Where is Serengeti located?

Serengeti National Park, national park and wildlife refuge on the Serengeti Plain in north-central Tanzania. It is partly adjacent to the Kenya border and is northwest of the adjoining Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is best known for its huge herds of plains animals (especially gnu [wildebeests], gazelles, and zebras), and it is the only place in Africa where vast land-animal migrations still take place. The park, an international tourist attraction, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981.

The park was established in 1951 and covers 5,700 square miles (14,763 square km) of some of the best grassland range in Africa, as well as extensive acacia woodland savanna. With elevations ranging from 3,020 to 6,070 feet (920 to 1,850 metres), the park extends 100 miles (160 km) southeast from points near the shores of Lake Victoria and, in its eastern portion, 100 miles (160 km) south from the Kenya-Tanzania border. It is along the “western corridor” to Lake Victoria that many of the park’s animals migrate. Within the area are nearly 1,300,000 gnu, 60,000 zebras, 150,000 gazelles, and numerous other animals. During the wet season, from November to May, the herds graze in the southeastern plains within the park. In late May or June one major group moves west into the park’s woodland savanna and then north into the grasslands just beyond the Kenya-Tanzania border, an area known as the Mara (Masai Mara National Reserve). Another group migrates directly northward. The herds return to the park’s southeastern plains in November, at the end of the dry season.

In addition to more than 35 species of plains animals, there are some 3,000 lions and great numbers of spotted hyenas, leopards, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, giraffes, cheetahs, and baboons. Crocodiles inhabit the marshes near the Mara River. More than 350 species of birds, including ostriches, vultures, and flamingos, have also been recorded. Elephants, which were not found in the Serengeti 30 years ago, moved into the park as human populations and agricultural developments increased outside its borders; the local elephant population is estimated at some 1,360. The last of the Serengeti’s wild dogs disappeared in 1991, but there are some 30,000 domestic dogs in the area; it is possible that unvaccinated domestic dogs spread rabies to the wild dogs, resulting in their local extinction. An epidemic of canine distemper caused the deaths of nearly one-third of the area’s lions in 1994. The killing of elephants for their ivory tusks, the slaughter of the now virtually extinct black rhinoceros for its horn, and the poaching of game animals for meat—an estimated 200,000 a year—are major threats.

The first systematic wildlife population survey in the area was undertaken by the German zoologist Bernhard Grzimek in the late 1950s. The park’s headquarters are near its centre, at Seronera, where the Seronera Wildlife Research Centre (established as the Serengeti Research Institute, 1962) is also based.

Credit : Britannica 

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Where is Dead Sea located?

The Dead Sea is a large lake that borders Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank. It has the lowest land elevation on Earth, sitting 422 meters (1,385 feet) below sea level. The white "foam" that collects on the shores of the Dead Sea is actually salt.

The Dead Sea has the lowest elevation and is the lowest body of water on the surface of Earth. For several decades in the mid-20th century, the standard value given for the surface level of the lake was some 1,300 feet (400 metres) below sea level. Beginning in the 1960s, however, Israel and Jordan began diverting much of the Jordan River’s flow and increased the use of the lake’s water itself for commercial purposes. The result of those activities was a precipitous drop in the Dead Sea’s water level. By the mid-2010s, measurement of the lake level was more than 100 feet (some 30 metres) below the mid-20th-century figure—i.e., about 1,410 feet (430 metres) below sea level—but the lake continued to drop by about 3 feet (1 metre) annually.

The Dead Sea region occupies part of a graben (a downfaulted block of Earth’s crust) between transform faults along a tectonic plate boundary that runs northward from the Red Sea–Gulf of Suez spreading centre to a convergent plate boundary in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. The eastern fault, along the edge of the Moab Plateau, is more readily visible from the lake than is the western fault, which marks the gentler Judaean upfold.

In the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (about 201 million to 66 million years ago), before the creation of the graben, an extended Mediterranean Sea covered Syria and Palestine. During the Miocene Epoch (23 million to 5.3 million years ago), as the Arabian Plate collided with the Eurasian Plate to the north, upheaval of the seabed produced the upfolded structures of the Transjordanian highlands and the central range of Palestine, causing the fractures that allowed the Dead Sea graben to drop. At that time the Dead Sea was probably about the size that it is today. During the Pleistocene Epoch (2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago), it rose to an elevation of about 700 feet (200 metres) above its modern level, forming a vast inland sea that stretched some 200 miles (320 km) from the H?ula Valley area in the north to 40 miles (64 km) beyond its present southern limits. The Dead Sea did not spill over into the Gulf of Aqaba because it was blocked by a 100-foot (30-metre) rise in the highest part of Wadi Al-?Arabah, a seasonal watercourse that flows in a valley to the east of the central Negev highlands.

Beginning about 2.5 million years ago, heavy streamflow into the lake deposited thick sediments of shale, clay, sandstone, rock salt, and gypsum. Later, strata of clay, marl, soft chalk, and gypsum were dropped onto layers of sand and gravel. Because the water in the lake evaporated faster than it was replenished by precipitation during the past 10,000 years, the lake gradually shrank to its present form. In so doing, it exposed deposits that now cover the Dead Sea valley to thicknesses of between about 1 and 4 miles (1.6 and 6.4 km).

