Worldwide Heritage in danger


   AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Questions, uncertainty grow along with Gulf spill.
.. At least 6 million gallons of crude have spewed into the Gulf, though some scientists have said they believe the spill already surpasses the 11 million-gallon 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska as the worst in U.S. history.. Flooding might help by floating out the oil, but it also could wash away the natural barriers to flooding from hurricanes and other disasters - much like hurricanes Katrina and Rita washed away marshlands in 2005. State and federal officials spent millions rebuilding the much-needed buffer against tropical storms.. [Associated Press]

   AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Oil spill Gulf of Mexico 2010 photo galleries: The accident and the aftermath.
Photographs help capture the story as about 42,000 gallons of oil a day are leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from the blown-out well where the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig exploded and sank last week. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead. The cause of the explosion has not been determined, and officials are racing to contain the oil. []

Image source: Queensland Maritime Safety/Associated Press

Oil spill threatens Australia's Barrier Reef.
The Chinese-registered Shen Neng 1 was carrying 975 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 65,000 tonnes of coal when it rammed into Douglas Shoal just after 5 p.m. local time Saturday. The area is 70 kilometres east of Great Keppel Island, northeast of Gladstone. About two tonnes of oil have seeped into the water, creating a slick almost three kilometres long and 100 metres wide. [CBC News]


Natural Landscapes

• Natural features (physical or biological formations)

Perito Moreno, Patagonia - Argentina. Glacial landscapes

Loess plateau, China. Eolic erosion: sandy dunes and loess. See 

Thermohaline circulation. Properties of Earth's oceans

Sea-level rise, loss of tropical paradises

Climate cycles

Hadley Cells - Atmospheric Circulation Patterns on Earth

Desertification - Lake Chad in a 2001 satellite image, with the actual lake in blue. The lake has shrunk by 95% since the 1960s

Salinised irrigated lands. Salinity damage near the the wheatbelt region of Babakin -W. Australia

Disequilibrium in biological cycles, e.g. enhanced water borne diseases like malaria, filariasis, yellow fever, dengue, and schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) in many areas of the world

• Geological and physiographical formations

Mount Everest, Himalayas

Mountain Kenya, Africa

Mountain Kilimanjaro, Tanzania - Africa

Uluru. Ayers Rock - central Australia

• Natural sites and protected natural areas (marine parks, national parks, aesthetic forests, protected monuments of nature, game reserves and hunting reserves, eco-development areas)

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Ambergris Caye, Belize Barrier Reef - Mexico. See

Lavrio's industrial area near Sounion's eco-park and archaeological site, Attica-Greece

Puerto Princesa underwater caves' National Park, Philippines

Amazon river rainforest

Tropical grasslands. Los Llanos, Colombia

Everglades National Park, USA

Evros estuarine wetland delta, Thrace - N.E. Greece

Kotychi Lagoon (before August 2007) and Strophylia forest, N.W. Peloponnesus - Greece. See

• The four types of biodiversity (genetic, species, habitat, landscape)

   Endangered species

Madagascar's Tropical Dry Forests

Deforestation as triggering mechanism for cultural collapse. Easter Island, S. Pacific - Chile

Wildfires in Yellowstone National Park - USA

Forests and ecosystems devastated by the wildfires of 2007; mountain Hymettos, Attica - Greece

An almost dead ecosystem, Ambracian Gulf - W. Greece, as seen from the Space Shuttle in November 1994