Photo Contest Vote: Minerals

| 40 Comments

Below are all our finalists in the “Minerals” section of our Photo Contest. Please look through them one last time before voting for your favorite. We know it is possible to game these polls. Please act like adults and don’t vote more than once. If we believe that the results are invalid, the contest will be canceled. The photos and poll are below the fold.

  • Fulgurite by Virginia Pasek — Glass formed as lightning strikes sand or soil. Phosphate-containing sand was fused and turned into phosphite. In the center is a small granitic pebble that was trapped during the formation of the glass. A bolt of electricity traveled along its surface, leaving permanent evidence of its passage. Tucson, Arizona, 2007.
  • Stalactite by Quentin Cobb — Big Stalactite at Doolin Cave. Largest Irish stalactite in the world. At 7.3 meters long it contains 33 tonnes of calcite. The Burren, County Clare, Republic of Ireland, 1976.
  • Center of the Galaxy by François Malan — The center of the Milky Way galaxy, showing Kaus Australis, Kaus Media, Shaula, Lesath, Nunki, Phi Sagittarii. Ptolemy's Cluster (M7), and the Lagoon Nebula (M8). Photographed from the ground in Sutherland, South Africa.
  • Stromatolites by James Kocher — Fossilized colonies of filamentary cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and other microbes. Gunflint formation, approximately 1.9 billion years old. Microscopic fossils are sheaths and external cellular secretions/coverings very much like modern cyanobacteria. Whitefish River, Lybster Township, Ontario, August, 1992.
  • Huaxiagnathus orientalis by Adrian Thysse — Compsognathid theropod
  • Painted Hills by Michael Klaas — exposed strata of geological eras when this section of Central Oregon was a river floodplain. Colors are formed by layers of volcanic deposits that fell from eruptions in the Cascade Range 35 million years ago. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon.

Which photo best captures both artistic and scientific beauty?

View results

40 Comments

Re. the largest Irish stalactite in the world: I can’t help but notice that the largest Irish stalactite in the world is in Ireland. Is there some other source for Irish stalactites that I am not familiar with?

If none of the entries gains a majority, will there be a runoff?

Is there some other source for Irish stalactites that I am not familiar with?

‘Lucky Charms’ boxes?

… will there be a runoff?

Nope.

Well, the current leader is my favorite, but I voted for a different one because I’m currently reading up on the topic to broaden my horizons…

Is that vague enough language to not invalidate the contest?

KP said:

Well, the current leader is my favorite, but I voted for a different one because I’m currently reading up on the topic to broaden my horizons…

Is that vague enough language to not invalidate the contest?

Maybe.

Anybody notice the fault in the Painted Hills photo?

j said:

Anybody notice the fault in the Painted Hills photo?

Glad it’s not just me.

IAMB said:

j said:

Anybody notice the fault in the Painted Hills photo?

Glad it’s not just me.

Check the original post for that photo. You’ll see several comments about it.

How’m I supposed to pick one?!

“Fulgurite?” The picture itself is not as glossy and polished as the rest, but I like the balance of the composition. And it evokes that moment where you look down and see something awesome you nearly stepped on.

Thysse’s picture is wonderfully balanced, crisp, stunning, I love the colors… “Stalactite” is very mysterious and striking. “Stromatalites” I only don’t love for the colors, but it looks like the photographer picked an especially interesting segment and captured a rhythmic pattern. The shot of the galaxy core is just awesome.

*clicks through them again in undecided fashion*

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

But why the cente of the galaxy in the minerals section?

Wow, the one in the lead is what I expected to be in last place. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very pretty.

Adam Cuerden said:

But why the cente of the galaxy in the minerals section?

That, also, has been discussed. Mineral is the set theoretic complement of animal and vegetable. :-)

Voted for Huaxiagnathus orientalis, even though I think that one fits better in the “animal” category. Galactic center is a close second.

I’m very partial to the Painted Hills of Oregon.

I voted for the Fulgurite because I like how the photograph captures in a visual way the image of the intersection weather phenomena with a geologic record. The trace lines of the electricity etched into the granite pebble were for this reason amazing to see.

To summon up in one still image so much interesting relationships of nature, for me elevated this picture above all the rest.

j said:

Anybody notice the fault in the Painted Hills photo?

Wow! Thanks for pointing that out! The earth moved a lot in 6,000 years. ;)

fnxtr said:

Adam Cuerden said:

But why the cente of the galaxy in the minerals section?

That, also, has been discussed. Mineral is the set theoretic complement of animal and vegetable. :-)

so, there are no animals or plants in the center of the galaxy?

so, there are no animals or plants in the center of the galaxy?

