Offshore from Argentina, spring is in bloom. Massive patches of phytoplankton colored the ocean in November 2013. These microscopic, plant-like organisms are the ocean’s primary producers, harnessing sunlight to nourish themselves and to become food for everything from zooplankton to whales.
When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, it pounded the island of Leyte with winds near 195 mph and a tremendous storm surge. Subtle differences in before-and-after false-color images acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite reveal wide-scale disaster impacts from the storm.
Streams of molten rock that ooze from gaps or vents in the Earth’s surface are called lava flows. Though generally slow moving, these rivers of rock pose a hazard to everything in their path. Lava flows can take many shapes and move at different rates, depending on the viscosity of the magma, the slope of the land and the rate of an eruption.
The deadly typhoon that swept through the Philippines was one of the strongest ever recorded, but storms nearly this powerful are common in the Pacific. Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation can be chalked up to a series of bad coincidences.
With temperatures falling and days growing shorter in the northern hemisphere, autumn colors swept across the northeastern United States. Between mid-September and late October, forests in central Pennsylvania changed from green—with no hint of fall color—to a symphony of reds, yellows and browns.
Located on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, Klyuchevskaya (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Erupting since Aug. 15, 2013, the volcano’s intensity surged in October.
Long Island Sound is well outlined by city and roadway lights in this nighttime photograph taken from the International Space Station. The manmade traceries of light are accompanied by a natural phenomenon: Fog is visible stretching along several river valleys.
On Sept. 18, 2013, the Intriguing Image of the Week featured a rare moment when all the world’s oceans were relatively calm. What a difference a month makes! In this week’s image, three powerful storms are shown swirling simultaneously across the Asia-Pacific region, including the deadly Tropical Cyclone Phailin, which is responsible for at least 21 deaths in India.
Thirty-two people died when the Costa Concordia slammed into a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio and capsized on Jan. 13, 2012. On Oct. 8, 2013, divers searching the submerged wreck of the cruise ship found the remains of one of the two people still missing from the 2012 disaster.
In some areas, winds tend to blow in roughly the same general direction all year—the Grand Erg Oriental, a sprawling sea of sand dunes in the Saharan Desert, isn’t one of them. The winds in northeastern Algeria are complex, swirling in different directions at the same time.