Sunday, November 29, 2009


Diamond (1.91 carat cuttable gem-grade yellow complex crystal) from Matto Grosso, Brazil.

Diamond (0.99 carat light-fancy pink dodecahedral crystal) from Argyle Mine, Kimberley, Western Australia, Australia.

Diamond (2.49 carat gem-grade green tetrahexahedral crystal) from Aredor Mine, 35 km east of Kérouané, Guinea.

Diamond (1.63 carat sherry-colored complex crystal) from Diavik Mine, East Island, Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Diamond (4.88 carat greenish-gray octahedral crystal) from Bakwanga Mine, Mbuji-Mayi (Miba), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire).


Rubi, Perla, Diamante, Topaz, Zafiro, Amatista, Esmeralda




Topaz Dorado

Topaz Azul




Bermuda Sand Grains
Sand grains from the beaches of tropical islands like Bermuda are filled with fascinating remnants of biological organisms, including sea urchin spines, shell fragments, bits of coral, glass-like sponge spicules, and the tiny shells of single-cell protists known as forams.

Maui Red
Three sand grains from the red sand beach at Makena Point, Maui are heavily eroded, revealing their beautiful interiors.

Puffy Stars
Star-Shaped Sand Grains from Okinawa. These tiny foram, a type of protozoa, secrete beautiful star-shaped, calcium carbonate shells, or tests.

Heart Gems
Sand grains from around the world are mixed together like a pouch full of gems. The sand grains are from Maui, Hawaii, Japan, California, Ireland, Bermuda, and Minnesota.

Blue, Orange & Pink Sand Grains
The tip of a spiral shell has broken off and become a grain of sand. After being repeatedly tumbled by action of the surf this spiral sand grain has become opalescent in character. It is surrounded by bits of coral, shell, and volcanic material.


New Hampshire
Leaves beginning to change color on the Swift River along the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountain National Forest in Albany, N.H.

South of Tahoe

Aspen trees in Carson Pass and Hope Valley along state 88 south of Tahoe, in California.

Pennsylvania Poconos
The Pennsylvania Poconos are among the state’s most popular tourist destinations. The region’s covered bridges are popular for cycling trips, while numerous lakes and rivers attract fishing enthusiasts. By autumn’s peak, the maple trees that dominate the area turn shades of orange and fiery red.

The diverse landscapes of Maine provide visitors with lots to choose from for an autumn vacation. From Sugarloaf Mountain in the west to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park in the east, visitors can enjoy scenic drives and idyllic landscapes ideal for leaf-peeping.

Rocky Mountains, Colorado
The golden hues of aspen trees in Colorado, set against the evergreens and dramatic peaks of the Rocky Mountains, provide a breathtaking landscape each fall. Plan your trip for early to mid-September, since the first snow arrives as early as October in many places around the state.

The Dolomites, Italy
In the section of the Italian Alps known as the Dolomites, the dramatic mountains rise above alpine lakes and small villages. Larch trees, native to the Alps, are one of the few conifers that drop their needles in the winter and change color in autumn, turning spectacular shades of yellow and gold.

New Mexico
New Mexico is known for its red rocks and high desert landscapes, but in the fall, the mountainsides light up as cottonwood, poplar and aspen trees transform to hues of yellow, orange and red.

From the winding Cuyahoga River in the north to the fertile farmland of Amish Country in central Ohio, dramatic fall color greets visitors across the state.

Slovenia in the Julian Alps
In the Julian Alps, eastern part of Europe’s famed Alps mountain range, Slovenia is a less-touristed destination for travelers seeking out fall color. The reflective waters of picturesque Lake Bled mirror the colorful hillsides.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, is the most-visited national park in the U.S. The striking display of turning leaves peaks later in fall (usually between mid-October and early November) and includes dozens of tree varieties including oak, maple and hickory.

Nova Scotia
The eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia is known for the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy, but also for its impressive fall foliage. Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail, nearly 200 miles long, offers views of both the coast and inland forests.

Catskills, Adirondacks of New York
New York’s Catskills and Adirondack mountains provide a variety of sweeping landscapes, from river gorges to plummeting cliffs. The most common trees — maple, oak and birch — reach their peak color between the end of September and mid-October.

Bavaria, Germany
In the region of Bavaria, in southeastern Germany, hillsides are dotted with castles, churches and palaces. Many travelers plan a trip to this area for Oktoberfest, the annual festival known for its beer, sausages and music. It’s held in late September and early October, coinciding with the months when the region is awash in fall color.

