Posts by Nellie Van Driska

Photo Friday: Sichuan–Tibet Highway

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Featured Posts, Images, Tourism, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Sichuan–Tibet Highway

Spread the News:ShareThe Sichuan–Tibet Highway is known as China’s most dangerous highway. The highway begins in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, and ends in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The highway spans 2,142 km, or 1331 miles, over 14 mountains (some with glaciers), runs through ancient forests, and crosses many rivers.  Because of the steep inclines of the landscape, the road was constructed with many curves and zigzags. Running through valleys, up and down mountains, and across or alongside rapid rivers, the route is made even more perilous by the fact that it is not fully paved with proper roads in some places. Originally called the Kangding-Tibet Highway, this lengthy road will take the most dedicated traveler 44 hours to drive, but can take up to 15 days for someone who wants to stop and see all the sights (like a glacier or two) along the way. Yulong Xueshan - Jade Dragon Snow Mountain near Lijiang in Yunnan Source: Brücke-Osteuropa/ WikimediaCommons Map of route Source: google maps aerial view Source: dangerousroads Friendship Highway (G318) after Lhakpa La Pass Source: Royonx/Wikimedia Commons Hairpin turns Source: 张骐/Wikimedia Commons A group of adventurous drivers took 11 sports cars on a journey along the famously perilous Sichuan–Tibet Highway, six of which didn’t even make it halfway. The disastrous results from the ill-advised adventure include a Ferrari and a Maserati with damages like broken axles and sheared tires. See the video below for highlights from their trip. Spread the...

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Artist Jodi Patterson and the ‘Emergency of Now’

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 4 comments

Artist Jodi Patterson and the ‘Emergency of Now’

Spread the News:ShareAs a painter, Jodi Patterson spent decades inside a studio. Now, as a landscape photographer, she uses photography as a platform for activism. Glaciers and icebergs, both susceptible to climate change, are a frequent subject of hers. She also enjoys photographing landscapes like rivers with waterfalls and mountain ranges. Since 1989, Patterson has been exhibiting her art across the globe, including displays at such sites as the Manhattan Cultural Center, the Tate Modern in London, Ph21 gallery in Budapest, and COP21 at La Maison Bleu in Paris. She has been published in the International Journal of Art in Education and the Visual Arts Research Journal and serves as co-editor of  ARTIZEIN: Arts and Teaching Journal. Patterson has extensive travel experience, which informs her deep appreciation of nature, making it the subject of many of her photographs. Currently she works as an assistant professor and coordinator of Eastern Washington University’s art program.   GlacierHub spoke with Patterson by email.   GlacierHub: What first piqued your interest in photographing glaciers? And how does photographing glaciers differ from photographing other landscapes? Jodi Patterson: Access is key. It wasn’t until I moved out west that I became acquainted with the beauty of a glacier first-hand. Now that I live in Washington I can easily get in a car and tromp a glacier, or hop a short airplane ride to them. Admittedly, at first it was about the adventure – the challenge and nuance of traversing a glacier. But as I met people who live and work around them, they show me how far the glaciers move, and teach me how much their lives (and the lives of plants and animals) are affected by the receding of the ice. I then began using my ability to voice collective worries via my art and audience. All landforms have an essence. Glaciers have a dynamic balance of silence, sound and surprise – and offer a compelling and unique visual form to explore. The glory and grace of both their power and vulnerability is exactly the type of magnificence artists/people rarely get to experience first hand. Glaciers differ from landscapes due to their rarity of their form and the difficulty of walking to and on them.     GH: Many of your glacier images have surprisingly intense blues. Is this hard to capture? I stare at my photographs and marvel at the color and patterns of the glaciers. I never would or could have thought to paint the world with the colors that naturally emerge on, in and around glaciers. The blues in the crevasses of a glacier are formed through thousands of years of compression. There is simply nothing else in the world that combines light, water and mineral in a way that produces the stunning ice blues that creep up to the light. As you can tell, my camera loves this anomaly.     GH: Many of your glacier images show details of glaciers, rather than long views of entire mountains. Why is this? I suppose I take closer views of glaciers because I am closer – I am there. I am falling, slipping and tromping on the ice. I realize few people get to experience them as closely as I do – so I show it as I see it. Though I appreciate the compliment and attention to my work, I really have no hand in the base splendor of what the photographs reveal! As a photographer, I choose to use my art as a witness and advocate of the land and climate. I feel blessed to be able to share our...

