Our Amazing Earth

Enchanted by Llamas

Llamas, iconic animals of the Andes Mountains, have been the trusted companions of humans for thousands of years. Llamas are superb pack animals and excel at moving on rough, rocky, and steep terrain. I’m happy to report my good fortune in recently taking an overnight camping trip with Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas on the edge of Capitol Reef National Park. It was a fabulous trip!

Hot News About Kilauea

On Kilauea in Hawaii, between January 27 and February 1, 2024, scientists have observed more than a thousand earthquakes and ground deformation that indicate pulses of magma are moving at shallow depth beneath the surface. The Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory (HVO) is closely monitoring this activity and notes that an eruption could occur with little warning.

By |2024-02-01T15:01:40-07:00February 1st, 2024|Our Amazing Earth|4 Comments

Rock, Paper, and Three Maji

An unusual Christmas nativity scene with characters constructed from water-smoothed pebbles and including the Three Maji, or Wise Men, recently caught my attention. From materials ranging from rocks and paper to wood, ceramics, and beyond, all around the world there are captivating art displays of nativity scenes that represent the birth of Jesus.

By |2023-12-21T09:07:18-07:00December 21st, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|8 Comments

Andean Silver and the Taj Mahal

The extraordinary Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is a famous symbol of love and devotion. Tremendous wealth was required to construct this monument. There is a direct connection to precious metals of the Incas and their ancestors – and particularly, to silver from the Potosí mine high in the Andes Mountains.

By |2023-11-16T11:12:27-07:00November 16th, 2023|Ancient Andean Cultures, Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Monoliths, Megaliths, and Ancient Quarries – Part 3

Polynesians living on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) carved enormous stylized human figures known as moai thousands of years after ancient societies built the Stonehenge and Egyptian monuments. Easter Island, formed by three volcanoes that rose out of the sea, contains a variety of volcanic rocks. The ancient carvers carefully selected rocks and carved their statues between about 1250 and 1500 CE. Nearly 900 of the moai can be seen on the island today.

By |2023-10-14T06:20:38-07:00October 14th, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|2 Comments

Footprints at White Sands and Beyond

Human footprints found in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, were associated with astonishingly ancient age dates in 2021. New research published in the October 5, 2023 issue of Science reports on two independent age dating techniques that corroborate the third technique. The data show that the footprints are between 23,000 and 21,000 years old. This will require fundamental changes in rewriting our history.

By |2023-10-10T07:08:07-07:00October 10th, 2023|Fabulous Fossils & More, Our Amazing Earth|8 Comments

Monoliths, Megaliths, and Ancient Quarries—Part 2

Ancient people made circular arrangements of enormous stones at Stonehenge beginning around 5,000 years ago in the southern part of modern England. Compared with other ancient megalithic monuments in Europe, Stonehenge is unique for the great distances that the builders moved blocks. Archaeologists have shown that quarry locations for some multi-ton blocks are about 140 mi (225 km) distant.

By |2023-10-05T07:00:57-07:00October 3rd, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|4 Comments

Monoliths, Megaliths, and Ancient Quarries—Part 1

For thousands of years, ancient people collected and transported enormous rocks from quarries to carve their gigantic statues and shape blocks for pyramids, temples, and other monumental structures. The ancient Egyptians are particularly renowned for their work with massive blocks. They used around 200 different quarries over 3,000 years, and worked sandstone, limestone, basalt, granites, and many other types of rocks .

By |2023-09-29T19:57:40-07:00September 28th, 2023|Ancient Andean Cultures, Our Amazing Earth|4 Comments

Sand – Slip Sliding Away

Sand surrounds us–and while it may seem in infinite supply, it is not. Currently, sand is being used up much faster than it is being replenished. Sand and gravel, collectively known as aggregate, are the most widely extracted solid materials on Earth. A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme recognizes sand as a strategic resource–and one with looming challenges.

By |2023-08-30T16:19:37-07:00August 30th, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|8 Comments

Concrete Concerns

The second-most-used substance on Earth is concrete; the first is water. Enormous volumes of cement and concrete are produced each year, and amounts are rising significantly with population growth and emerging economies. Concrete is a major greenhouse gas contributor to climate change, so reductions in this footprint are critically needed.

By |2023-08-03T08:16:06-07:00August 3rd, 2023|Our Amazing Earth|10 Comments
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