Cascade Mountains, Pacific Northwest
Throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Cascade mountain range provides a dramatic backdrop for the changing leaves. On clear fall days, snowcapped peaks throughout Oregon and Washington state are visible above the striking fall colors.

Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
Texas is not as well-known for its forests and foliage as some other states, but in Lost Maples State Natural Area, the maple trees offer a spectacular display of fall color each autumn.

White Mountains, New Hampshire
In the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, visitors can enjoy scenic drives, waterfalls, river gorges and covered bridges in addition to a colorful array of fall foliage.

Japan is famous for its spectacular display of springtime cherry blossoms, but every autumn the foliage on those and other deciduous trees turns vivid shades of red, orange and yellow. At temples and parks around the country, some displays are illuminated, offering a contrasting view of the foliage in the evenings.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The blooming ocean
This Envisat image captures a blue-green plankton bloom larger than the country of Greece, stretching across the Barents Sea off the tip of northern Europe. Envisat acquired the image on Aug. 19 with its Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer. MERIS's primary objective is to provide quantitative ocean-color measurements.

Above the world's roof
This image from the European Space Agency's Envisat satellite captures Asia's diverse topography, altitude and climate. The snow-sprinkled Himalayan Mountains mark the barrier between the peaks of the Tibetan Plateau in Central Asia (top) and the plains of Nepal, Bhutan and India in the Indian subcontinent (bottom). In this false-color image, lush or green vegetation appears bright red

Light show
Stars whirl in the night sky above a lighthouse near Watkinsville, Ga., in a long-exposure photograph taken Sept. 7.

Flash in the sky
Victor van Wulfen captured this Nov. 15 image of a Leonid meteor streaking through South African skies with the Magellanic Clouds in the background. "The Leonid was bright enough to bathe the observing spot in white light for an instant of a second," van Wulfen said. The observations were made from Jurg Wagener's Sterland Boerdery in Sutherland, South Africa.

Antarctic winds
Just days away from the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere's spring, Antarctica's Inexpressible Island and the Northern Foothills Mountains are illuminated by a glimmer of sunlight from a low angle in this picture, taken by NASA's Earth Observing 1 satellite on Sept. 16. The picture, posted Nov. 10, shows streams of newly formed sea ice rolling across the waters of Terra Nova Bay. That's an indication that Antarctica's persistent and fierce katabatic winds are at work.

A turbulent gulf
Clouds of sediment colored the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 10 when an imaging instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this view. Much of the color likely comes from resuspended sediment dredged up from the sea floor in shallow waters. The sediment-colored water transitions to a clearer dark blue near the edge of the continental shelf, where the water becomes deeper.

The Milky Way spreads across the night sky over Mormon Row, a historic settlement in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo., on Nov. 19. The light in the distance is the city of Driggs, Idaho, on the west side of the Teton Mountain Range.


Sunday, November 22, 2009


Paddling their own canoe
With the autumn foliage lighting up the background, a group paddle their fishing boat to shore at Cottonwood Lake, near Buena Vista, Colo.

Scarlet and snow
Autumn and winter battle it out as New England's bright fall foliage meets with an early snow in Franconia, N.H.

Rosy-fingered dawn
The sun begins to rise over the Somerset Levels looking towards Pilton near Glastonbury, England on a crisp fall day.

Smiles and umbrellas
Belarussian teenage girls play with umbrellas during a drizzly autumn day in Minsk park in Belaruss.

View from the top
A couple take in the view from the ocean lookout ledges on 1375-foot Mount Megunticook, at Camden Hills State Park in Maine. The state's forest rangers, who have been tracking fall foliage for 50 years, are now using personal data assistants to send in fall foliage reports from the field.

Still waters
The evening sunlight illuminates trees with leaves that are beginning to change color besides a lake near Warminster, England. England, particularly in the south, is enjoying a spell of dry weather, allowing the beginning of the autumn foliage colors - brought on by shortening daylight hours and cooler weather - to be fully appreciated.

Gold rush
Orange and gold leaves frame Shiprock, a dramatic rock formation near the San Juan River in New Mexico.

Sky's the limit
The autumn colors of these towering aspens near Buena Vista, Colo., leap out against blue sky.

Falling for fall
The autumn rainbow surrounds Kegon Falls at the outlet of Lake Chuzenji in Japan's Nikko National Park. The waterfalls, which are one of Japan's highest, are a major tourist attraction in the fall.

Frosty fringe
Colorful fall leaves are covered in a morning frost in a yard in Moreland Hills, Ohio

Presidential mums
Mums are in bloom in Lafayette Park in front of the White House in Washington DC

Floating colors
A reflection of colourful autumn trees is seen in the Vltava river, Prague, Czech Republic.