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Roundup: Holes, Wedding, and Collapse

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Roundup, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Roundup: Holes, Wedding, and Collapse

Spread the News:ShareEach week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news. Holes in Glaciers May Harbor Unique Flora   From Czech Polar Reports – Masaryk University: “Cryoconite holes are small, extreme habitats, widespread in the ablation zones of glaciers worldwide. They can provide a suitable environment for microorganisms including bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, and invertebrate s. Diatoms have been previously recovered from cryoconite holes of Greenland and of Svalbard, and recent findings from Antarctica suggest that cryoconite holes may harbor a unique diatom flora distinct from other aquatic habitats nearby. In the present study, we characterize the diatom communities of Nordenskiöld glacier cryoconite holes in Billefjorden (Svalbard, Spitsbergen), and multivariate approaches were used to compare them with three freshwater localities in the immediate vicinity to investigate possible sources of the species pool.” Read more about what may be using holes in glaciers as habitats. Wedding Inside Icelandic Glacier     From Iceland Magazine: “The first wedding ceremony to take place inside Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier, happened last week when British couple Anthony and Mari were joined in marriage. Travel organiser Pink Iceland assisted the couple with their wedding plans, which began over a year ago. The bride and groom and their guests stayed at Hótel Húsafell, West Iceland, and the wedding location was kept secret up until the last moment. “After breakfast we made sure all the guests were well dressed. Then a number of super jeeps picked up the group and drove them up onto the glacier,” Eva María Þórarinsdóttir, one of Pink Iceland’s owners, told Vísir.” Learn more about this stunning glacier wedding. Argentina Glacier Collapse     From Fox News Latino: “Argentina’s massive Perito Moreno glacier this week began the process leading to its cyclical rupture, a spectacular event involving the collapse of huge masses of ice that draw thousands of tourists and that has not happened since 2012. “The Perito Moreno Glacier began its breakup process. We’re waiting! (We) came to experience it firsthand!,” said the Tourism Secretariat of El Califate, a city some 80 km (50 mi.) from the glacier, Tuesday on Twitter. Before the big show, a huge number of tourists and the news media began arriving at the Los Glaciares National Park in the southern province of Santa Cruz, which receives some 700,000 tourist each year. “It’s not known how long it’s going to take. We only know from earlier experiences. In the last breakups starting from the moment when the outflow starts, which is what happened this morning, the process normally takes … three or four days,” park official Matilde Oviedo told EFE.” See more of the video here and read more about the event here. Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Spotlight on Heard Island and Big Ben Volcano

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Images, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Spotlight on Heard Island and Big Ben Volcano

