere and the only celestial body other than our planet where stable bodies of surface liquid are known to still exist.

There is one big difference though: while on Earth such rivers, lakes and seas are filled with water, on Titan it is primarily methane and ethane that flows through these liquid reservoirs. In this unique methane cycle, the hydrocarbon molecules evaporate, condense into clouds and rain back onto the ground.

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Behold this glorious underwater waterfall off Mauritius

Le Morne Brabant on the southwest coast of Mauritius has a cool optical illusion offshore: water flowing between two reefs pulls sand out to sea, giving the appearance of an underwater waterfall.

YouTuber RubenMRU says:

So the day after my birthday this year saw one of my dreams come true... Vassen Kauppaymuthoo of Delphinium Ltd took me out on a boat trip to the south west coast of Mauritius and we've captured the now famous Underwater waterfall of Mauritius... Now it's not really a waterfall, it only appears to be one from above - this illusion is caused by the trails of sand on the sea floor, being dragged away by water going between the opening in the reefs

Earthporn has some other lovely images:

Some good ones on Instagram, too:

View this post on Instagram

discovered the underwater "waterfall" is real.. i still can't comprehend how places like this exist

A post shared by P A R I S πšπš›πšŠπšŸπšŽπš• πš πš’πšπš‘ πš–πšŽ (@parisverra) on Sep 10, 2017 at 6:28pm PDT

β€’ 2018-06-12 - Mauritius's Underwater Waterfall (YouTube / ReubenMRU) Read the rest

Cool satellite view of dozens of oxbow lakes formed when a river changed course

When a river changes course on its flood plain, it can leave an entire bend of the river cut off from the new flow, forming an oxbow lake. Seen in bright blue in this shot of the Songhua River in northeast China, they are usually narrow crescents. Read the rest

Here's how the Hawai'ian Islands formed

Scientific American created this helpful explainer of how the chain of Hawai'ian Islands formed. The tectonic plate is moving northwest over a magma hot spot in the earth's mantle. In fact, there's a new Hawai'ian island named Loihi forming underwater right now. Read the rest

Fire and brimstone: watch volcanoes emit psychedelic blue flames

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been spewing hypnotic blue flames thanks to the burning brimstone (aka sulfur). Read the rest

Here's what this week's Mars space mission will observe

NASA successfully launched the InSight mission to Mars this week. This is a great overview of what scientists will be learning about Martian geology. Read the rest

Watch a terrific explainer on Hawaiian lava flows

Geologist Jerry Magloughlin made a lava video that's a real labor of love. It describes the marvelous complexity of Hawaiian lava flows, combined with lots of cool footage and interesting facts. Plan on learning many new things. Read the rest

Mysterious extraterrestrial minerals discovered in the Sahara

Libyan desert glass is a material of unknown origin scattered across a large swath of the Sahara. Among it, scientists found Hypatia stones, a strange phosphorous-nickel alloy recently determined to be extra-terrestrial. Read the rest

Gentleman drinks water trapped in a rock for 2 million years

The fine folks at Waterjet Channel found an enhydro agate, a type of metamorphic rock that formed with a pocket of liquid water inside. Naturally, they broke it open to get to the water and drank it. Read the rest

Track weekly lava changes at a volcano with this helicopter diary

Mick Kalber of Paradise Helicopters takes tourists and photographers up over Pu'u 'O'o's lava lake and other remarkable lava flows each week. For those of us who can go up each week with him, he shares a weekly diary of his favorite moments. Read the rest

This professor makes mini-volcanoes with real lava

Artist Bob Wysocki plays around with homemade lava to create cool experiments that mesh sculpture and geology. Here, he makes a mini shield volcano. Read the rest

Island forms off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina

A mile-long island emerged from the sea 100 yards out from Cape Hatteras.

Since being discovered, countless visitors and locals have made the trek to see if the weeks of rumors about the island’s existence – as well as the stories that it’s a haven for shells – are true.

The answer to both questions appears to be yes.

I superimposed the equivalent view from Google Earth, over Chad Koczera's photo, in the GIF above. Read the rest

Spherical-cut meteorite on ebay, yours for $18,000

Listed as a Seymchan Pallasite Olivine Meteorite, this beautiful item is priced $18,000 but they're accepting offers.

Mineral Origin: Magadan District, Russia, 1967 Diameter: 2.77" / 70.3 mm Weight: 2 lbs 4.3 oz / 1029 grams / 1.029 kilograms

...Seymchan is a Pallasite meteorite found in the dry bed of the Hekandue River in the Magadan District, Russia, near the settlement of Seymchan in June 1967 ...

Pallasites consist of a nickel-iron matrix packed with Olivine crystals and account for less than 2% of all known meteorites ... and unlike many meteorites, Seymchan is stable and rust resistant!

Due to the rarity of the Seymchan material and the large cut loss incurred to make a sphere, very few have been cut! ... and we can almost guarantee, another one this size is unlikely to be ever cut!

In April 2016, a Seymchan Pallasite sphere sold at Christie's Auction for over $10,000! ... and it was only 434 grams! ... less than half the size of this one! In October 2012, a 548 gram Seymchan Pallasite sphere sold for $13,000!

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Tourist kicks over annoying 10-million-year old stalagmite

An irritating and frankly dangerous hazard at the popular caves in Tongren City, China, was finally dealt with recently by an enterprising tourist. And they want to track him down and fine him! For getting rid of a useless piece of rock growing for millions of years one mineral-laden drop at a time! No good deed goes unpunished. Read the rest

Incredible giant chocolate geodes

Alex Yeatts, a student at the Culinary Institute of America, worked for six months to cook up amazing chocolate geode cakes. Crack one open to reveal the dazzling sugar crystals. Stunning work.

A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 11, 2017 at 10:18am PST

A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:59am PDT

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Geologists on the impossible logistics of the 1,000-mile Great Wall of Trump

Donald Trump has issued an executive order calling for a 1,000-mile-long wall on the US-Mexican border. The order allows for six months to survey all 1,000 miles before the groundbreaking. Read the rest

Did Mars have ice cauldrons which could support life?

Researchers at UT Austin have analyzed a deep depression on Mars that differs from a typical crater. The Hellas depression may in fact be an ancient ice cauldron, where a glacier forms over an active volcano, creating a chemical-rich environment that could support life forms. Read the rest

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