Posts Tagged "south america"

Is a new Fern Gully in the making on a sub-Antarctic island?

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Science | 2 comments

Is a new Fern Gully in the making on a sub-Antarctic island?

Spread the News:ShareAn unusual form of life was recently discovered on a glacier located on a remote island in the Southern Ocean. Signy Island is part of the sub-Antarctic South Orkney Islands, about 600 kilometers northeast of  the Antarctic Peninsula and 900 km southeast of Tierra del Fuego. The site of a former whaling station and the current home of a British research facility, Signy Island is largely covered with ice, the surface of which is pockmarked with holes in many sections. The life-form was found in one of these surface holes. Material called cryoconite –windblown dust made of rock, soot and microscopic organisms– has settled on the surface of ice on Signy Island, as it has on many other glaciers and icesheets. Generally dark in color, cryoconite absorbs solar energy and melts the ice surface. The melting creates depressions in which cryoconite settles, further intensifying the melt. This process can  create deep and sometimes narrow tubular holes which contain significant amounts of sediment. Researcher Dr. Ronald Lewis-Smith from the Centre for Antarctic Plant Ecology and Diversity in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, collected sediment from the bottom of these ice tubes in November 1999. He carefully cultured the materials at the research station on Signy Island, and over the following months some plants began to grow.  The first ones to appear, consisting of mosses and a kind of non-flowering plant called liverworts, were all native to the island. A more unusual one appeared after a few more months. Initially identified as a liverwort, it was sent to a laboratory in England, where it was cultivated on a base of sterilized moss from Signy Island. As this plant grew, it became evident that it was a fern, and therefore not a native to the island. It took several years for it to grow large enough to be identified. Photographs of the plant and two fronds were sent to the Natural History Museum in London, where specialist identified it as Elaphoglossum hybridum. This species is found across a wide area of southern Africa, and also on islands in the southern Indian Ocean, as well as Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. These sites all lie to the north and the east of Signy Island. Some locations are as close as 1500 km to the island. However, the prevailing winds are from the west,. As the author states, “The most probable explanation for the spore, from which the present plant developed, reaching Signy Island was by encircling the Southern Hemisphere on an east–west trajectory at high altitude.” The survival of this viable spore is thus a testimony both to its ruggerd vitality and to the ability of the glacier to preserve it. This fern could not grow in Signy Island’s current climate, but Lewis-Smith’s research does show that diaspores–plant seeds or spores –could be preserved in glacier ice and be viable for growth if the climate becomes more hospitable for them in the future. It is striking to think of the future of Signy Island when current warming trends progress further. Glaciers might contribute to the appearance of new species in two ways. Firstly, as they retreat, there will be an expansion of the ice-free areas in which plants can grow. And secondly, they may release biological material such as this spore, from which new species, not known on the island, may grow. Perhaps, thanks to climate change, Signy Island could one day resemble Fern Gully. The new ferns could be a testimony to the glaciers, which will be much diminished by that time. Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Glaciers for all seasons in Patagonia

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, Images, Tourism | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Glaciers for all seasons in Patagonia

Spread the News:SharePatagonia’s stunning scenery was the reason this area of southern Argentina became the namesake of the popular brand of outdoor clothing. Photographer Alex Proimos photographed its glacier ice caves, mountain lakes and the impressive Fitz Roy mountain in 2011. See more pictures from his trip in his Flickr gallery. Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at glacierhub@gmail.com. _MG_2434 El Chaltén, a well-known spot for trekking and hiking, is a small village of 1,000 people located 216 km (134 miles) from El Calafate. Its tourist infrastructure is very limited and intended for hikers. Most of the expeditions to the Fitz Roy and Torre mountains depart from here.(Alex E. Promios/Flickr) _MG_2822 The Glacier and Cerro Torre. (Alex E. Promios/Flickr) IMG_2640 Fitz Roy and the Lagunas. (Alex E. Promios/Flickr) _MG_2124 Perito Moreno Tour Boat (Alex E. Promios/Flickr) IMG_2116 Perito Moreno Glacier Ice Cave (Alex E. Promios/Flickr) _MG_2075 Glazing at the Ice. (Alex E. Promios/Flickr) IMG_1998 A trip to this imposing glacier gives you a chance to walk on the ice wearing cleats and to see and hear a truly astounding spectacle: blocks of ice rupturing and floating away as icebergs. (Alex E. Promios/Flickr) Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Highland communities in Ancash, Peru

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in All Posts, Communities, Images | 1 comment

Photo Friday: Highland communities in Ancash, Peru

Spread the News:ShareAnthropologist Kate Dunbar wrote her dissertation on highland communities in Peru’s Ancash region. The glaciers in this area are important sources of drinking and irrigation water for these villages as well as myriad downstream users. Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at glacierhub@gmail.com. Ancash Peru (photo by Kate Dunbar) Ancash Peru (photo by Kate Dunbar) Ancash Peru (photo by Kate Dunbar) Ancash Peru (photo by Kate Dunbar) Ancash Peru (photo by Kate Dunbar) Spread the...

