Sunday Science Photos, September 11 – 24

This feature will become far more sporadic over the fall and winter, as I’ll be focusing more on school and work and less on photography, but you’ll still get occasional installments of photos through my Twitter feed and on this website.

Some of these images I did as mystery photos and asked my tweeps to figure out what was pictured. People did pretty well, but there were a few that went unanswered. Photos numbered 1 – 5 were the mystery shots, titles and explanations have been added.

#1 Araucarioxylon arizonicum

@callanbentley correctly guessed that this is fossilized wood. This piece hails from the Triassic and is the official state fossil of Arizona.

#2 Star Trails

@earthlikeplanet correctly guessed that this was an extended exposure of the sky. These are star trails smudging the sky above a doug fir forest.

#3 Crepuscular Rays

No one got the name of this phenomenon. When you get rays of light of this sort through a break in the clouds or a forest canopy, they are called crepuscular rays due to their prominence in the crepuscular hours of dawn and dusk.

#4 Obsidian

@lockwooddewitt correctly guessed that this is obsidian from the Big Obsidian Flow at Newberry volcano in central Oregon. This flow erupted about 1,300 years ago along Newberry’s south caldera wall.

#5 Heliconia rostrata

No one guessed the correct name of this angiosperm (flowering plant). It’s called lobster claw and they are from Peru and Equador.

Kilauea in 2008

This is the view of the Kilauea caldera from The Volcano House at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Go there! you’ll love it.


The metamorphic, carbonate rock, marble is a fine medium for carving statues. Just don’t carve one like this statue which Portlanders sometimes call “Three Groins in a Fountain.

Libellula dotis

These are fossil dragonfly larvae from the Miocene. They’re cool looking now that they’re lithified, but I’m sure I’d have thought them gross if I’d seen them 20 million years ago.


These travertine pillars can be seen in front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse Building in Portland, Oregon. This building uses some of my favorite building stone in town, so I’m sure a more detailed post is pending.

Cancer productus

You’ll find this little dude (a Red Rock Crab) along the west coast just about anywhere between Kodiak, Alaska and Baja California. They’re apparently quite tasty, but they aren’t commercially fished.


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