Credit :  Britannica 

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Where is Mount Mckinley located?

Denali, also called Mount McKinley, highest peak in North America. It is located near the centre of the Alaska Range, with two summits rising above the Denali Fault, in south-central Alaska, U.S.

Denali’s official elevation figure of 20,310 feet (6,190 metres), established by the United States Geological Survey in September 2015, was the product of a thorough remeasurement of the mountain’s height conducted earlier that year using state-of-the-art equipment. The new value superseded the long-standing figure of 20,320 feet (6,194 metres) that had been the official elevation since the early 1950s. Earlier attempts to measure the mountain’s height had yielded different values. One such survey, conducted in 2010 using advanced radar technology, was made public in September 2013 and gave its elevation as 20,237 feet (6,168 metres). However, that measurement was subsequently determined to be inaccurate.

Denali lies about 130 miles (210 km) north-northwest of Anchorage and some 170 miles (275 km) southwest of Fairbanks in Denali National Park and Preserve. The mountain is essentially a giant block of granite that was lifted above Earth’s crust during a period of tectonic activity that began about 60 million years ago. It rises abruptly some 18,000 feet (5,500 metres) from Denali Fault at its base to the higher, more southerly of its two summits. The upper half of the mountain is covered with permanent snowfields that feed many glaciers, some surpassing 30 miles (48 km) in length.

Credit : Britannica 

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Where are Galapagos Islands located?

Galapagos Islands are island group of the eastern Pacific Ocean, administratively a province of Ecuador. The Galapagos consist of 13 major islands (ranging in area from 5.4 to 1,771 square miles [14 to 4,588 square km]), 6 smaller islands, and scores of islets and rocks lying athwart the Equator 600 miles (1,000 km) west of the mainland of Ecuador. Their total land area of 3,093 square miles (8,010 square km) is scattered over 23,000 square miles (59,500 square km) of ocean. The government of Ecuador designated part of the Galapagos a wildlife sanctuary in 1935, and in 1959 the sanctuary became the Galapagos National Park. In 1978 the islands were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 1986 the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve was created to protect the surrounding waters. The Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island promotes scientific studies and protects the indigenous vegetation and animal life of the Galapagos.

The Galapagos Islands are formed of lava piles and dotted with shield volcanoes, many of which are periodically active. The striking ruggedness of the arid landscape is accentuated by high volcanic mountains, craters, and cliffs. The largest of the islands, Isabela (Albemarle), is approximately 82 miles (132 km) long and constitutes more than half of the total land area of the archipelago; it contains Mount Azul, at 5,541 feet (1,689 metres) the highest point of the Galapagos Islands. The second largest island is Santa Cruz.

The climate of the Galapagos Islands is characterized by low rainfall, low humidity, and relatively low air and water temperatures. The islands have thousands of plant and animal species, of which the vast majority are endemic. The archipelago’s arid lowlands are covered by an open cactus forest. A transition zone at higher elevations is covered with a forest in which pisonia (a four o’clock plant) and guava trees dominate, and the moist forest region above the transition zone is dominated by a Scalesia forest with dense underbrush. The treeless upland zone is covered with ferns and grasses.

Credit :  Britannica 

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Where is Ayers Rock located?

Uluru/Ayers Rock, giant monolith, one of the tors (isolated masses of weathered rock) in southwestern Northern Territory, central Australia. It has long been revered by a variety of Australian Aboriginal peoples of the region, who call it Uluru. The rock was sighted in 1872 by explorer Ernest Giles and was first visited by a European the following year, when surveyor William Gosse named it for Sir Henry Ayers, a former South Australian premier. It is the world’s largest monolith. (Mount Augustus [Burringurrah] in Western Australia is often identified as the world’s largest monolith, but, because it is composed of multiple rock types, it is technically not a monolith.)

Despite the seeming harshness of the climate, the landscape around the monolith supports a variety of flora and fauna. There are about 400 species of plants in the national park, including mulga trees (a type of acacia), desert oaks and desert poplars, and several types of eucalyptus, especially centralian bloodwoods (Corymbia opaca); shrubs, notably species of Grevillea; and dozens of types of wildflowers, including foxtails and myrtles. Wildlife includes mammals such as red kangaroos (Macropus rufus), a variety of rodents and small marsupials, and the rare rufus hare wallaby (Lagorchestus hirsutus); numerous reptiles and amphibians, particularly lizards such as geckos and skinks, snakes (including such highly poisonous varieties as the death adder), and the indigenous moloch (thorny devil); and some 175 species of birds, notably falcons, buzzards, budgerigars (a species of parakeet), and honeyeaters.

Uluru/Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s best-known tourist destinations. Most visitors arrive there via Alice Springs, about 280 miles (450 km) northeast by road, although there are scheduled flights to a small airport at Yulara, a community just north of the national park boundary. Yulara also has hotel, hostel, and camping accommodations, as well as restaurants and other guest services; there are no overnight facilities within the park. The park is accessible by road from Yulara, and a road connects the Uluru/Ayers Rock area with the Olgas formations. Hiking around the base of the rock is a popular activity, as is climbing up the rock itself. However, the local Aboriginal people have strongly encouraged people not to climb on it. A cultural centre near the base of the monolith has exhibits that introduce visitors to Aboriginal society and culture.

Credit : Britannica 

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