For the last thirty-one years, an alliance of nearly forty small island states have campaigned against global warming – because if it is not checked, some of them will be underwater.
Imagine glowing, hissing, steaming balls of floating rock up to three metres across emerging from the depths of the ocean – these are lava balloons.
Auckland, New Zealand, is built on top of more than fifty volcanoes.
Before we knew about plate tectonics, a zoologist proposed a lost continent connecting Madagascar and India across the Indian Ocean. That hypothesis, now debunked, was nevertheless picked up by Theosophists and Tamil revivalists.
Pobeda Ice Island was first discovered in 1840. It was seen again in the 1910s, but was gone by the late 1920s. By the 1960s it was back, only to disappear again in the 1970s.
Within the Luray Caverns in Virginia, United States, is an electric organ made of stalactites. It literally makes rock music.
A stand of trees dead for six hundred years stick out of the Namib Desert in the claypan called the Deadvlei.
The “personal carbon footprint” concept was popularised by an oil company advertising campaign to divert attention away from their own climate-unfriendly practices.
How do you visualise climate change simply and evocatively? Well, you could knit it.
The Sea of Azov, between Ukraine and Russia, is never more than fourteen metres deep. Parts of the sea are shallow enough to wade across.
Thwaites Glacier, in West Antarctica, is roughly the size of Florida. This glacier alone contributes four percent of the global rise in sea levels, and if it melted completely oceans would be 65cm higher – hence its alternative name, the Doomsday Glacier.
An urban legend from the late 1980s claimed that Soviet scientists had drilled so far down they hit hell – and brought back an audio recording of the suffering souls. But it was actually Baron Blood.
Gruta Casa de Pedra in Brazil has the largest cave mouth in the world – it is higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza. But the largest cave chamber in the world is larger still.
By discharge volume, the Amazon and the Orinoco are the largest and fourth largest rivers in the world. The Casiquiare River in Venezuela connects them.
The summit of Chimborazo, a volcano in Ecuador, is two kilometres farther from the Earth’s centre than Mount Everest.
The sides of Kawa Ijen, a volcano in Indonesia, are wreathed in blue flame.