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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Earth Minute presents: the American Total Solar Eclipse Only 5 Months Away

On August 21st, 2017 a coast to coast Total Solar Eclipse will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.
Totality will touch Western Oregon around 10:10 am PDT and hit the Atlantic in South Carolina at about 2:50 pm EDT.
The maximum duration along the path will be 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Where will you be for this rare astronomical event?
Below is a video of the progression of the Mongolian Total Solar Eclipse taken by Michael Lawshe in 2008.
The path of totality is narrow, in 2017 it will be only 60 miles wide. 
Keep an eye on this site: for more information and posts about this great upcoming adventure that YOU can be a part of!!

 Visit the FANTASTIC NASA Site is a link to a pdf map of the path.

Thanks to the amazing work of Xavier Jubier for the interactive google map of the total solar eclipse.
NASA: Eclipses and Eclipse Wise by Fred Espenak. 

THEN, Click on the map in this link and find out how much of the eclipse YOU will see.

 for more adventures: Subscribe to us!
Storm Brewing over Grand Tetons National Park, WY
See Yellowstone Hot Pools Bubbling (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming)


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Desert Tortoise Takes First Drink of Spring

Tortoise hibernation, or winter torpor, is an amazing adaptation. For 3-5 months they sleep without eating, drinking or eliminating waste. When they wake up in the spring, they need a long drink of water.

This male desert tortoise has been hibernating since the first week of December 2016. He woke up this morning March 16, 2017.

Watch him drink. His eyes and nose are submerged. He lets the water bathe his eyes and sucks water in and out of his nasal passage to flush out his nose. The Aldabra tortoise, from islands in the Indian Ocean, is known to have a flap in its nasal passage that allows the tortoise to draw water up its nostrils and into its throat without pulling the water into its lungs. I think there is a good chance that other tortoises have this adaptation as well. If you look closely you can see a brown plume area in front of the desert tortoise's nose where it has pushed away the dirt on the bottom of the pan as it blew water out through its nostrils. 

Notice how much he drinks. How much lower the water level is along his body when he stops drinking. 

The creatures around us have amazing adaptations for survival. Definitely worthy of an extra minute to stop and appreciate.

More Earth Minutes with desert tortoises:
Backyard Breakfast - Reptile Style (CA desert tortoise & western fence lizard)
Desert Tortoise Hibernation
Signs of Spring (California desert tortoise)
and other tortoises
See Aphrodisia and The Temple of Aphrodite, Anatolia, Turkey (spur-thighed tortoise)

Visit for your weekly minute in nature. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Catalina Clams in Baja, Mexico

Sometimes an Earth Minute is right at your feet.

I recently traveled to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Along the shores of the lagoon there were mounds and mounds of shells.


Catalina clams were over harvested here in the last century. The clams were sold as food and millions of their shells were sold in the U.S. for decoration. The mounds of shells piled up in the desert are a testament to the enormity of the over harvesting. Similar mounds can also be seen of pen scallop shells.

Protection of numerous shellfish species over the past few decades has made a difference. Species like the Catalina clam and pen scallop are making a come back. Today fishing combines with tourism to support the local economy.

I went to San Ignacio for the whales. Earth Minutes with gray whales are coming!

Other Earth Minutes with protected species
Meet An Island Fox
Protected Island Fox
Meet a Dugong
Meet a Platypus 
American Bison
Snowy Egret 
Saltwater crocodile
How Tall is a Redwood Tree
California desert tortoise
Great Barrier Reef 

Visit for weekly natural experiences.