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If a glacier melts on a mountain, does anyone hear it?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Experiences, Featured Posts, Science | 5 comments

If a glacier melts on a mountain, does anyone hear it?

Spread the News:Share In June 2014 the two of us—an anthropologist and an experimental musician, both from Peru– visited Quelccaya, a large glacier high in the Andes. We wanted to record the sounds of its ice as it melted. This trip formed part of our ongoing collaborative project. We are interested establishing new approaches to questions of climate change. The field recordings that we have included in this post present a sonic narration of our encounter with this glacier. They were made with a variety of low- and hi-fi digital and analog recording devices. Our recordings begin by presenting the soundscape of the back of an open-top cargo truck moving through the Andean landscape. These sounds were recorded during our trip, many hours long, on dusty dirt roads to the community of Phinaya about 80 miles from the city of Cusco. Quelccaya01 Quelccaya08 Quelccaya10 Walking to Quelccaya Quelccaya12 Quelccaya14 Quelccaya16 Quelccaya18 Quelccaya17 Once in Phinaya, we continued to the southwest section of the glacier, where a large, unnamed lake has recently formed. In 2004, this lake burst its banks, creating a flood that affected several families of indigenous herders, along with their animals. We recorded the sounds of a small and the largest tributary streams that flows into this lake. They both offer overlapping sonic forms as they wind their way through gaps between rocks and frozen soil, reverberating with the glacier and rock walls. We continued on to a small upper stream, where drops of water fell from an icicle and splashed onto a rock. And then we paused to make a sonic image recording right next to one of the biggest faces of the glacier, seeking to capture the way that it absorbs the sounds of a small stream running next to it. Up on the glacier, we explored a number of ice caves. We experimented with an omnidirectional microphone inside an ice cave five meters wide. We were struck with the dull sound of the water dripping from the top of the cave onto the floor and running both inside and outside the ice cave. We placed a low-fi Dictaphone inside a small ice cave, only 50 cm wide, which created a distortion effect. We used an omnidirectional microphone to a stream running inside the glacier. As we continued, we found more sounds to record and more ways to experiment with our equipment. We placed an analogue hydrophone under the surface of a small stream, and captured the sounds of tiny rocks that this moving water displaced. And we were able as well to capture the interaction between massive ice blocks with minute ice crystals that fell from the surface of the glacier. We plan to return to this astonishing soundscape that emerges as climate change drives glacier retreat. Next time, however, we want to bring more equipment and involve people from Phinaya interested in making their own recordings of the glacier. We also look forward to developing ties with other people who are exploring such soundscapes around the world, in the hope that the voice of the glaciers will stimulate an alternative sensorial approach to climate change; namely, one which is not dominated by visuality. This guest post was written by Gustavo Valdivia and Tomás Tello. If you’d like to write a guest post for GlacierHub, contact us at glacierhub@gmail.com or @glacierhub on Twitter.  Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Life as a Chilean cowboy in the Andes

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Life as a Chilean cowboy in the Andes

Spread the News:SharePhotographer Peter Haden traveled to Chile in 2007 and shot a photo essay of Leo, a huaso who lives in the Andes. For more photos, visit Haden’s Flickr page. Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at glacierhub@gmail.com. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. Leo the Huaso lives in the Andes mountains of central Chile. A huaso is a Chilean countryman and skilled horseman. They are an important part of Chilean folkloric culture. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. A huaso works his land near San Fernando. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. He is 65 and has lived in the same village all his life. From there, it's a one-and-a-half hour drive to the Pacific Ocean. He has never seen it. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. Leo saddles his horse at Cascada de Animas in Cajon Del Maipo. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. A huaso works his land near San Fernando. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. Leo has fathered six sons by three women in the same town. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. Leo the Huaso lives in the Andes mountains of central Chile. A huaso is a Chilean countryman and skilled horseman. They are an important part of Chilean folkloric culture. Leo the Huaso lives the cowboy life in the Andes Mountains of central Chile. Leo doesn't drink water or eat vegetables. In fact, Leo only eats beef and washes it down with red wine, morning, noon, and night.   Spread the...

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