Oil Recovery Ship That Splits Into Two

The German Navy operates a ship of an interesting design, engineered to recover oil spilled into the sea. The Bottsand-class oil recovery ship, also known as a split hull oil recovery vessel, can split along its length to scoop oil contaminated water into its 790 cubic meter recovery tank. The twin hull ship feature a unique bow which can be opened by 65 degrees. This creates an area of more than 40 square meters to collect oil-polluted seawater. The water is pumped into the ship's tank, where it can be cleaned and the oil separated. The ship can clean up to 140 square meters of ocean surface polluted with a 2 mm oil slick in an hour.

The two ships in the class entered service in 1984 and 1987, and are used to contain oil spills from German ships in the sea. Although owned by the German Navy, the ships are manned by civilians and not naval personnel.


Top 6 Incredible Drives Above the Trees

Have you ever had the opportunity to drive above trees? Many highways passing through the forests, but there are only a few who pass above them. The construction of these sections of highways is certainly expensive, but their significance for the environment is very high: noise reduction, protection of animals and trees.

1. Rodovia dos Imigrantes Highway Viaducts, Brazil

The Rodovia dos Imigrantes (SP-160) crossing the Serra do Mar in São Paulo State, Brazil.

The original highway was built as a single carriageway in 1986, and a second carriageway was added in 2002.

Advanced technology allowed for a more modern design and a dramatic reduction in deforestation during construction.

The complex terrain the motorway overcomes turned it into a worldwide reference

A view of the north and south carriageways of Rodovia dos Imigrantes, one crossing over the other

High strutting six-lane bridges seemingly floating over the tropical rain forest which covers the steep faces of the Serra do Mar, the 800m (2,625 ft) high cliff range which separates the São Paulo plateau from the seaside lowlands.

2. Interstate H-3 Highway Viaducts, Hawaii, USA

Also known as the "John A. Burns Freeway". This 16-mile (26km) road is a beautiful engineering feat.

It cost almost $100-million per mile to build and took 37 years to complete--20 years of that time was taken doing environmental impact studies. But the results are fantastic.

This view show the highway coming out of the tunnel on the east side of the Koolau Mountains.

Viaducts of H-3 within Halawa Valley

3. Europabrücke or Europe's Bridge, Austria

Europabrücke, or Europe's bridge, is a 777-metre (2,549 ft) long bridge spanning the 657-metre (2,156 ft) Wipp valley just south of Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria.

The A13 Brenner Autobahn (and European route E45) passes over this bridge, above the Sill River, forming part of the main route from western Austria to Italy via South Tyrol across the Alps

4. Denny Creek Viaduct, USA

Denny Creek Viaduct is located in U.S. state of Washington.

Denny Creek is the most family-friendly trail in the region. Above this trail crosses the highway I-90, and thanks to its height in relation to the ground, makes minimal noise in the environment.

5. Linn Cove Viaduct, USA

This 1243-foot (380 m) concrete segmental bridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway snakes around the slopes of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

It was completed in 1987 at a cost of $10 million and was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be finished. It was created to minimized destruction of Grandfather Mountain; rather than going through the mountain, they built this bridge to go around it.

Travel brochures always say that the Linn Cove Viaduct has amazing fall colors.

6. Du Toit Viaduct, South Africa

Du Toit Viaduct is situated in the Western Cape province of South Africa, on the Regional road R101 between Paarl and Worcester.


White Pocket in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

The White Pocket is an isolated, notoriously hard-to-reach patch of sandstone hidden within the desert expanse of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument near the Arizona/Utah border. The entire area is covered in a gray rocky layer, sometimes only a few centimeters thick, above the red sandstone where the formations heave and drip that makes the entire landscape look like as if it was covered with icing sugar. In some spots the stone layers are completely twisted, just like an enormous marble cake.

The extraordinary geology at White Pocket is not easily explained. Some geologist proclaim that White Pocket is a result of “soft sediment deformation”, meaning the contortions and twisting and turning at White Pocket occurred back in Jurassic time while the sand was saturated and before the sand was completely turned into rock.

According to one retired petroleum geologist Marc Deshowitz, who studied White Pocket more than anyone else, believes the landscape was the result of a huge sand-slide mass, triggered by an earthquake, detaching from a tall dune and traveling rapidly downslope. As the mass slid and tumbled downslope, it ripped up chunks of laminated sand beneath that intermixed with the basal part of the slide. The sand mass eventually filled a large pond or oasis. This large sand mass is the featureless bleached-white sandstone or "cauliflower rock" seen today. The instantaneous loading from the sand mass caused pressure adjustments within the underlying saturated sand resulting in contortions and fluid escape structures such as sand volcanoes. Marc has identified at least 25 of these features supporting his theory.

The fine laminae and cross-beds beneath the slide mass are remarkably well-preserved. This may indicate all of the sand involved was buried under a fairly thick column of additional sediment. In other words, the slide plane may have been several 100 feet below the surface. This overburden pressure would have allowed the plastic-like contortions but still keep things somewhat in order.

Only a year ago, White Pocket was relatively obscure, formerly known only by local ranchers and a handful of adventurous photographers. Then National Geographic ran a story on the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, which included some excellent photos of White Pocket. Since the magazine’s release there has been a surge of activity at White Pocket. Today, White Pocket is in the bucket list of every hiker and outdoor enthusiast.


Hibaku Jumoku - The Trees That Survived Hiroshima

After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945, with landscapes demolished, soils charred and radiation rampant, Dr. Harold Jacobsen, a scientist from the Manhattan Project, told the Washington Post that Hiroshima will be barren of life and nothing will grow for 75 years. But nature had other plans. The following spring, to everyone's surprise and delight, new shoots were seen springing up amongst the debris of the city. Those new saplings provided a powerful message to the survivors of the atomic bomb and gave them hope that they could rebuild their city.

Today, over six decades after the atomic bomb, Hiroshima is a green and vibrant modern city. Many of the trees that were planted in the city after the war were gifts from overseas donors and donors from other parts of Japan. However, hundreds of trees that are still standing today were actually around the vicinity when the bomb went off. Though broken and badly charred, they survived and soon were healthy again.

After the war, many of those trees were preserved in 55 locations within a 2km radius of the hypocenter. Today, they are officially registered as A-bombed trees. Each A-bombed tree is called a "Hibaku Jumoku" - survivor tree, and is identified by a name plate. According to the City of Hiroshima, there are about 170 survivor trees representing 32 different species.

The tree closest to the hypocenter is a Weeping Willow, which stands 370 meters away from the blast. Although the original tree was toppled by the bomb, its roots survived and new buds sprouted at the base. Another Weeping Willow stands near Seishonen and the Baseball Stadium, 450 meters away from ground zero. A partial list of A-bomb survivors can be found on www.lang-arts.com/survivors/index.html.

The trees are located all over on the grounds of public buildings, temples, and shrines, and are under the care of the Hiroshima government. Seeds and seedlings from A-bombed trees are shared by the city and Hiroshima citizens with people in Japan and overseas, and these new trees are now growing in places all over the world.

One of the two pillars of the Sanno Shrine Torii was toppled by the A-bomb blast. The blast also blew away the branches and leaves of the two camphor trees in the precincts of the Shrine, which were then more than 500 years old. At that time, it was feared that the trees might wither and die; however, they gradually began to recover, and now are thickly covered with leaves and branches.

Effect of the blast on a plant