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Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems


8 Jan 2015, 20:50 UTC
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The submerged summit of the Detroit Seamount ranks among the planet’s gloomiest spots. East of Kamchatka, a mile beneath the waves at 51 51′ N, 167 45′ E, it is second-to-last in the long line of Emperors. Inch by inch, it creeps toward destruction in the Aleutian Trench.
Detroit’s glory days were the late Cretaceous. Back then, it was an active Hawaiian volcano.
Live it fast, you’re gonna there soon. Kauai is five million years old, but underground, the lights have gone out. Over half of the original height and the original land area have disappeared. Rivers gush sediment into the sea. Waimea Canyon juxtaposes verdure and an erosive wasteland. Four wheel drive claws and rends the red dirt.

Beyond Kauai, the next islands in the chain are Nihoa,


and the La Perouse Pinnacle,

whose resemblance to a sinking ship is not just metaphoric.
Before humans arrived, the Hawaiian islands had strange flightless birds. Indeed, each island in the chain developed its own odd avian inhabitants, sculpted by natural selection, and then driven conveyor-like to extinction. Not once, in forty, fifty, sixty tries, did the birds respond by evolving intelligence and doing something about their situation. Probably, there ...

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