Geological Vista

Grand View

Grand Canyon, South Rim, Arizona

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Water Wheel

The Old Mill Pond

Water Wheel, 1843, Den Gamle By (Old Town), Aarhus, Denmark

A working water wheel, built in 1843 at Den Gamle By (Old Town) in Aarhus, Denmark.

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Connecting The Tiles

Mosaic Ceiling Tiles

Detail of Ceiling Mosaic, Billards Room, The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island

The Billiards Room ceiling was designed in the style of ancient Rome, with marble, alabaster, and other semi-precious stones covering the walls, floor, and ceiling. Mosaics one the ceiling included sea motifs.  Dolphins, which can be found as decorative elements in several rooms, are an ancient symbol of hospitality. The room was designed by the architect Richard Morris Hunt.

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Kopjes

Catching Some Rays in the Serengeti

Lions sunning on top of a large rock, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

As we were driving across the Serengeti, we began to see huge boulders and isolated stacks of rocks jutting from the plains. They were a stark contrast to the endless grass covered plains. The granite and gneiss outcroppings in the western Serengeti are called kopjes. They are over 550 million years old; the surrounding rock/soil through which they protrude is over 1200 million years old. The ancient stacked rocks are the result of volcanic activity. Serengeti soil is composed of volcanic rock and ash covering an older layer of metamorphic rock. The softer rocks and ash eroded, revealing the granite kopjes. The rock formations are an important part of the Serengeti’s ecosystem. They provide habitat for a plants, animals, insects, birds and reptiles. Lions often use the kopjes as vantage points to look for game and predators and as lounging areas. The kopjes pictured here is one of the simpler formations we saw.

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Wonder of the Natural World

Migration

Migration, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Uneven Surface

Bark

Bark, Coastal Redwood, Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea, CA

The soft, fibrous bark of the coastal redwood is fire resistant. Tannins in the bark, which can be up to 12 inches thick on a mature tree, help protect the tree from insect damage. California’s coastal redwood is the tallest tree on earth, reaching as high as a 30-story building. Trunks as wide as 27 feet have been noted. The bark in the photo is from a younger example of a tree that can reach 2000 years old. On older trees, the bark is bright orange-red.

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