Given the amount of radiation that astrophysicists think is present in that area, probably not. :)

so, there are no animals or plants in the center of the galaxy?

Somehow, I expect the living things we’ll find other planets will probably be classed as “other”

They are all beautiful.

I thought that “largest Irish stalactite in the world” was a pretty funny way of saying “largest stalactite in Ireland.” But it was impressive and beautifully lighted to bring out its texture.

The fulgurite was interesting–I’ve never found one although I have seen the shatter cones in the rock around Sudbury from the meteorite that planted the nickel mines 1.8 billion years ago.

The center of the galaxy, if you turn it upside down, looks a bit like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The stromatolites are neat–I didn’t know you could find them in Ontario and they look just like what I was swimming through on Monday.

And I love the complex landscape with tis drifts, scallops, and coloured soils.

But the therapod–the therapod is iconic and looks almost like a Babylonian mosaic or an emblem of burnished gold. Well done!

I had a hard time picking between two choices, and find them tied for third place. If only they hadn’t split the vote…

The center of the galaxy, if you turn it upside down, looks a bit like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Remember though, there is no up and down in space! Therefore FSM did it!!111!eleven!!

Henry

Somehow, I expect the living things we’ll find other planets will probably be classed as “other”

Well, they almost certainly wouldn’t go anywhere in the phylogeny’s of our planet’s species.

It would be interesting to know which of our planet’s species strategies are commonplace among inhabited planets, and which are in the minority. Like mobile land dwellers with four legs - is that a strategy that most biospheres would be apt to converge on? Or not?

Henry

Henry J said: Like mobile land dwellers with four legs - is that a strategy that most biospheres would be apt to converge on?

It depends on Whose image they were created in.

There sure have been some interesting swings in voting lately. What’s going on?

PZ linked to the post, and his readers appear to like stromatolites a lot.

This PZ reader prefers Huaxiagnathus orientalis.

Stromatolites rules! I mean, we are looking at our origins there. Actual history which you can touch with your own hands.

A lousy stalactite is not gonna beat that.

Paul Burnett, posted 8/20/09 9:10 AM

Henry J said: Like mobile land dwellers with four legs - is that a strategy that most biospheres would be apt to converge on?

It depends on Whose image they were created in.

Of course, most of the legged species on this planet have six legs, so in whose image are they? :D

Henry

Henry J said:

Paul Burnett, posted 8/20/09 9:10 AM

Henry J said: Like mobile land dwellers with four legs - is that a strategy that most biospheres would be apt to converge on?

It depends on Whose image they were created in.

Of course, most of the legged species on this planet have six legs, so in whose image are they? :D

Henry

Just because He has an inordinate fondness for a particular order of insects doesn’t necessarily mean that He looks like them anymore than a teacup poodle breeder is obligated to have a poodle haircut.

Stanton Wrote:

Just because He has an inordinate fondness for a particular order of insects doesn’t necessarily mean that He looks like them anymore than a teacup poodle breeder is obligated to have a poodle haircut.

Exactly. And there’s no reason any species on Earth has to have a noodly appendage. ;-)

Gah. In the end, I chose the Painted Hills pic – but I’d really like nice copies of ALL of the photos, and I hope prints will be available sometime or another.

Question: What on Earth is the “bathroom wall”? Am I doing something wrong? Have you changed the software interface?

I would like to know so I can post like normal.

NS

HP said:

Re. the largest Irish stalactite in the world: I can’t help but notice that the largest Irish stalactite in the world is in Ireland. Is there some other source for Irish stalactites that I am not familiar with?

Northern Ireland. Part of the UK. Everything in it is Irish, but it’s not ‘Republic of Ireland.’

NS,

The bathroom wall is the place where off topic, rude or nonsensical posts are banished in order to avoid the spectre of censorship. If you don’t want your comments to go there, then try to avoid the afore mentioned transgressions. You can click on the “WALL” link at the top of the main page to get there.

Come on, don’t sell yourself short… It’s the largest Irish stalactite in the universe!

I voted for the fossil that’s not currently in the lead. But then, any theropod scores bonus points in my estimation! :-)

The ‘largest Irish stalactite in the world’ was an Irish Bull I heard at the time that stuck with me. As I said on the original thread, it’s thought to be the largest (longest and most massive) free hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere.

Monado, Thanks for the comment about lighting. it took some time to set up the photo which required my friend and me to climb high up on the cave wall to get the angles right. Most photos of it are from underneath looking up, which foreshorten the image.

My second choice was the Stromatolites too. Painted hills was pretty, but I’ve seen better photos from the same viewpoint

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on August 16, 2009 12:00 PM.

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