Spread the News:ShareBig Ben, a volcano on the remote sub-Antarctic Heard Island, has erupted three times in the past 15 years, but scientists have just recently been able to capture live images, reports CNET. Researchers were excited to observe lava spilling down the volcano’s Mawson Peak, down over the glacier that is situated there. Because of how remote the island is, humans haven’t been around to witness an eruption until now. According to the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment, Australia Antarctic Division: “The Heard and McDonald Islands (HIMI) is a subantarctic island group located in the Southern Ocean, about 4,000 kilometers south west of mainland Australia.” Because of its isolation, human activity on and around Heard Island is limited to short terrestrial and marine research expeditions. But there are a number of different birds and marine wildlife known to frequent the island and its icy waters. 1976 Map Heard Island 1976 Map of the Heard Island. Source: Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL), originally from CIA Indian Ocean Atlas Penguins Gentoo penguins are just one of the many species who can be spotted on Heard Island. Source: Liam Quinn/Wikimedia Commons Killer Whales Killer whales are frequenters of the waters around the island. Source: Robert Pittman/NOAA Antarctic Tern A type of bird called the Antarctic tern, is commonly spotted on or near Heard Island. Source: Butterfly voyages - Serge Ouachée Spoke visible from the peak Smoke wafting from the volcano Source: Pete Harmsen/IMAS Heard Island Heard Island is circled in red here. Source: TUBS/Wikimedia Commons Satellite image of eruption Satellite image of a 2012 eruption captured by NASA. Source: NASA Earth Observatory Spread the...

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Bacteria From the Sahara Desert Found on Swiss Glaciers

Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Science | 0 comments

Bacteria From the Sahara Desert Found on Swiss Glaciers

Spread the News:ShareBacteria living among dust particles from the Sahara have been found trapped in ice and snow on the Swiss Alps at an altitude of over 11,000 feet, according to a December article in Frontiers in Microbiology. The samplings collected from the Jungfraujoch region of Switzerland contained bacteria originally from northwest Africa, meaning these bacteria survived a remarkable wind-blown journey of over 1000 miles. These bacteria are particularly adapted to cope with UV radiation and dehydration stress, say authors Marco Meola, Anna Lazzaro, and Josef Zeyer. In February 2014 there was a strong Saharan dust event. According to the NASA Earth Observatory, dust events occur when powerful African winds uplift sand and dust into the atmosphere. Reaching high altitudes, clouds of dust are then transported across the globe through high altitude wind patterns. Initial uplift events are difficult to predict. In the past researchers collected dust samples via air capture, snatching the particulates, also called bioaerosols, straight out of the air before they landed. But it is difficult to grab enough dust using this method to have a sample size large enough for microbiological analyses, and the act of gathering particulates from the air often damages the samples that are captured. By collecting samples from snowpack in the European Alps, the researchers were able to obtain a pure sample without damaging the integrity and the potential viability of the particulates. Bioaerosols are airborne particles that contain biological matter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes fungi, bacteria, and even viruses. Charles Darwin first discovered bioaerosols on his famous journey across the Atlantic with the crew of the Beagle. He describes them in his 1846 An account of the fine dust which often falls on vessels in the Atlantic Ocean as “67 different organic forms in fine dust particles.” Saharan dust events that travel toward Europe are rare. Because these events are monitored in real-time at the Jungfraujoch meteorological station, researchers are able to connect samples to specific dust events. For their research, Meola, Lazzaro, and Zeyer used samples taken from a depth of 220 cm from an excavated vertical trench in June 2014. The particulates collected and attributed to the February 2014 Saharan dust event were tracked back to Algeria. Surrounding countries like Niger, Mali, and Morocco may have also contributed dust particles. Until they landed on the snow in Jungfraujoch, the bioaerosols stayed high in the upper atmosphere, where they were free from any risk of contamination. Three days after landing, the Sahara Dust particles were covered with fresh snow, preserving them by keeping them cold, insulated, and safe from UV radiation. Meola, Lazzaro, and Zeyer were surprised that one phylum of bacteria, Proteobacteria, was the most common in both the clean-snow control sample and in the Sahara dust sample. What they did discover in the Sahara dust snow samples was an abundance of pigment-producing bacteria from Africa, absent from the clean-snow samples, including the pigment-producing Gemmatimonadetes. These are bacteria that have adapted to cope with high amounts UV radiation, very low temperatures, stress from dehydration, and nutrient deficient conditions. These unique adaptations allow them to survive the long journey from Africa to Europe. It is remarkable that these tiny organisms, adapted to the desert conditions in the Sahara, can survive high in the atmosphere and as well as under the snow. Spread the...

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